About Me

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I am a cloth diapering, breastfeeding, cosleeping, baby led weaning, extended rear facing, eco conscious, married mommy to two beautiful children. They have changed my view on the world we live in. It is now my number 1 goal to make it the best I can for them to grow up in. I find myself always rethinking how I want to live my life and often feel like sharing my findings and thoughts with others. So I guess here's my chance :o) I will talk about topics that interest me. If you dont like them or dont agree, well... there's nothing much I can do!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Transforming our home - Doing more with less.

So a couple years ago, I read a blog that encouraged us to donate 500 items. I embraced it and tried. I even wrote about it a bit. It is safe to say that I was not successful in giving away 500 items. Ah well. But recently, I have finally figured out why we weren't successful. We did not have the right mindset. Wanting to get rid of stuff wasn't enough. Realizing that you don't NEED the stuff to begin with is whats important.

Since early June, I have been part of the Hardcore Homemaking group. It has truly helped me realize that stuff isn't whats important. Enjoyment is. If I don't enjoy something (clothes, picture, activity, toy, ...) than why should I let it take up precious space in my home. So the great purge has really begun this time. In June, we had a huge yard sale.
 We didn't sell much of the clothes but we did get rid of all the furniture pieces! We have gone through our clothes numerous times. Each time, still giving something up that we don't love or that no longer fits. The kids' clothes has be dwindled down as well (does Abigail really need 25 different pairs of size 4 leggings?!). And we recently purchased, for the first time, new bath towels, facecloths and dish towels. We cleaned out all our old ones and donated them to our local SPCA.

And I'm not on this journey alone! Keegan recently got a new job (still with the Navy though) that has him home 90% of the time instead of away for 50%! So having him here helping me sort through our home is a huge help.

Is there something in your home that you've been wanting to get rid of? Is there something holding you back? Join our group and we can help you figure it out. :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Farm share - week 1

Our experience last year with our very first farm share was great. We tried many new things. The only downfall was that we got our produce Thursday evenings. Some things would slowly go bad b the time we got around to using it after a busy weekend. So this year, I decided that it was worth the extra 20 minutes in travel time to pick it up Tuesday afternoon. Since I'll be picking it up at a farmers market, I could easily pick up the rest of our groceries at the same time. Since I won't always know ahead of time what I will be getting, I may have to do some quick meal planning one is receive my bag. Having a general idea will be useful though. And thank goodness for smart phones since I can do a quick recipe search as well. 

So here is our first week! We are actually getting 2 shares this week since K's coworker is away as well for the week and won't be using theirs. 

Salad mix, garlic scapes, cucumbers, broccoli, basil

So our meal plan for the week is:
T - Garlic shrimp stir fry
W - Family outing
Th - Grilled chicken with side salad
F - Margarita pizza 

We were also hit by Tropical Storm Arthur on the weekend and it unfortunately destroyed many crops across the province. Many of my vegetables were snapped right in half because of the high winds. Throughout it all, I wondered how our smaller scale local farms made out. Southfield Organics (from whom we get our farm share) shared that her farm was hit bad as well and that for the first time since she started offering shares, her harvest could be much smaller this year. We all hope that things will rebound and that the second half of the season will be successful. Things like this happen. But I don't regret supporting her farm in the least, regardless of what this year's harvest will look like :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Energy reduction challenge - 2nd update.

Alright. So we are about to get our 3rd statement of the year but before we do, I figured I'd take a look at the numbers for the 2nd part of the year. I was pretty bummed out when I first saw that our energy usage was up but decided to not give up my goal when I started looking at all the aspects.

Here's our energy usage for statement period compared with the same time last year.

Our use is up but so are the other homes. And we are still using less than other efficient homes according to Efficiency NS. I decided to go take a look at the average temperatures to see if that could have played a role and it did! The average temperature in 2014 for the 2 month period was 3 degrees Celsius colder than last year.

Looking forwards to the next couple statement periods, we should definitely see a drop. Since we are no longer paying to heat our home, we have consistently used less power year after year during the warmer months. We'll see what this year's numbers say soon enough!!

Our home energy report
Getting things ready

Monday, June 16, 2014

Meal planning is changing a bit

Last summer, we picked up our farm share on Thursdays. Since K was often away with work, I spent many weekend evenings over at my parents'. The fresh vegetables would normally sit there until Monday when I started cooking out own meals again. Even with K home this summer, weekends will hopefully still be pleasantly chaotic with camping and beach trips. I don't want any of our vegetables to go to waste so I need to figure out what else we can do.

So I'm switching our farm share pick up to Tuesdays. The location is further away but by making the trip part of our regular grocery day routine, it shouldn't be too bad. AND the new location is at a farmer's market so I can pick up other things at the same time!

Our meal plans for July to October will look different now. They will go from Wednesday to Tuesday.   Really looking forwards to sharing pictures of our weekly score as well as sharing the new recipes we decide to try. Until then, here's our plan for this week!

MMexican lasagna
WPork chops
T*Family outing

Monday, June 2, 2014

Time for big changes. Join me!!

At several points in your life, you go through big changes. My biggest change was when I became a mother four years ago. I love my life now. I stay home with my 4 and 1 year old.  I enjoy cooking our meals from scratch. I am fit enough that I ran a half marathon last month. And now, I am looking forwards to gaining better control of our home by becoming a better homemaker.

Organizing and cleaning of my home is probably where I need the most help. We have a lot of stuff that is just taking up room that we are slowly working on getting rid of. Staying on top of cleaning often takes a backseat to any other activity. Sometimes I don't have time, sometimes I simply don't want to. But then when my home gets out of hand, it feels very chaotic. Enter the new online community Hardcore Homemakers.
"I started this website because I love cheering on my friends as they strive to improve themselves and their homes, and I am spurred on by the celebration my friends share with me when I take steps to make my abode more of a haven each day." - Emily Chapelle (creator)
I have tried other things before. Lists, routines. Things never really stuck. No surprise there since I have ALWAYS been bad at being "told" to do anything that requires lots of time and energy. Life or my plain ol' laziness got in the way. Sometimes, even though others don't see it as an achievement, the fact that all the toys are organized and put away can be a huge deal in our home. And I love when I can share that with others and they truly understand my happiness and will continue to cheer me on.

You must be thinking there that there must be some sort of catch. Well there is but not really. There is a fee to join this community. For just 12$ a month (US), you get access to daily task that never take more than 15 minutes to complete, weekly pep talk radio shows to help unblock mental hurdles, free printable planners and checklists, and free and ebooks. If that isn't enough, join for a year (126$) and not only do you have access to the monthly perks but also to discounted ebooks and online courses and a private Facebook group where we can share our questions and accomplishments. They even have a generous referral program if you want to share with others.

Still unsure? Skip the Starbucks for a couple days and give it a try. I am looking forwards to finding my awesome, finally becoming the hardcore homemaker I've always wanted to be and hopefully you will join me!

---> http://hardcorehomemaking.com/?i=fqzgMNwbkNu  -My affiliate link :)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Trying to create a daily routine

I really really would love to homeschool my children. Keegan actually brought up the topic to me one day so I know he isn't opposed to the idea. But part of my worries if it is something I'd be able to keep up with since I have never really been good at sticking to any kind of routine. We are very much a "go with the flow" kind of family and that's ok. Some kids thrive on routine. I think Abigail enjoyed that aspect when she was in daycare so I would really like to give it a try here.

How should I plan out my day? Since both kids wake at different times anywhere between 630-830, free play in the morning is essential. We all have breakfast together. Late morning would be prime time for some sort of structured activity. Then there's lunch. Then Zachary's nap time where Abigail would love to play with things that Zachary can't "ruin".  Outside play, supper prep, whole family play. Seems like a fairly easy going routine.

But I also need to fit in homemaking tasks. I would love for my home to run like a well oiled machine. Smoothly, calmly, less chaotic. So I need to "schedule" the time to take care of things around the home or else they will not get done. And then I would just complain about it later. Some things need to be done daily and others on a weekly basis. I see lots of lists and using my daily planner in my very near future!!

What do you do when you want to develop some sort of daily routine for your family?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Doing small things around the house is better than nothing.

It's been a month since Keegan's been home from his 2 month deployment. Normally deployments don't derail my whole routine because we are very much used to it. This one was different though. I started training for a half marathon. I was hit with a huge shift in priorities for what I want for my family. The decision was made for me to spend yet another year at home with the kids. I want a simpler, less chaotic life but still have yet to find my groove to make it possible.

Now I find myself wanting to do it all. Declutter my whole home and establish some sort of great play/education inspired routine for the kids. No wonder I'm still feeling so scatter brained. Too much to take on at the same time. So I need to start small. I am back to using a great app called Home Routines where I created my own lists of things to do around my home. Sometimes seeing that Accomplishment list get longer and longer is pretty motivating.

I am also eagerly awaiting an awesome new community put together by Emily Chapelle over at http://www.sodamndomestic.com. Her FREE book Finding the Awesome: 3 Steps to Doing More & Stressing Less  was pretty instrumental in my shift in priorities. It truly helped me finalize my choice of wanting to stay home with the kids (more on her awesome book later!).

Here I am, enjoying a cup of coffee while the kids play in a tidy living room, and the first load of laundry is almost done all by 9am. It's a start! Like I said, accomplishing small tasks is better than nothing!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Happy 4th Birthday Abigail!!

Happy Birthday to the little girl that transformed me in incredible ways.

First family picture!

We are in absolute love

1 year - Already a total ham

2 years old - Mastering the electronics already

3 years old - Developing her own style every day.

4 years old - Love her to pieces

More pictures to come as the day progresses.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Meal plan #3 for 2014

Here we go again. It's been a month since I have published anything. We have just been so incredibly busy with half marathon training and keeping both kids entertained during the second half of Keegan's deployment. He is home now (thank goodness!) and since there will soon be a change in job for him, he will be needing to bring a lunch with him to work for the first time in almost 11 years! Because of this and the fact that I have officially extended my leave away from teaching even longer, we need to work harder to make our food budget go as far as it can. We still have some meat leftover from the large local free range order we received in February so we'll be working on finishing that before we order another one.

Monday - Pork roast. We added cauliflower to our mashed potatoes. It was great. Neither kid had any idea. Parenting win!

Tuesday - Leftovers.  Finished leftovers for lunch so bbq chicken breast instead! Yum!

Wednesday - Steak with onion, mushrooms, greek salad.

Thursday - Slow cooker whole chicken with potatoes and broccoli

Friday - Pizza Greek style!

Saturday - Spaghetti squash - I found a HUGE one! And there will be enough to freeze for another night.

Sunday - Stew (I have one already prepared in the freezer from my big freezer cooking day)

So there it is! Now to start planning lunches as well... :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

20 chore Tuesday - "Yet another snow storm" edition

We have yet another winter storm arriving. Some are saying that it is the biggest one we've had in a  couple years. There is even lots of comparison to White Juan, a storm that rocked our province in 2004. With hurricane force winds and the possibility of close to 2 feet of snow, a little preparation is needed. Not so much as to what we'll do while we are stuck home for the day but in the event we lose power, our main focus will be to stay warm since electric baseboards are our only source of heat.

So here he is everything I need to do today to prepare for tomorrow

  1. Diaper laundry.
  2. Clothes laundry.
  3. Dig out warm blankets.
  4. Put flannel bedding on our bed.
  5. Close all curtains to help keep heat in.
  6. Keep the heat on over night throughout the whole house.
  7. Fill up the car.
  8. Ask one of the neighbour kids to take care of our driveway.
  9. Candles.
  10. Find a flashlight
  11. Charge all electronics (if we lose power and Abigail becomes restless at bedtime, the iPad will come in handy!)
  12. Make sure deep freeze is full.
  13. Take out any food that we'll eat that doesn't need to stay in the fridge.
  14. Dig out shovel from the shed.
  15. Put garbage cans under deck.
  16. Plan non cooking meals.
  17. Plan some new "no electricity needed" activities.
  18. Groceries
  19. Dig out winter jackets and boots.
  20. Read some SoDamnDomestic decluttering articles.
  21. Run the dishwasher
So hopefully it will just be like any other day at home. If we do lose power, well we'll just make an adventure out of it with lots of cuddles to stay warm!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Half marathon training through a deployment with 2 kids

More than 2 months ago, I got registered to run my very first half marathon. We watched Keegan run it last year. I'm pretty excited. Here we are now, less than 57 sleeps until race day and I haven't quite been able to train as much as I'd like. But I have figured out some things that will definitely help me from here on out.

As I discussed in my Energy Reduction Challenge update, the weather here this winter has been consistently cold, windy and snowy. Not stormy enough to prevent an experienced runner from hitting the roads but it was definitely enough to keep me away. Now that Spring has officially arrived and the temperatures are steady around the freezing mark, weather can no longer be an excuse!

When Keegan is home, it is easy for me to just get ready and head out. There is still another 26 sleeps until he comes home so until then, I need to take full advantage of all my childcare options. A deployment service at our local Military Family Resource Centre is Respite Care. I have 72 hours of child care at my disposal for when Keegan is away. I simply drop them off and can go running around town for 2 hours and NOT have to pay the 20$ charge. They love it there! Lots of new toys.

Citadel Hill - Hill training. Ran up this baby 14 times!

There are also my Inlaws. They live on the outskirts of town so this afternoon, when we meet them for our regular weekend dinner, instead of heading out to run errands, I will go for a run instead. It is a simple, relatively straight, 5km route into town. So we'll see how that 10K run will be today!

So as much as I'm not getting out nearly as much as I'd like, I'm making it work as best as I can. It's all about forming a habit. The more I use my time wisely and get out there, the easier it will be.

Are you a runner? Do you workout regularly?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Energy reduction challenge - 1st real update... with real numbers!

So we are 2 months into 2014 and I have received a power bill for the first part of the year.  December and January were particularly cold this year thanks to the Polar Vortex. When checking out  www.wunderground.com, you can see that over December and January, this winter was colder than the same 2 month span a year ago. Now lets see how much it affected our energy consumption.

I was absolutely shocked when I received my January power bill to see that my monthly payment had jumped from 156$ to 195$! I knew that our power rates had gone up a little but that jump really surprised me! I guess I shouldn't be all that surprised since 4 out of 6 billing cycles, our usage was higher than the previous years. But I guess I can't quite dwell on that since I can't change anything. I can just change what we do from now on. So keeping in mind that our winter has been colder than last year's, I am happy to say that our average kWh per day so far this year has been 74.6. That is only up slightly from 74.3 last year.

Since our home is already very efficient, there really isn't very much for us to do. It may take a bit more time to do laundry since only 1 load can be hung on our drying racks at at time. Luckily, with Keegan gone, I don't have to do laundry daily. I also went around and dropped all my programmable thermostats to 20*C instead of 21 like Jen and Joey Go Green.  I am also making a conscious effort to turn off lights when I leave a room. I am much better than I used to be!

The Efficiency Nova Scotia site is great since it takes care of all the numbers itself. With winter slowly coming to an end, our main energy hog (electric heat) will be limited so I am pretty confident that we will meet our goal by the end of the month (using 5% less energy than last year). 

Have you set yourself an official energy saving goal? 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

My financial challenge

I'm about to be honest. REAL honest.
Back in January, So Damn Domestic asked us to set ourselves some goals for the year. Here are mine.

I am slowly working on the "Live clutter free" and "Develop a task routine" but one that I have yet to put any real effort into is "aggressively pay off debt". Within a couple years, Keegan and I got an apartment together, finished 3 university degrees, bought a car, got married, then bought a house. Just one of these events is enough to cause some people financial difficulties, let alone all 5. I believe that at our worse, between loans, lines of credit, credit cards and car financing, we owed around 70 000$. Now we owe less than 20 000$. We have come a super long way in couple years of paying it off but I always feel like we could be doing better.

Although I won't be going into total details with all the numbers since we are just months away (finally!) from paying off our car and we constantly use our low balance credit card to earn free groceries (100$ since the holidays!) but I will share our progress on our only other debt. In 2012, we took out a consolidation loan so that we could clean everything up. Much easier to keep track of one loan than several different ones in different financial institutions.

Loan - 14,344$ - Automatic payments of 205$ comes out twice a month. If we stay as is, it will be paid off in 3 more years. Too many years for me. I would love to have this loan gone by the time we have a third child (No! I'm not pregnant! Lol). That is giving us about a year to work at it. I would LOVE to have it gone but December 31st 2014. We have, on average, a little over 1000$ of free money to play around so if I can keep our grocery bills to a minimum, we should easily be able to add quite a bit to our loan payment. Ultimately, the month of March will be a great indicator as to what we'll be able to do.

Do you have a financial challenge? Are you open about your financial situation or are you incredibly private about it?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My giant cooking day

I have been wanting to do a "cook a bunch of meals in one day" day for a while now. With Keegan going away for 2 months, I have realized that now is the time! I bought a 1 month pro membership on Once A Month Meals. All the grocery lists, day before preparation, day of timeline, recipe cards and labels are all done for you. It's a great system

I chose 2 menus, traditional and kids paleo, and since I had the pro membership, I was able to swap out some recipes for ones I wanted. I wanted simple recipes that I know my family love to eat. Lasagna, pâté chinois (shepherd's pie), muffins, banana cookies, egg cups. Tons of yummy food. They recommend reading through cooking day to timeline early so that you fully understand all the steps (my first mistake). They also suggest prepping some meats and all your veggies the day before so that you aren't stuck doing all that busy work the day of (2nd mistake). Another mistake was probably trying to do 2 menus at the same time as well. 

Well I only got started around noon. I had my sister come over and hangout with the skids for the day because there was no way I could safely be in the kitchen all day with they (more on my first day "away" from Zachary here). I only got through about a third of what I had planned. 8pm came around, the kids were tired and cranky so I left the kitchen in a total disaster and went to bed. 

I still had fresh meat in the fridge so I had to prepare a couple more meals. I picked a coup,e recipes that didn't need too much in the way of ingredients to prepare and went to work. I made sure to have lots of interaction with the kids in between recipes. Zachary even had a 3 hour nap in my arms. Little guy just wanted to hang out with me. So all three of us cuddled on the couch and watched cartoons. The recipes I managed to complete:

PB oatmeal cookies
3 shepherd pies
3 apple pie pork chops
2 sweet sour chickens
Pumpkin flax cookies
Sweet potato chili
Beef stew
Bacon wrapped egg cups
Apple chicken nuggets

I still have a couple more things to make but they don't need fresh meat so they can wait until sometime later this week. 

In the end, I'm super glad I did this. Grocery shopping was quite easy since I already had most pantry items. Our meat was local and/or pastured and the majority of our produce was organic. Will I do it again? Not any time soon! It is very difficult to take a whole day to get it all done. For the next while, when I make a meal, I will just prepare a bit extra or I will prep and freeze something some afternoon.

Now, it's time to meal plan for the month of March with all the yummy food in my freezer! Do you have large scale cooking days?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

My first day being "away" from my boy.

As I sit here in our rocking chair, nursing my son to sleep, I look back on our day and realize neither one of us really enjoyed it. Other than a quick fundraising meeting this morning, I spent the whole day in the kitchen cooking and preparing future meals to store in our big freezer. I asked my sister to come over and hangout with the kids since I knew I'd be busy. Well I was too busy. And I won't be spending another day like this for a while. 

With Keegan gone on his two month deployment, I find myself needing easy meals since it is difficult to prepare a large meal with two children running around near me. I decided to give Once A Month Meals a try. Great site with tons of recipes. When you become a member, you have access to detailed shopping lists, food preparation tasks, as well as a timeline for your big cooking day. I had 2 menus that I had planned on tackling today. Things went alright. I didn't make enough mashed potatoes and a muffin recipe totally flopped and I only made about half of what I had planned but that was ok. 

What wasn't ok was not being there for the kids. Abigail was ok since she doesn't need my attention for the whole day but my little Zachary, well he definitely missed his mama. Although he kept coming in and out of the kitchen and laughed ad played all day, I still couldn't get down and interact with him when he came to see me. I'd often ask my sister to come get him since it wasn't entirely safe for him to be around the hot oven. I believe I took two or three instances to sit for a minute and quickly nurse him since I knew it had been a while. That was all his real interaction with me all day long and even then, it didn't last very long.

So here we are passed their bedtime and Zachary is simply sad. All he wants is to be held by me. So that's what we're doing. I got changed in my pjs quickly so that there was no reason for our cuddles to stop as we go from the rocking chair to our big bed where we will both sleep cuddled up to one another and breastfeed several times during the night. I still have a lot of work to do downstairs in the kitchen but it can wait until tomorrow. And even then, each meal preparation will be spaced out with lots of genuine interaction with the kids. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

And so it begins - 59 days to go

It's a cold morning. I had every intention on going out for a run with Z while A was at preschool but those plans changed quickly.

I sit here looking around my disaster of a kitchen and I'm suddenly hit with the cleaning bug. Running can wait. This bug doesn't come around often. So a couple things on the go for today. 
-Clean the main floor
-Meal plan for the week
-Get caught up in laundry
-And look at the little love note that was sent to me this morning.

This will be my chance to put in place routines that will hopefully make our day to day running of the household much smoother. Making freezer meals a month at a time and figuring out a weekly cleaning/task routine are first on my list! And lets all hope that the next 59 days go by quickly!

What do you do to help everything run smoothly in your home?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The next 2 months

Here we are, getting ready for yet another deployment. Who knew that I would become so accustomed to them. There really isn't any planning for them anymore. But this upcoming one is a bit different. Each time Keegan goes away, I normally spend a good amount of time with my parents. We have family meals a couple times a week. They would often take the kids for a bit so I could have a break. But this time, they are not around. They are actually gone away on vacation for the same exact 2 months!

There are a couple things I have had to do this time to prepare. Since now 99% of our meals will be had at home, I needed to stock pile our freezer with meat. We picked up a freezer box today that has tons of local chicken, beef and pork. And they wrapped it all individually so it will be easy to just use what we need to feed the kids and myself. I am also going to try meal planning for the month again. Since I will only have to regularly pick up milk, eggs and produce, our grocery budget should be quite small.

I am also continuing the quest to purge items in my house in order to make it our home. I would love to have that cozy feeling when I'm here and we are slowly getting there. With the help of So Damn Domestic, I am getting into the habit of doing small things daily. No more huge "20 chore Tuesday" since I was never really successful at completing the long lists of tasks. We have already made huge progress in purging out clothes as well  going through all the papers in the house, I'm just going to keep the ball going.

I'm hoping that by the time Keegan comes home, the house will be much different. I hope he likes it!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Cleaning house

Goal for 2014 - Just Do It. 

2 big bins of papers gathered from everywhere in the house. They have been hanging out for a while.

Diaper box for shredding and yellow basket for recycling (I really have no need for our 2008 hydro bills). 

I wonder what my next big declutter project will be. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A quick 20 chore Tuesday

It's been a while since I have tasked myself with doing tons of work on a Tuesday so lets give it a try!

  1. Clear kitchen table
  2. Put away dishes
  3. Get rid of table cloth
  4. Prepare supper
  5. Vacuum main floor
  6. Purge living room toys
  7. Clear diaper bags
  8. Change Abigail's bed
  9. Wash linen
  10. Vacuum A's room
  11. Vacuum Z's room
  12. Vacuum bathroom
  13. Scrub toilet
  14. Scrub main floor bathroom
  15. Fold laundry
  16. Wash diapers
  17. Pick toys for donation
  18. Fold and separate donation clothing
  19. Print out extra pages for my planner
  20. Try to figure out a budget
I wonder how well I'll do!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Meal plan for the week - Doing so on a budget now.

Now that we are down to income, sticking to our meal plan will be very important. I will also have to strategically plan certain meals during the week whether they need fresh or frozen meat. So here is this week!

Sat - Lobster asparagus pasta casserole

Sun - Chicken and green bean casserole

Mon - Corned beef with cabbage, potatoes, carrots and turnip

Tue - Leftovers since boiled dinner is ALWAYS better the next day!

Wed - Spaghetti

Thur - Slow cooker whole chicken

Fri - Pan fried talapia

Sat - Kabobs

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Yet another snow day

Trying something new - Preparing fruit ahead of time

As a breastfeeding mom, I already know that nutrition plays an important role in maintaining a healthy milk supply. Since one of my 2014 goals is to complete a half marathon this upcoming May, a healthy diet will become even more important. I will be trying something new in order to help my family eat healthy snacks easily and more frequently.

Food waste has occasionally been a problem for us. We buy tons of fresh organic produce and since it takes some time to prepare something, we often go for something quicker like crackers. Now that Zachary is a year old and Keegan is getting ready to go on another 2 month deployment, figuring out a system that allows us to have fresh produce readily available whenever we want it will be super useful.

So here is all our fruit for the week. It isn't all organic (thanks to Jen and Joey Go Green's fb post) so washing it well will be very important. I am trying a hot water and vinegar rinse on the strawberries, blueberries and grapes.

And here it is, all cut up and ready to eat whenever we want over the next couple days. The freshly cut up fruit will most likely be the first to go and the apples and oranges will be saved for later on in the week.

Do you do anything special with your produce to help it last longer?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My new planner.

There are some great apps out there that can keep track of everything and share with other members of the family. Our phones are linked and we also share a Cozi account so we can always double check with the others schedule before deciding on anything. But there is just something about a nice planner and your favorite pen that makes me want to sit down and plan everything. There never seems to be a planner that has everything I want in it so here I go making one perfect!

I wanted something that had a 2 page monthly calendar,  a page per week for planning, each week separated in 2 columns and with lots of lined writing space. This is pretty standard in most planners. I found Mom's Agenda 2014 at Chapter's this week on sale! It's great. Not only does it have the calendar items I want but also lots of other organizational pages too. It has pages for a monthly budget, spring cleaning checklists, kids' and mom's weekly routine. But I still want more.

I also would like a weekly cleaning checklist, weekly blogging topics, and a section for our meal planning. So I'm looking for some reproductibles now to print off. Since my planner is spiral bound, I can get the pages added and rebound at staples! Then I will finally have a planner with everything I want!

What must you absolutely have in a planner?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cutting back on the technology.

How many hours do you spend on your phone or computer a day? And I'm not talking about work related time either. I probably spend 4-5 hours a day. When we got our new phones, iPad and laptop, it is completely natural to want to spend lots of time on them learning how they work. A shiny new toy! Now I am realizing that my husband and I definitely need to take a step back.

Yesterday, I tweeted that I was only going to play candy crush when I was nursing Zachary. That alone cut my time spent on that game quite a bit. Keegan and I discussed in the car today about taking an even bigger break. We will no longer be walking around looking at the phones in our hands. Definitely want to spend more time spend together with family.

There will be some exceptions. I will still take the time to write during the week. We will still take plenty of pictures and share them with friends. We will just cut back on the mindless surfing.

Have you tried to consciously cut back your time spent online and spend more of with with family?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Meal plan - weekly challenge

So here is our plan for the week. Now that Keegan is back to work and that we are a single income household, it is even more important for us to stick to a plan. Got half our groceries at the Farmer's Market yesterday. Off to the grocery store to get the rest. 

Sun - Baked salmon

Mon - Cobb style burgers

Tue - Creamy mushroom pork chops

Wed - Beef stir fry

Thur - Salmon egg bake

Fri - Pizza

Sat/Sun - ? since we are unsure as to when we will have Zachary's first birthday party (Stop growing so fast little buddy!!)

If we stick to the whole plan, it will be the first time since there always tends to be a meal that changes. I'm hoping for 6 out of 6. Share what you have planned for the week!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Challenge update - Getting things ready

So it has been a month now that I made the decision to reduce our home energy consumption. Small changes have been easy. There are still some big things that we haven't done yet. We will be making some more phone calls next week to book certain things. Here are the small things we have done recently to help.

  • Since it is too cold to put the clothes out on the line to dry, we have set up drying racks in Zachary's bedroom. The air is so dry due to our electric heat that the clothes tends to dry within 12hrs and help put some much needed moisture back into the air.
  • I am trying to remember turning off the lights when I leave the room.
  • I am opening the window curtains during the day (using natural light) and closing them at night (trying to keep more heat in)
  • Separating our laundry into heavy and light piles. The heavy adult clothes and cloth diapers get hung up to dry, and the lighter children's clothes go quickly in the dryer.
  • We keep electronics (like out coffee pot, toaster, bread maker, laptop) unplugged when not in use.
  • Use programmable thermostats.
Still left to do.
  • Use our ceiling fans to redistribute heat that has risen in the bedrooms.
  • Schedule a Home energy assessment
Once we have our assessment, we will then be able to complete more tasks to make our home more efficient.

Remember to join our Facebook page to follow our updates daily.

Our kitchen command centre

In my quest to be more organized, I'm often trying new things. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't. But when my husband actually comes out and says that he likes something I did, I take it and run with it! So here I go!

We meal plan, use cook books regularly, recharge our electronics, keep our calendar, and sort through mail all at our kitchen table. It can get pretty hectic. It's no wonder I found a 6 month old government baby bonus cheque the other day! So in order to be more efficient, I'm cleaning and reorganizing our kitchen command centre.

Quite disorganized and lots of stuff on the table as well. 


On the tower, we have:
All our Racheal Ray magazines as well as our favorite cookbooks. 
My notebook and budget/meal planning binder.
Abigail's "learn to write" workbooks.
Small basket with our chargers and the MacBook.

Then we have:
Weekly meal plan board.
Big "write everything down" calendar.
White and peg board for important mail and messages.

Now that everything is easily accessible and has its own space, hopefully we can keep it neat and organized and be efficient in our planning.  

Do you have a "command centre" in your home?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Bring on 2014

2013 was awesome. Kicking off the year with a vbac was wicked. I had worked and fought so hard to have the birth that I wanted. All my work paid off. Putting that much effort into something made me realise that if i truly want something, I can get there. The rest of the year was spent slowly turning our house into the home I want. Here are my goals for 2014.

Home energy challenge - I'd love to drop our home energy consumption by 10%.

Meal planning - Since my maternity benefits end this month, we will soon be a 1 income family. In our quest to eat local and organic, meal planning will become increasingly important. 

Deal with/prevent clutter - We are slowly selling/giving away things that we simply no longer need in our home. We now have an extra space downstairs for the kids to play in! Having less stuff makes it easier to keep tidy. I also recently joined So Damn Domestic. Having a small task to do each day will help as well.

Run a half marathon - There is a local event in May. Keegan ran it last year and has plans to run it again this year if he is around. I have joined up with another mom and we will train together!

Blog more often - I enjoy writing. I enjoy sharing. With the several big goals I have set up for this year, 
I'm hoping to share weekly updates.

Be sure to like my Facebook page to follow along and to share updates.
Have you set up any goals for 2014?