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You want me to do what?

Menu planning

(Image source: Homemakers Daily)

I just want to say a heart felt thank you to everyone that took the time to write me or to leave a comment about what menu planning route I should take. You are all so brilliant, resourceful, and just plain generous.

The consensus was for menu planning by theme (A.K.A Option 1), with a bit of just sit your ass down and do it (A.K.A. Option 3) thrown in for good measure.

And you know what? You’re absolutely right.

Something that makes my life easier, reduces the stress in our house greatly, and helps all of us feel better day in and day out is always worth the time necessary to do it.

I also need to remind myself that I don’t have to use every. single. nap. for work. Taking care of myself should be a top priority as well. And this, friends, is taking care of myself. And The Babe. And The Hubster.

And that makes it worthwhile every single week.

THE WEEKLY THEMES

I love love love the template I shared last week from Emily Marko, but know that our style of eating is a lot different than hers.

I’m thinking that I’m going to stick with the themes mentioned last week:

  • Mondays: Pasta
  • Tuesdays: Burgers
  • Wednesdays: Freezer Finds
  • Thursdays: Asian-inspired
  • Fridays: Finger Foods
  • Saturdays: Vegetarian
  • Sundays: Fridge Clean-out

I think this will help to keep us organized, to cut down on time spent searching for meals, and also give us each enough variety and flexibility that we’ll actually be looking forward dinner time.

Wish me luck! We’ll be testing it out this week.

X+O

Project: Food Budget – Week 2

Project: Food Budget

Goal: $100/week
Actual: $63.12 (Trader Joe’s) PLUS another $62.17 (Trader Joe’s) for a total of $125.29

I know it looks like I was way under budget this week. But that shopping trip to Trader Joe’s was a “quick stop to pick up the missing items from our shopping list” trip. I also got $3.99 off because we returned some cookies from the last trip (the plastic seal was missing…).

The good news is, I still have $36.88 to work with this week to stay in the clear. The bad news? I have no menu plan for the week, and already know we need to go back to the store for some fruit, eggs, and bread.

I may try and make the bread here, because homemade bread is easy and delicious. It’s also time consuming (hence why I simply buy it instead) and I don’t want to be tied to the house for 2 hours while it rises, rests, and bakes.

Other than that, I’ve been scouring Pinterest for new recipes and ideas for what to make in our new grill. So far, hamburgers, hot dogs, and corn on the cob are the only things that come to mind.

EDIT: I ended up heading to Trader Joe’s after I posted about this and ended up spending another $62.17. I’m also beginning to realize that our grocery trips are only getting us through about 4-5 days and after that we’re running on fumes. We are completely out of eggs, bread, and all fruit.

I want to keep an eye on this, but may need to up our spending or rethink how I’m planning my weeks…

WEEK 2

Biggest splurge this week:
TJ’s Fat Free Sesame Dressing for an impromptu Asian Pasta Salad. Damn you Trader Joe’s for sampling some seriously delicious food that The Babe was all about. Good thing our splurge was only $1.99.

Proudest moment:
Realizing that I still have $36.88 to work with this week and stay in/under budget. I seriously have been beating myself up for already having to go back to the store for more food. Dear self, take it easy. We have room in the budget.

Goal for next week:
To have an actual menu plan put together before I head out to the store. The whole not-having-a-plan thing is way more stressful to me than going over on the food budget. And yet, I still ignore it or tell myself I’ll figure it out on the fly. I never do. And it’s draining my mojo.

THIS WEEK’S MENU

Some potential extra yummies for The Babe:

PARTICIPATING BLOGS:

That’s it for me. Make sure to check out my fabulous blogging buddies going on this budgeting journey with me, including:

Guilt is to the spirit, what pain is to the body.

"Guilt is to the spirit what pain is to the body." Elder David A Bednar(Image via)

When I thought about my goal for last week of identifying the kind of things that I enjoy or don’t enjoy, I imagined myself putting together a pretty (and organized) little list with one column for “enjoy” and the other column for “don’t enjoy”.

BWAHAHAHAHA.

The Big U clearly had other plans for me. And it came in the form of a 7-Day Visibility Challenge through Propelle. Yesterday was Day 3 and all about sharing what you are currently struggling with.

My biggest struggle as of late: GUILT.

I feel guilty about everything. Guilty for not spending all of my time with The Babe. Guilty for not spending more time on my business, blog, or work with Propelle. Guilty for wanting a break. Guilty for taking time for myself. Guilty for not eating better. Guilty for getting angry because I’m exhausted. Guilty for “wasting” a nap and not being productive. Guilty for wanting time away from The Babe when I worked so goddamn hard to bring her into this world. Guilty for being her most favorite person on the planet.

I feel guilty for saying no.

I feel guilty for saying yes.

I feel guilty for changing my mind.

Guilty, guilty, guilty.

And that’s when it hit me.

All of this guilt is robbing me of joy in my life.

When I wrote about my struggle on a post in our Rock It! community, I finally saw it.

And then I got angry and annoyed with myself for the very words that I was writing. If a client had said those things to me, I would have lovingly (and firmly) told her to snap out of it.

So now I’m telling myself those exact words.

Eff the guilt. It’s poisonous and self-defeating. It makes you think it’s guiding you in the right direction and then BAM. It robs you of all the fun in life.

It’s a horrible way to live.

And it’s a horrible example to teach my gorgeous, smart, and observant daughter.

I am making a commitment to myself to banish the guilt.

It is no longer welcome in my life or in my home. It’s time to let go of that shit and start taking back the joy. It’s blocking me from really taking my life and work to the next level. It’s tainting every single one of my relationships. And it’s just plain gotten old.

I’m ready.

Are you?

 

Enjoy More

Enjoy!

I am having a really hard time believing that it’s officially March. It feels like February just flew by. I know it’s the shortest month of the year. But damn…

I’m happy to report that last week’s effort of sending out snail mail was a big win. I had a lot of fun writing to family, friends, and strangers alike. And am going to try and keep that a fairly regular part of my week, even if I only manage to do it once or twice a week.

This month, I am working towards enjoying things more.

I have tendency to rush through my day, going from task to task, without taking a moment to step back and simply enjoy what I’m doing. It’s like I have to eek the most productivity I can out of every moment of my day.

That way of operating has been a.) exhausting, b.) making me constantly feel distracted and scattered, and c.) like I’m not doing anything well.

I think I have literally multitasked myself into misery.

With all of that in mind, I am focusing on enjoying myself more this month. I want to be fully presented and engaged with I spend my time doing; from being a mama to a gorgeous, smart, and playful little girl, to the food testing I do through Wellspring Whole Health, and the work I do supporting women entrepreneurs through Propelle.

My task for this week: keep track of the things that I enjoy, as well as tracking the things that I don’t enjoy.

It is possible to focus my time and attention in one direction instead of thirty.

It is possible to say no to the things that make me unhappy or that I don’t enjoy.

It is possible to surround myself with the people, places, and work that lights me up.

And it is possible to do all of that right now.

Will you join me? 

Connecting pen to paper.

Letter Writing

In thinking about how I wanted to round out February’s theme of connecting more, I wanted to stretch myself a bit.

I have been doing all of the things I talked about; scheduling more coffee and playdates (weather permitting), FaceTiming like crazy with family, connecting more through social media (particularly email and Instagram), connecting with myself through daily meditation, and trying to be more present in my day-to-day life.

And while that’s been great, it doesn’t feel super out of the ordinary. I was already doing most of those things anyway.

This week, I want to do something that I don’t normally do. Or, at the very least, that I stopped doing a few decades ago…

Writing handwritten letters just because. 

I send out Thank You notes and birthday cards… occasionally.

I write grocery lists and menu plans all the time.

I even talked about the power of the personal note over on the Propelle blog. (Yeah… I’m not always great at taking my own advice.)

But none of that is the same as writing a letter to someone and putting it in the mail.

I’m a huge paper fanatic. I love pretty stationary and cards. And I am obsessed with pens and markers. You would think that I’d be a shoe-in for sending out a hand-written note.

I seriously used to be. I can remember being in high school and pouring over letters I’d write to my best friend in Cincinnati.

The last one I sent was a 14-pager (front and back). I filled it with quotes and doodles, thoughts about life and boys, and other teenage angst. My brother did his damnedest to try and steal it so he could get a window into my world and have blackmail material for life. (He tried to wrestle me for it. He didn’t get it.)

And then I went off to college and left the handwritten note behind.

Email took over. Cell phones became all the rage. And instant communication was way more exciting that anything done by hand.

Don’t get me wrong, I seriously love those forms of communication. I just think that there is something absolutely special about a handwritten note. The thought someone puts into selecting the right card. The time they take out of their day to write. And the way it stands out amongst the piles of bills and junk mail…

I want to take back a little slice of this art form.

This week, I’m going to write and send one hand-written note a day.

That’s 7 letters in 7 days. The hardest part is going to be figuring out who those 7 people are!

Will you join me?

The disconnect.

"The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug." Pico Iyer

Since declaring February the month to connect more, fun things have been happening.

I’ve definitely been spending more time connecting in-person. The Babe and I hit up a local coffee shop and a drop-in play center for some fun during the week. We also went as a family to bring a delicious meal to friends that just had a baby and attended a local food tasting event.

All incredibly fun.

I’ve also been making a concerted effort to FaceTime and talk with family more. (They have definitely been on board with that goal.)

One thing that has become increasingly obvious through all of this connecting, is that I spend a lot of time connecting with my phone as well.

I know, I know. I have to connect with my phone when it comes to talking to long-distance family members more. And I truly love being able to do that—for me and The Babe.

But what I don’t love is how dependent I have become on it.

I feel a tingle of anxiety when I realize my phone isn’t next to me. I check it 15 times an hour (maybe more) just to see if I have an email or to read messages on Facebook and Twitter. I refresh Instagram constantly, waiting to see the next amazing image.

And yet, the most amazing image is right in front of me: The Babe playing, laughing, and exploring the world. And I’m missing out because I’m staring at a tiny screen in my hand.

And then I saw it…

On the eleventy billionth time I checked Twitter for the day, I came across a challenge of sorts called Bored and Brilliant—a week of challenges designed to help one detach from their phone and spend more time thinking creatively.

Huh.

Detach from the phone. Something that made me feel instantly twitchy and anxious. Something that I ultimately knew would help me do what I had set out to do this month: connect more, and connect more deeply to the world around me.

Even though I didn’t sign up for the official challenge, I have decided that I am going to keep my phone out of sight as much as possible.

I have already turned off pretty much every banner notification, as they were making me seriously anxious and on edge every day. That was a huge weight lifted. But I still find myself checking every few minutes just in case something important pops up. Even though it doesn’t.

That’s the big task for this week: stop picking up the phone so goddamn much and connect with the amazing things happening all around me.

Want to join me?

Do you find yourself obsessively checking your phone all day long? Do you want to give yourself a day (or even an hour) to unplug and put it away?

Let’s both commit to disconnecting so that we can be more present to the people, places, and things around us.

Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter and tell me what you’re up to. And then come back tomorrow and tell me how it went!

That’s it. Go to time out.

timeout01 (Image source: Mama Moderne)

Motherhood has been an amazing adventure. I feel energized and am constantly learning new things about myself on a daily basis. I am in awe of how the babe is growing and learning. And there are moments where I feel like my heart is so full that it’s going to burst.

And then there are days when I wish I could be sent to timeout.

To take a break and get away from the constant pressures of taking care of another (albeit cute) human being. To have personal space again. To stop feeling like my brain is constantly being in fifteen places at once. And to get a mental breather from it all.

And then I feel guilty for wanting to get away… until I remind myself that it’s okay to take care of myself and get my needs met too.

There is nothing healthy or productive about being overwhelmed, irritable, and anxious all the time.

This past week has been a special one in the Levenson household. We have a teething baby who is a raging crankball that doesn’t want to sleep at night. Pair that with transitioning into working again and a husband that has been super busy at work (and therefore not around as much to help out).

Showering has been quick at best.

Eating has been a juggling act of holding a baby and grabbing the quickest thing possible (i.e.—total crap).

And sleeping has been… sporadic.

No rest. No breaks. And no down time.

After a pretty epic breakdown, I handed the baby to The Hubster and went to go get a pedicure. I came back feeling refreshed and renewed. And had pretty toes to boot.

I’m not sure that it mattered what I did during that hour, just that I took it.

That night, The Hubster and I talked about how to make that a regular thing. We have agreed to carve out an hour each week (at least) for me to do the things that I want to do—whether it’s getting my toes done or writing a newsletter.

And you know what? Just knowing that I have that time carved out each week has made everything better.