Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ratatouille: Dinner Not the Movie

As part of our new savings plan, we have been making more vegetarian meals and it's been fun to try some new foods! I was so proud of both Matt and Lilly Belle with our latest dining adventure...Ratatouille.

The original plan was to have Lilly Belle watch the movie and then help me make the dish so that she would be more excited to try it. I thought we owned the movie, but I was wrong...and then I got a little bit more nervous about making it for dinner.

We have been working really hard at dinner time with having Lilly Belle try new foods and having her eat what we're eating. To help with this, she helps me make dinner. It has been a lot of fun and a bit of a transition for our family. Usually Matt cooks and makes us dinner. With his current job, it just isn't realistic anymore with Lilly Belle's 7pm bedtime. She gets so excited to help me with dinner and it has been helping with having her try new food.


It was the perfect dish to have her help me with. Different textures of food, colors, and we made lots of circles!

Here is the recipe we followed: Ratatouille

It was our first time trying Eggplant so I let Lilly Belle hold it and ask questions for a bit before I sliced it. 

It was a great recipe for her to help with. I let her put them all in. It taught her patterns too: eggplant, onion, tomato, zucchini, eggplant, onion, tomato, zucchini...

It was a delicious meal. Matt ate most of his and Lilly Belle ate all of her zucchini and even some of her onions. We also made a Caesar Salad and she ate some of that as well. I was proud of Matt for eating the eggplant (he doesn't like it) and Lilly Belle has never tried zucchini before and she gobbled it up. We will be making this again. Yum and so fresh!

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Budget Friendly Healthy Meal Planning - Week 1

Here it is, our weekly grocery list and this week's dinner meal plan! Lilly Belle and I took an afternoon to do some major grocery shopping. We hit up Aldi and Publix. We are both not huge fans of grocery shopping, so it made for an interesting afternoon, but I'm feeling so great about how much money we saved!

I'm not even going to attempt to make this blog a food blog so here are the amazing recipes I chose from Pinterest and links to all of them.


Saturday - Zucchini Pizza Boats 

Sunday - Enchilada Orzo

Monday - Ratatouille

For just $116 I was able to get all the ingredients I needed for these dinner recipes, plus food for breakfast, lunches, and snacks. I bought fruits and veggies. And even some Smart Water and chocolate milk for myself! I didn't buy the meat from Aldi, and couldn't all the ingredients I needed there so that's why we also went to Publix. The Publix trip really is what brought us over $100. There were way too many things in there that tempted me. I had already bought everything we needed and then bought some more fruit, the chocolate milk and waters.

This budgeting madness has got me so excited! I've decided to do weekly budget updates instead of monthly - it will help me stay on track a lot more!

Stay tuned...

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Slow Cooker Lentil Stew

On our path to healthier living and a more budget friendly lifestyle, we are making some big changes to the way we eat. One of the changes we are going to work at is to eat more meatless dishes. I'm never a big meat fan, but Matt is. We'll see how much I can get away with more than just a Meatless Monday every week.

Tonight I made our first Lentil Stew. I've eaten lentils before when I nannied in Seattle. My nanny family there eats them often. I had never even heard of them prior to living in Seattle. And up until tonight, I've never cooked with them. I am pleasantly surprised with how delicious the Lentil Stew is that I made tonight, and how easy!

Slow Cooker Lentil Stew

1 1/2 cups of lentils
3 peeled and chopped carrots
3 celery stalks chopped
1 sweet onion chopped
4 cups of chicken stock
1 28 Oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
Parmesan cheese for topping

Mix all ingredients (except for the cheese) into the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Sprinkle with cheese before serving.

This meal cost about $8.00 to make! I still have enough for 2 or 3 lunches from leftovers.

I am so glad that my friend Nalani shared this recipe with me! We will definitely be making this again. We even got Lilly Belle to eat it up. We told her that Cinderella would for sure eat Lentil Stew and that helped a lot. She ate almost her whole bowl, and then also a ton of cheese that she would dip piece by piece into the stew. Silly girl...

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Our Year of Savings!

I just celebrated my 28th birthday, and it is bothering me a ton that at 28 and almost 30 years old, we still do not own a home. It drives me crazy actually. In reality, we could never have owned a home in the Seattle neighborhoods we lived in on the eastside. Home prices there are sky high. And now, we have chosen one of the wealthier neighborhoods in Florida to live in, so...we are kind of making it a lot harder for ourselves. But for me, no excuse! I see my friends all around me owning homes. I'm ready for that to be us.

We have some work to do first before that can happen and I want to make this a journey on my blog so that it keeps me more accountable! I have decided that in my 28th year, I want to spend less and make more so that we can achieve our goal of owning a home. Here's my plan because by my 29th birthday, I want us to be in a position to be looking at homes!

-Change the way we eat! No more eating out all the time. No eating out at Disney. No snacking at Disney. No more Starbucks runs all the time. And... Matt's not going to like this one - less meat! We are going to be eating healthier and on a more vegetarian style diet. This is for both health and financial reasons as Matt is also on his own journey right now. I want to help him.

-Set aside specific hours each day where I sit at my computer to do marketing work for both my dance and fitness companies. I also want to delegate more so that more things are accomplished. 

-No more Target runs. They kill me. I'm going to avoid going to Target. I never leave Target without spending at least $100. Never. I usually go at least once/week. That's about $5,200/year!

-Every Sunday I will plan out our meals and we will stick to them so we are not constantly buying more food or eating out because we failed to plan. I will do my best to keep our grocery budget as close to $100.00/week as I can. We have done this before so I know it can be done. Lately, I've been too relaxed about it and usually spend at least $200/week on groceries. That's a $400/month savings! $4,800 in a year!

-More crock pot meals. This will save both time and money.

-Every time I go grocery shopping I will get $20 back in cash and put it in savings that we aren't allowed to touch. That's $1,040 in a year if I do it every week.

-We will cancel Netflix, Hulu, and our SeaWorld passes (we rarely go). This will save $45.00/month between the 3. That's $540 in a year.

-I will homeschool Lilly Belle. We were planning on homeschooling her for preschool but are also looking into a co-op preschool for her. I think we will pass on that for this year even though it looks so cute. That will save over $1,000.00.

-Teach more classes. If I teach just two more classes/week than I am right now, that will save us at least $1,560!

-Grocery shop at Aldi, Trader Joes and Walmart.

-I am hoping I can start blogging more too!

-Matt always talks about getting a part time job, but we're not there yet ;)

Just with the numbers above alone, that is a savings of $14,140 in a year just from small changes! That is a down payment on a house.

On top of being really good at saving, we need to pay off some medical bills from my miscarriage and my hospital visit this pregnancy. We have one other debt to pay off, but hopefully my working extra hard will cover all of that. We have a goal of 30 dance kids/session and 100 mamas as members in my fitness company.

Starting on May 1st - because it's a good solid #, we are going to do a ZERO SPENDING MONTH. Nothing extra.

I am excited to write about this and keep updating our progress each month. We are already on the right track and have an amazing budget that I update every morning, or sometimes 3 times a day (obsession). We have lowered our health insurance and got rid of cable. Now if only we could all cram into a one bedroom for the next year. ... I'm kidding.

28 is my year of savings and progress. I want my babies to grow up in a home, not from apartment to apartment. We can do this!

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Pregnancy After Miscarriage

We were in complete shock when we found out we were expecting this sweet miracle baby. I still look down at my growing belly and am usually still in disbelief.

It has been 139 days since our first appointment with our last pregnancy finding out that our baby had a "possible heartbeat". (December 9, 2015)

It has been 130 days since our next appointment where I ended up having two ultrasounds, one lasting an hour long, sitting in a room hearing the words "there is no heartbeat"... (December 18, 2015)

It has been 110 days since I lay in the hospital bed being prepped for my D&C surgery crying and begging my husband to take me home; begging him to not let them take my baby away from me. (January 7, 2016)

And still, I miss our William every single day. We named him William. We felt like it was a boy. It helps me with the healing to give him a name. We would have called him Liam. I cry whenever I think about our angel in Heaven. Even though, I have a beautiful miracle baby inside me now with the most amazing heartbeat I've ever heard. Hearing Lilly Belle's heartbeat for the first time was incredible and something I will never forget. But hearing this baby's heartbeat was an answered prayer. A miracle. Something we had been longing for for so long.

Just 2 months later. Just 2 months exactly after my D&C, on March 7th, 2016, I took a pregnancy test. I had only had one period. It was only 60 days after that awful day. 60 days after one of the worst days of my life. My dad called me. I was on my way to Stroller Strides. My dad doesn't usually call me, so when he does I always think something is wrong. This time I was right. He was calling to tell me that my 15 year old sister is pregnant. I was so angry. I had just went through hell losing our baby. A baby I wanted and loved and tried for. A baby I prayed for every day with my husband. A baby who had a big sister so excited to meet him. A baby with two parents, a home, a family. I was so angry that she could get pregnant and have a healthy baby and that even though we already have a family and are in a place to have a child, couldn't. I was angry that I went through all I did. That I kept that lifeless baby inside my body for a month because I couldn't bare to lose him. A month where I felt more and more dead every single day. A month where I felt like I was dying inside and had to push through each day. I was so sad. I got so mad and said to myself, 'I'm going to take a test as soon as I get home!' I knew we had only been intimate one time because we weren't suppose to try, so the chances of seeing a positive pregnancy test were basically zero, but I wanted to be pregnant with everything I am. I wanted to see a positive test. I ran into the bathroom when I got home and took it so quickly. I almost walked away but then...I saw a 2nd line.

And... everything changed. It was positive. I was pregnant again. Already. Something we never dreamed would happen in a million years. Things like that don't happen to us or for us. Nothing ever goes the way we plan or better than we plan, that's just the way things work for us. Not this time.

This time there was light. So much light.

I called to tell my parents. I said "I think I'm pregnant too!" They were beyond thrilled. I still wasn't 100% sure because it was such a faint line, but I took another and it was darker. Matt knew just through the way I was texting him and he called me. I wanted to tell him when he got home from work but he knows me way too well. He was freaking out just as much as I was. We couldn't believe it!

We are having a baby. Our angel in Heaven is looking down on his little brother or sister and watching over his big sister every single day. I can feel him with me. I cannot wait until we can meet one day in Heaven. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about him.

This pregnancy has not been an easy one, and I'm only a bit over 10 weeks along.

In my 5th week of pregnancy I blew out my back. To the point where I could not move. I was stuck between bed and the chiropractors office for a good week. I couldn't take any medicines or do anything that needed to be done because I was pregnant.

God needed me to rest.

On the morning of Saturday, April 16th (9 weeks) Lilly Belle came running in to say good morning. She is now fully potty trained and does not wear diapers to bed, so the first thing we always do is go potty. She goes, and then I always have to go so bad too that I go right away. So, I took her potty and without flushing in between, I peed too. Lilly Belle has been working hard on her colors lately, and looked down after I had wiped and proudly announced, "Look! I made red!!" I looked down in the toilet to see blood and a clot in the toilet. I thought I had once again lost our baby. I called Matt in (as he was still sleeping) and he came running in. I wiped again and there was again blood (like a period) on the toilet paper. Matt got Lilly Belle out of the bathroom as I closed the door to cry. I told him to please get her ready, we needed to go to the ER immediately. We threw on some clothes and got out the door by 7:15am.

When we arrived there was someone ahead of me, so I just stood there in the ER waiting room sobbing while the woman took care of the lady ahead of me. When it was my turn, she sat me down and asked me what was wrong. I explained that I was losing my baby and was 9 weeks. My best friend, Lindsay, rushed over and picked Lilly Belle up from the hospital around 7:45am and took her for the day.

Matt and I waited in that waiting room for at least 45 minutes to an hour before anyone called us back. We got back and they told me I would be getting an IV and a pelvic exam. They hooked me up to the IV and then the doctor came in for the exam. She found that there was no new blood and told me that was a good sign, but she still did not know until we did an ultrasound, if the baby was okay or not.

The nurse then wheeled me over to the ultrasound area to wait as someone was already getting an ultrasound. We sat there outside the room listening as a woman inside was finding out that she was having a boy. I was numb. I couldn't move or talk. It was like de ja vu. It all came flooding back. I was certain there would be no heartbeat. I felt like it was going to be just like our angel baby. I thought we were done and that I was going to be going through this all again. I kept telling Matt that I couldn't do it again. He kept reassuring me that everything was going to be okay.

After about 3 hours of being at the hospital, it was finally my turn for my ultrasound. I told her that I know there is no heartbeat. My exact words were, "I know my baby is dead." She then smiled and said, "well... you're wrong."

She wasn't supposed to show me anything but she felt terrible for what I was going through and explained that the baby was 100% perfect, but it was me that had something wrong; I was the one bleeding. Hemorrhaging actually. I was scared, but so thankful that my baby was okay!

We then had to stay there for about another 2 hours until my IV was done and for the doctor to come talk to us. We were sent home with me being told I was on bed rest until the two hematomas were gone.

God needed me to rest.

On Monday I had my appointment and again was told, "light activity". I had to get subs all weekend and couldn't do anything.

On Wednesday, my mom and I decided to go to Ikea. I said I would rest a lot and just walk through really slowly. I needed to get out. About midway through I started to have the worst stomach ache... which quickly turned into cramps. Which quickly turned into cramps bringing me to the ground. Which quickly turned into what felt like contractions. We left as soon as we could and went straight to the doctor. They got me in but with a doctor that I did not feel 100% comfortable with. During the appointment, he used a little tummy ultrasound monitor and didn't find a heartbeat... and then just thought it would be fine to send me home. I was in hysterics again. I sat out into he hallway not sure of what to do and once again thinking my baby was gone.

I ran back in bawling and they quickly took care of me. They let me get another ultrasound (a real ultrasound) and let me talk to the head doctor whom I have been seeing for my appointments and feel 100% comfortable with. I was not only then reassured that our baby is totally fine, but also that my bleeding has dissolved and is 100% gone.

God needed me to rest.

All a relief. But my worrying never stops. It's awful. I am so excited for this sweet baby, but spend so much time wondering if I'm going to lose this one too. I am still grieving our angel baby and it feels so strange sometimes when I'm crying about our baby we lost even though there is another baby with me. I want them both. I don't want any of my babies to be gone. I miss him. And I love this sweet baby inside me so incredibly much.

Lilly Belle insists that this baby is a "baby brudder because baby sister is in Heaven." She thinks the last baby was a baby sister so usually only calls this baby a boy. She never forgets about our baby in Heaven and we never will either. She has been talking about Jesus a lot lately. She tells everyone that Jesus is in their heart. She even asked Mickey Mouse this past weekend while at Magic Kingdom with my mom if Jesus was in his heart.

It has been 139 days since we lost our angel baby and I have now been pregnant with our miracle baby for 73 days. Life is an amazing thing. I thank God every day for all 3 of our babies. I feel so lucky to be their mommy. I am so lucky that they picked me. This pregnancy is going to be scary until the day I hold this sweet baby in my arms. I try so hard not to stress and to be calm. I try to stay busy on days when that's what I need. There are so many emotions. It's a lot.

But at the end of the day, I am thankful to God. We feel so blessed to have this sweet baby growing inside me, and know that one day, we will get to be with ALL of our babies in Heaven.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Baby Number Two!

It's official!

Lilly Belle is officially going to be a Big Sister, and way proud of it!

I am a bit over 10 weeks pregnant now with our 3rd baby and so far, so good. We still pray everyday and know that we're still not 100% in the clear yet, but really, are we ever? I mean, I still worry every single day about Lilly Belle and she's almost 3. I'm pretty sure that just never goes away. So, I'm soaking it all up and enjoying every second with this sweet precious miracle of ours.

Our sweet baby is due November 20th - perfect time for a Florida baby!

We're all pretty excited around here. Lilly Belle loves to tell everyone we see that there is a baby in my tummy. It makes me just as happy each time I hear her say it again...

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