Saturday, October 23, 2010

I have a good excuse....

Well, at least it was a good excuse for about 8-10 weeks.  Then I was just lazy to get back to the blog!

We found out in the middle of June that we are expecting baby #2.  Due to arrive at the very end of February!  It was not long before the sickness kicked in high gear.  Seriously it was so very awful.  We had to ask my mother in law to fly down to help (ok, to completely take care of our son) while I just moaned and groaned on the couch/bed feeling like death.  As soon as she got here, my husband got a stomach bug. It was the sickest I've seen him ever.  Then I got it.  Then our son got it.  Both my husband and I got dehydrated and had to have IV fluids.  Ugh.  Thank goodness MIL was here to save the month!

So, then I started feeling better.  But I went to Italy with some girlfriends!  For 12 days!  It was absolutely freaking fabulous.  We just visited the Tuscany area with one night in Cinque Terre on the Mediterranean Sea and then an overnight layover in Paris.   There really are no words to describe how great it was.  And the pictures hardly do it justice.

I come home feeling great.  I felt the best on my trip than I have this entire pregnancy.  I was excited to come home and be active with my family for the first time in months.  The morning after I got home, I woke up with a sore throat.  Stupid cold found me on the plane ride back.  So almost a week of congested head/nose and sinus issues kept me down again.  Seriously?  Give me a break!  Then our son got a touch of it.  Thankfully it was just a cold, but still enough to keep us down for a total of two weeks.  Blah.

BUT, I'm feeling much, much better now and decided that since I was, it was a great time to start exercising to prepare for labor. Squats.  Lots of them.  Crossfit loves squats.  I took my final class that I started right when I got pregnant and now I am officially able to do the group exercises.  Well....when I'm able to actually lift my leg without the assistance of grabbing onto my pants leg to do so!

I do plan to get back to this blog.  Obviously we're getting back to natural basics again with planning for this labor and delivery.  Looking back at our last birth and what we loved and what we want to try to plan to change if possible.  So there may be a lot of birth stuff for a while since I'll be preparing and have already been researching several topics that I'd like to write about.

Eating.  Well, the fact that I *can* eat is wonderful right now!  Seriously at the beginning of the pregnancy I lost weight because I could not even get water down.  Stupid acid reflux.   The pain was so bad, I swore that it was a gall bladder attack and since I had mine out a year ago, I knew it wasn't possible.  So, once I was able to eat, I ate whatever sounded good at the time.  And since I didn't cook for over two months for my family (seriously couldn't even stand the smell of the oven/stove turning on), my family has slacked too on eating healthy, whole, natural foods.  We're getting back to it though and have to get rid of some bad habits that were easy to pick up again.

So bear with me.  I'll probably jump around very randomly with my topics.  :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

I'm back with a brand new menu plan :)

I seriously suck.

I have neglected my blog.  I have lots to talk about but just not the time to write it down!  We have also been eating so very poorly because of our lack of planning in our busy lives.  But we know that it's the lack of meal planning that adds to the "busy" of our life.

So, I have this week's menu plan and I had help!  I was visiting my mom last week and she had a Woman's Day magazine.  In the back of it, it has a monthly menu plan for dinner.  And it looked like some good recipes!

So, the beauty of it is, you can go to their website and it has the entire month planned out where you can click on day and it takes you to the recipe!!!  AND it has a shopping list set up by the week.  It's fantastic!

So here are our dinner plans for this week.  We haven't planned lunch this week, but we've got to get back in the groove and if we at least have dinner planned, it helps!

Monday - Pasta Primavera with side salad (or any veggie on sale at store)
Tuesday - leftovers
Wednesday - Homemade fish sticks, corn on cob and coleslaw
Thursday - Korean Beef Bok Coy and brown rice with scallions
Friday - leftovers
Saturday - Stuffed Eggplant with spinach, tomato and feta salad
Sunday - Salman Burger with rice and carrot/scallion salad

Doesn't that sound WONDERFUL?  And it's such a variety which is always my hold up.  I love different things, but I drive myself crazy looking at recipe after recipe and never deciding.

So, again, a super boring post.  I promise I'll get better.  I've got tons of things to talk about, just like the recipes, I can't pick just one!  Maybe I'll put the topics in a hat and draw out one!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My birth story...

Two years ago yesterday.  It's already and only been two years ago since my son made his grand appearance into this world!  What a wonderful experience it has been so far to be a mother to this little guy.  He is amazing and has my my family even more amazing.  I love his father more each day because of the man he is with his son.  I could not have DREAMED for a more perfect husband.

I have decided to share my birth story in remembrance of the amazing day/night he arrived.  Like I mentioned in the previous post, I did not have the most enjoyable pregnancy.  But, the birth was amazing.  It was still painful, believe me.  Unfortunately I was not one of the ones who experienced a pain-free birth.  But I would do it all over again tomorrow to have my little guy with us!  I wish more women got to experience childbirth the way our bodies were designed to handle it without the intervention and scare tactics of doctors.

Oh, and it's very long.  Very.  Warming - there are also pictures at the end.  Nothing graphic, but you'll see some of my skin, so watch out!  :)  Lots of pictures!

I was due Sunday, June 8th, 2008.  It came….and went. 
I only went “overdue” 2 days.  Labor began Tuesday, June 10th at 3:30 p.m.  The day began like usual.  I finally hoisted myself out of the mountain of pillows (I think we counted 11 at one point) and got up for the day.

My friend called and said she was coming by to take me to breakfast – yay, the outside world!  So she, my husband and I went to breakfast.

When we got back to the house, my friend gave me a little bag with some DVD’s to watch along with some brownies.  So of course I scarfed down two brownies immediately.  This was probably around 11 a.m.   I then had a little bathroom visit soon after breakfast and now looking back my body was definitely preparing for labor!  

My husband and I went to a friend’s house to get in the pool for some relief from my heavy belly.  Right when we walked in her front door (3:30 p.m.), my first contraction came.  I instantly knew it was real.  It wasn’t painful…just a mild version of the horrible menstrual cramps I used to have.  The Braxton-Hicks I’d been having for months were definitely more uncomfortable. I didn’t say anything though because I don’t want anyone to freak out.

We get in the pool... I know what most of you are thinking.  “WHAT?  Why aren’t you  headed to the hospital immediately?”  That’s another blog for another day!  I’d prepared myself to know labor is a normal, natural thing that is usually not an emergency.

There were only a few people there – my husband, friend, her daughter and my friend’s parents.  I tell my husband quietly that I was having contractions and I needed his watch to time them.  They were about 10 minutes apart for an hour.  The water was amazing.  I’m not sure if it was the water or if my contractions were just that mild.  They never hurt.  There was definitely a lot of pressure, but not painful at all.   We stay at my friend’s house for about an hour and a half.  Then I felt the need to empty my bladder, but I didn’t want to do it there.  Somehow I just had a feeling that I needed to get home!

I got home and immediately headed to the bathroom and had a lot of mucus plug/bloody show happening.  Very exciting and scary!  I hop in the shower – contractions are about 8 minutes apart.  Get out, decided to lie down – because that’s what I read – lie down and if contractions continue, it’s active (although I already knew it was at this point!)

I got on the couch and WHOA….something happened and my back started to feel as though it were breaking!  I guess he turned somehow.  It was instantly painful and there was no break between contractions.  (Um, hello?  Why didn’t I get those minutes in between peaks?)  

I leaned over my exercise ball on the bed to take pressure off my back but it didn’t help at all.  My husband was trying to time contractions – they were very sporadic.  Sometimes 2 minutes apart – sometimes 7.  Lasting different times.  Although because the pain never stopped, I’m not sure how accurate we were in timing them.  I still have the piece of paper from where my husband tried to keep up with my contractions and me!

I then called the birth center and told the midwife that I was definitely in labor, feeling pain and having contractions.  She said to continue on my hands and knees and wait until there was a more definite pattern.  Oh, and she made sure to demand that I eat!  I tried a leftover hamburger but could only eat half.  I then totally regretted not eating as soon as I felt that first contraction earlier in the day!

Not 30 minutes went by and I called the midwife back and told her I couldn’t take it any longer.  So she said she’d meet me at the center  – 40 minute drive.  I had to hold onto my husband’s shoulders to get out of the house and into the truck. I can only imagine what we looked like to passing cars!  He called our parents and my cousin who was supposed to come take pictures.  It was about 8:30 or so at this point, so very short from the time my first contraction started.  Sitting down was not pleasant to my back, however, the ride didn’t seem long, surprisingly. 

I'm checked and then heard the midwife say, “Oh, we’re definitely having a baby tonight, you’re 7 centimeters dilated!”  This was just after 9 p.m.  So not quite 6 hours past first contraction.  Thank goodness!  I could hear my husband breathe a huge sigh of relief!  

I go to the wonderfully large queen sized bed and strip off my shirt – I never understood why women always seem to get naked during natural births, but I get it now!  I had to lie down on my side; it’s the only thing that helped my back somewhat. 

I got a shot of nubaine, although now, looking back, I so wish I would have tried something first – tub, shower, etc.   It took the edge off and although it was still very painful, allowed my back to take a break between the contractions.

I think I was there for about an hour when our midwife suggested the tub.  She checked me first and I was 9 centimeters, so she wanted to break my water since I was so close and wanted to check for meconium (couldn’t deliver in tub if there was any present). 

Into the tub I went and I still remember how wonderful that felt.  Instant pain relief! I was full dilated in no time and began to feel the slight urge to push.  I started pushing when I felt like it, but didn’t feel quite right.  I was checked and still had lip of cervix, so that’s why it didn’t feel right. 

I started pushing again soon, but the tub wasn’t feeling great to push because of my back labor.  So I got back in bed.  I tried to push, but again, not quite right.  My wonderful midwife told me to just relax and rest and try to nap. I rested for about an hour!  It was so wonderful, I’m sure if I were with an OB in a hospital, they would have forced me to push immediately when I was fully dilated and I would have ended up with a horrible tear or worse!

I began feeling this incredible urge to push and it felt better this time!  It was a welcome relief!  I could feel a weird pressure in the front of my pelvis while pushing though.  It took me several pushes to finally get it right.  The best thing our midwife told me was to try to push him up to the ceiling.  When I tried it that way, I felt him move so much with each push!!!  Very motivating!

I was so exhausted though – due to my lack of food that day (really wish I would have chowed down immediately when I went into labor!) so between each push I would fall back down on the bed.  My husband and cousin had to hold each leg back during a push and the midwife knotted a sheet on two ends and she and I each pulled during my contraction.  It was so helpful because I was thoroughly exhausted!

After 42 minutes of pushing, my son was born at 2:00 a.m. on June 11. We realized why I had the front pressure/pain during pushing and why I had back labor.  He wasn’t quite posterior, but just cocked slightly.  His poor little cone head was waay off to the side and back!  

I held him for an hour!  Then the proud father finally received a chance to hold him. No one took him away, he stayed with us, we made the rules! My little family all got in bed and slept for several hours together.  We were so comfy, that we didn’t leave until 5:00 that afternoon!  I'd wanted to leave earlier and definitely felt fine, but I was just sleeping so wonderfully there!

Best experience ever!  

Oh, and remember my last blog entry about suspected "large" babies?  Well, I had a "large" baby of 9 pounds, 4 oz. and believe it or not, my pelvis is still in tact!  Not only did I "survive" but I went home the very same day and had a very easy recovery.  Thank goodness I was with a care provider that knew that birth was normal and not something to intervene in.  The midwives knew not to say ridiculous things like, "Wow, you've got a big one.  Hopefully we can get him out."  No estimates were ever made.  No fear was ever in my mind about a large baby.  My labor started and I pushed him out.  I knew I could do it.  My body was made to birth him!

Happy Birthday to my sweet little boy who is more charming each day and has brought more joy to my life than I could have ever imagined!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Due Dates - our worst enemy

On this date two years ago, my husband and I got a million phone calls.  Okay, not really, but we were questioned so very much about reaching my due date and the baby wasn't here yet.  Shocking, I know, since most women these days feel as though they are going to immediately self-implode if they reach their due date and baby isn't here. 

Well, since I was pretty miserable during pregnancy and especially the end, I was sick and tired of the phone calls.  I know, I know, everyone just had innocent intentions but I wanted to shout, "Don't you think I want this baby out?" 

I was not one of those glowing women that we read about.  I was far from it.  During early pregnancy, I had the classic morning (all day) sickness.  I didn't even want anything touching my belly.  Exhaust from cars made me want to hurl and brushing my teeth had to be done over the toilet because for about a month I threw up every time I brushed my teeth.  In fact, it got so bad, I just bought mouthwash and rinsed for about a week so I didn't have to stick the toothbrush in my mouth!

Then I felt good for about two weeks after getting into my 2nd trimester.  Then I woke up throwing up.  Seriously, vomit in the mouth.  I guess it was then determined that I had acid reflux and something else that is escaping my memory right now.  It got so bad that I actually took some medication for it.  I do not, do not, do not like taking medication period and especially while I was pregnant, but it got so bad, I needed to do something allow me to eat.

Oh, and physically I HURT and ACHED.  I had what was called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD).  Just to get out of bed was a challenge and not in the normal pregnant lady style.  I seriously couldn't move my legs without extreme pain.  My hip.  Oh, my hip.  It still hurts to this day.  I think my son was buried into my right hip most of the pregnancy. 

The swelling of the feet and legs.  Seriously?  I knew women talked about swelling happening.  I had NO clue it would be that extreme.  Thankfully it didn't develop into pre-eclampsia.  I wanted to be out and about, but the swelling, although it didn't hurt, was incredibly uncomfortable.  I only had one pair of flip flops that would fit and they would even leave an indention in my feet.  It got to the point that even in the morning after having my feet elevated most of the night, they were still swollen.  I began to really hate my couch at this point.  Really detested the living room.  I'd spent months at this point on that blasted couch.  Thank goodness for laptops!  I also played a lot of Super Mario Brothers on the Wii during the early sickness.  I guess it helped me focus on something and took my mind temporarily off of the nauseating feeling in my guts!

So why am I "complaining?"  I'm not really. I'm just telling the story of my pregnancy.  My long, sick, painful pregnancy.  And yet, I never considered induction.  Yes, I was absolutely miserable.  I couldn't WAIT to get that baby out of me.  But I knew that induction was not the answer.  This was a human life I was carrying.  Every single second in the womb is essential for development.  Baby knows when it's time to come. 

Yes, yes, I realize that there are extenuating circumstances where we MUST induce, but they are far and few between.  However, many Ob's are now convincing pregnant women that there are many reasons for induction.  My favorite - the suspected large baby.  An OB tells an almost full-term pregnant woman that he/she is in danger of not being able to deliver a large baby because of different reasons - broken pelvis, broken shoulder of the baby, horrendous tear or painful episiotomy, or the worst outcome - a C-section. So most of these women, terrified and rightfully so, agree to an induction before the due date, in most cases. And guess what happens in the majority of those cases - a C-section, exactly what the OB convinced the woman to induce to avoid. Rarely is the child a giant! 

If you don't believe me, start asking questions of the people you know who have children.  Of the ones you know who had a C-section, ask them if they were induced.  Chances are, yes there were.  Then ask why they were induced.  Most of these women truly believe their doctors were helping them by doing the induction.  Their doctors made them afraid of giving birth.  It makes me sad.   Our society has taken birth from us.  It's put birth in a hospital.  A hospital is for illnesses.  Again, yes, yes, I know that C-sections are sometimes necessary, but NOT at the rate it's currently at.  Over 1/3 of all deliveries are c-sections.  That is absolutely absurd.  One-third of all deliveries should not be c-sections.  

I wish I could remember (or have the energy to go search for it) the statistic about first time moms.  Typically, first time moms go into labor after 41 weeks.  I'm thinking it's 41 weeks, 1 day (maybe 2 days).   That's a FULL week after the due date.  Oh the horror!  There is a reason babies are born when they are.  The NEED the development.  Why strip them out a week or two early.  A woman is only pregnant for 40 weeks on average.  One week can be huge for development.

So do me a favor.  Educate yourself.  Don't agree to an induction, or worse yet, ask for one.  I know you may be miserable.  Seriously, I have a video of myself at the end of my pregnancy.  I remember.  It was tough.  But it's so very temporary and so very important to your baby's development.  If your OB scares you with the whole "large baby" thing and tells your horror stories of what *could* happen, ask your OB how many babies he/she has delivered that had broken shoulders or how many women had her pelvis broken.  Ask about the true risks...chances are they are very low.  

Get back to the basics especially here.  Baby will let you know when it's time to be born!  Enjoy the anticipation (even though it may be hell sometimes!)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Learning to sew...

I feel like I'm not even qualified to mention the word 'sewing'.  I seriously can't even sew on a button.  OK, I can, but it wouldn't be pretty, and I'm not even sure it would stay on for long.

Sewing is on my list of things to learn.  My father's mother sewed and made my sister and I several dresses when we were younger.  Why do  most of the women I know not know how to sew?  I guess when households transformed and went to both husband and wife having a full-time job, sewing went out the window as well as most other domestic things.  Now, I'm not saying that women have to stay at home and the men have to work.  I'm just making an observation.

I think we rely too much on others and pay too much for what we need in life.  I don't think I even know anyone who could sew me a simple skirt if I wanted.  I have no desire to become a sewing legend but it would be nice to be able to take some of my husband's clothes that are now too big and make them fit again.  We paid too much money for them to just sit around now because they are an inch or two too large.  I know we could use a seamstress, but why pay money to someone when I'm sure I could learn to do it myself?  Also, if you saw my poor son in pants that are way too short, you'd probably encourage me to learn to sew the poor boy some clothes that fit!

So, I have signed up for sewing classes at an incredibly charming store called Fabrika in downtown Savannah.  The fabrics alone sold me.  I don't know about you, but most of the fabric stores I've seen don't have any "fun" fabrics.  I am taking the Saturday and Sunday class in July if anyone wants to join me.  :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Friend to the

I had a very interesting conversation with one of my closest friends the other day.  During it, I discovered that she thought I was all natural and into saving the environment.  Although now I am definitely more eco-friendly, I didn't start out becoming that way to save the earth!  The real reason we do the things we do is to save money, plain and simple.  However because of the changes we've made to our lifestyle, we've come to realize that we are indeed nicer to the environment than most and we're kind of liking it now!

How did it start?  We had a baby.  We realized we didn't want to put baby into daycare.  However we could not live off of my husband's salary alone, so we were forced to cut where we could.  First change - cloth diapers.  I know, I know, but they are not like the cloth diapers of yesteryear, I promise!  In fact, they are now ridiculously cute.  So much so that at one point I thought I was actually going to be spending more than if we were to have used disposables!  I am a bargain shopper so I scored some great deals off of eBay for brand new cloth diapers.  I bought 10 of them for $11 each, which was a savings from the $16.96 regular retail price!  The best part about that purchase - I sold them a few months ago for $10 each on!!!!  Isn't that fantastic?  I've also bought several off of diaperswappers which is the best way to try out the different styles of cloth diapers.  I'm telling you, these aren't the white squares that you use pins for.  They are CUTE and easy to use.  So after switching to cloth diapers, we learned that the average disposable diaper takes up to 500 years in a landfill to decompose.  500 years.  Think about all of the disposable diapers you've thrown away....yeah, it adds up.  Then you add in the poop in the diaper.  That's not good.  We're throwing poop into our landfills which means the birds and flying bugs that frequent our landfills could be contaminated with the bad stuff that happens with poop.  Yuck.

So, that's what started us off.  With the cloth diapers came a clothes line.  The diapers last longer if you don't blast them in the heated dryer, so we started hanging them to dry.  And imagine my surprise when the sun got rid of the stains!  Wow, who knew?  So, we started paying attention.  If our diapers would last longer, then obviously our clothes would last longer, so we started hanging our clothes out too.  If you have an "old-fashioned" electric meter, go take a look at it spinning around super fast when your clothes dryer is running and then look at it when it's not.  That look helped us realized we needed avoid the dryer as much as possible.  Since we moved back into our house the last week of March, I think we've used our dryer maybe 10 times and part of that was because we had tons of laundry we had to do and it was raining!

Other things we do:
- unplug things that we don't use all the time - toaster, cell chargers, coffee pots, hair dryer, etc.  WAIT, did you just say coffee pot, hair dryer and cell phone charger?  Yes, I did and yes, we use them every day, however we don't leave them plugged in when not using them.  It really wasn't that difficult to get in the habit.  Now, as soon as I pour the last cup of coffee, I unplug the coffee maker.  When finished drying my hair, I now automatically unplug the dryer.

- Use the quickest setting on the dishwasher and turn it off as soon as it hits the dry part of the cycle.  I certainly don't need to pay for 20 minutes of electricity just to have heat setting not even dry my dishes all the way.  I open it up and slide the racks out and let them air dry.

- We don't fill up both areas in our dishwasher with the soap.  We only use the main one and only fill it halfway up.  Good for us, our dishes, the environment, and our wallet!

- We keep our air set at 78.   I think we turned it on once in April, but we've had it on recently because it has gotten quite stuffy.  We keep the blinds closed where the sun shines in so the heat from the sun isn't working against our a/c.  And we use ceiling fans to help circulate the air better

- We eat real food.  I know you are wondering how this is friendly to the environment.  Well, we don't throw away tons of packaging anymore like we did when we were eating processed stuff.  We don't even throw away our vegetable scraps anymore.  They go into a freezer bag for when I make vegetable or chicken stock.

- We now grow our own food.  Again, cheap and we know what's going in our food.  We are therefore not buying food that has been shipped using fuel to get it to it's destination.  We buy local as much as we possibly can.

- We use cloth napkins and try to use plates more than once.  Obviously if either gets too dirty, then we get a new one!  But if I have a plate that I've just eaten a sandwich off of, then I'll brush the crumbs away and put it on the counter for the next meal.

- We buy used clothes.  Especially for our growing son!  We love consignment sales and stores.  I love paying $1-2 per clothes item for my son and love it even more when I'm packing them away again in 4 months because he's outgrown them!  We have recently discovered Goodwill and love the prices!  Although, my friend has told me that once I start going to yard sales, that I'll think Goodwill is too expensive.   :)  Still haven't managed to drag my butt out of bed early enough to hit them up yet!  I think this friendly to the environment because we are using second hand clothes that could have easily been thrown away and we are not buying new things to add to things that will eventually end up in the landfills.

- We have no TV.  Yet more electricity we are not using.  And we get to spend more quality time together and use our imagination and find things to do.  It's nice.  And we do not miss TV at all.

- Oh, I forgot dryer balls!  We no longer use fabric softener sheets.  Again, it wasn't to save the earth, although we do feel good that we are helping to reduce waste by not using 1-2 dryers sheets per load!  We are saving lots of money there...dryer sheets are expensive!

So the bottom line is everything we do is purely selfish!  We need to save money and by doing that, we are in turn saving our earth.  We are realizing with every choice we've made we are being "earthy" people.  We certainly didn't start out that way, but we kind of like where we've come!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My beautiful little urban garden....

This is just a post of pictures of my garden that I love!  It's tiny, it's perfect.  Next year will be even better!  I'll have my seeds well ahead of time and start them inside early and plant, plant, plant until I run out of room to plant things!  Hopefully I'll learn a thing or two this year about gardening that I can build on for next year.

My little raised bed using free bricks, the chain link fence as a trellis for the peas was free as well!

Below are peas growing in the same bucket as a sunflower.  The sunflower provides support as a trellis for the growing vines of the peas!

STRAWBERRIES!!!  However, this is an early picture taken a couple days ago.  Since then, my son has bitten the ends of two of them off and I'm guessing birds got another two?

My cucumbers!  This is supposed to be for a small garden, but it's apparently very happy and wants to take over the world...

3 buckets of strawberries!  They were given to us, so I'm hoping they produce a little more on them this year.

Eggplant!  Very exciting!  

 Red bell peppers

Go peas, go!

I think these are radishes...


I'm not quite sure what this is.  It's not happy though.  I'm thinking it may be red cabbage?


Again, I'm not sure what this is.  Cauliflower perhaps?

No problem growing mint!

 My dill looks sick!

Parsley isn't that happy either...

Poor, poor basil.  I know nothing about how to grow this stuff.

Sooo excited about my gutter system that is growing my lettuce!

Yellow squash

This is a corner of the yard with banana trees.  I've planted peas there to grow up the banana tree stalks.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Fat and calories welcome here....

ONLY IF they are REAL fat and calories.

We are trying to change our eating to all real foods as you know and although we slip on more than one occasion, we are doing fairly well.  One great thing that has come from our change of eating lifestyle is the weight loss.  OH YEAH!

I've lost 13 pounds since changing the way I eat.  And believe you me, I still eat!  Again, I am in no way a perfect eater (says the woman who just made cake pops last night with a box mix and canned frosting) but the bulk of our eating is now real food.  Many are amazed to learn that I've lost 13 pounds by simply changing my eating, but it's so very true.  And the best part - I now eat bacon...and real butter....and full fat dairy.  I love every bit of it!

The best book I've read so far is Nina Planck's book "Real Food."  It tells in plain language (except when it comes to the meat section - kind of lost me there) the benefits of eating real food, including fats.  I recommend it as an easy read to introducing you to real food again.  She has also come out with a new book about real baby food that I can't wait to read.  Although my son is no longer a baby *sniff*, I still am very interested in food in our society today.

So, we have switched to full fat dairy.  Raw milk is SO good.  We still have to get our raw milk from South Carolina though.  It's our turn to drive the 2 hours each way to get it tomorrow for our small group.  We drive once every 5 months, so it's not bad.  We have come to learn to enjoy milk as a food and not a beverage.  We use only full fat cheese and yogurt, although the yogurt is a bit tough to find and you have to be careful not to grab the "light" yogurts because they have even more fake stuff because there is no sugar added (not that I'm saying sugar is good).  I did find that Stonybrook has an organic cream-top yogurt.  So freaking good.  Of course, I should be making my own yogurt from my fresh, raw milk, but that's another learning project for another day.  Oh, and butter.  How could I forget wonderful butter?  Again, no margarine for us.  We want the real thing.  That does not mean that we eat a stick of butter a day, but if I want to butter my toast, I do it.  Again, I should be making my own from my raw milk, but I need 4 more hours per day please!

We eat real meat.

Meat is one of those things that we believe you should spend money on.  You  have GOT to buy pastured meat, period.  Obviously look for meat that has not been given growth hormones as well.  I've recently discovered that we have a farm near where I grew up that the beef is $3.50/pound and you don't even have to buy the whole cow!  Many places that sell this type of beef sell a whole cow, a half or a quarter.  Usually the smaller quantity you buy, the more per pound you pay.  But not this place!  It's $3.50/pound even if you buy a quarter of a cow!

Chickens also must be pastured and let alone to feed on their natural diet.  I grew up in chicken country with long, stinky chicken houses at every turn.  I knew it was how the farmers made money but it never sank in until recently that those chickens were the ones that were processed and sold in our local grocery stores for us to eat.  I wish I had pictures to post of these absolutely horrible living conditions for the chickens.  They see no sun, no grass, no bugs.  They are pumped full of feed and I'm sure full of hormones.  After a shorter than should be maturity cycle, they are then shipped to the processing plant to be made ready to put on grocery shelves.  After my realization that those same chickens that I knew we smashed into those chicken houses wing to wing with no room to move were the same chicken packages we bought to bring home and eat, it was definitely enough for me to rearrange my budget and add more to the grocery column.

Wild game.  Mainly venison.  Yes, deer.  We eat deer.  And we like it.  After my husband shot his first deer this past fall, he was amazed at how lean the animal was.  We then realized that although we live in a polluted world, that deer is probably the most natural meat we've consumed in a long time.  The deer had not been caged without access to fresh air, grass, water.  It had not been fed supplemental "fattening" food.  It was as it should be.  And if you are a meat eater, which I'm sure most of you are, you should start paying very, very close attention to the type of meat you are buying and consuming.  I'm not saying become a hunter and go shoot your own.  But perhaps make friends with a hunter!  Pack your freezer full of ground venison that is easily interchangeable for beef in all the recipes I've ever tried.

The one issue we are having is sugar.  I love sugar.  I know how bad white sugar is for you.  I'm really trying to cut it out.  I've even tried alternative sweeteners and so far nothing is working for me.   However, I am getting better.  I used to go by McDonald's for the giant sweet tea for $1 several times a week.  Now, I cannot drink the stuff.  It's like syrup to me.  I haven't had one in months.  And at Starbucks, I used to get a grande vanilla latte and add 2 splendaewww, fake stuff that we do not touch anymore).  Now if I get a grande vanilla latte, I ask for only 2 pumps of the syrup instead of 4.  I think I'm to the point I can now ask for only one!  This is a challenge area for us and we are constantly working at it.

So after my success at losing the weight by simply eating real food, I'm even more of a believer of READING THE LABELS!  I've become quite good at it and although we aren't perfect and still buy crappy stuff (hello...boxed cake mix and canned frosting) we have definitely changed our eating lifestyle and love it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Slacker has a new menu plan....

Yes, I am a slacker.  But I don't want to be!  I've been so busy in real life that I cannot seem to find time to even say hi!  It's a good busy though, so I'm not really complaining!

I'm not even sure if I've mentioned this earlier and I'm too lazy (and busy) right now to go look!  My husband and I are watching a friend's baby girl during the week while she is at work.  We've been watching her for just over a month now and so far, so good!  It's also given my husband and I a glimpse of what it would be like if we had two children.  We're so torn on whether or not our son will be an only child or not!

So between watching the baby during the day, spending time with our son and cooking dinner in the early evening, working on my two part-time jobs during the evening, I've not found the time to blog recently!  However, we did manage to come up with our next menu plan.  Seriously, will it ever get easier?  This is definitely a challenge that we want to overcome because it makes life SO much easier to have a menu for us!  I love being able to look at our menu each day and knowing what's for lunch and dinner and I love the fact that all of the groceries are in the house to make those meals!

Here is our menu plan for this week (yes, sorry I'm a day late in posting for Monday!)

  L - Grilled tuna salad sandwich
  D - BLAT wrap (again, one of our absolute favorites).  Just crispy bacon, lettuce, avocado and diced tomatoes wrapped up in a wheat or whole-grain tortilla!

  L - Avocado Bean Wrap - new recipe for us.  We omitted the chiles.  It was really good!  Our son wasn't too wild about the cabbage as I knew he wouldn't be.  He has a tough time chewing it up raw. So he just got the other fillings!
  D - Salmon Patties with Creamy Dill Sauce, jasmine rice and Baby Bok Choy  The Salmon patties were great the last time I made them.  Usually the recipes I've tried are too dry, but this wasn't.  The dill sauce is sooo yummy!  Bok choy - never ever made it or even ate it, so big experiment for us!  I will probably omit the cashews because I don't want to spend the extra money!

  L - Leftover salmon patties (maybe on a sandwich or in a wrap) and probably some roasted carrots and broccoli
  D - Chicken en papillote - from The Sonoma Diet cookbook.  SO good!

  L - Quesadillas - whatever we have goes in it.  Typically leftover chicken, black beans, artichokes, roasted red peppers, mushrooms, onions, etc.  We'll probably use leftovers from dinner on Wednesday
  D - Turkey burgers, probably roasted veggies again since I'm sure we'll still have broccoli, onions and carrots and we'll also have some baked sweet potato rounds.

  L - Pasta Salad - haven't decided which yet.  I want to try a new recipe.
  D - Roast with potatoes, carrots, onions and probably a side of cabbage

  L - leftover pasta salad - will be good since we're traveling to SC to pick up our raw milk for the month (again, isn't that ridiculous that the farms in SC can't sell in GA?  Crazy laws)
  D -  Carry out from our favorite Japanese place!

  L - leftover roast and veggies
  D - Mexican casserole - we do not put the tortilla chips on the bottom.  We did the first time and did not like the weird thick crust it made.

I'm still working on what I can do ahead of time.  For example, today's lunch of the Avocado bean wrap - I could have already had the carrot, cabbage and cheese shredded.  I could have already made the creamy dill sauce for tonight's meal, etc.  So I'm working a little at a time on it.  I think I'm going to have to devote an hour on Sunday evening to looking at the menu for the week and figuring out what I can do to prepare ahead.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The end is here....

My nursing relationship with my son is quickly coming to an end.

It is so very bitter-sweet.   I am going to miss this look.

He is now 22 months old and my joy. He has grown up so fast and although I was told by a million people that time would fly by, I really didn't believe them. I knew it would pass quickly. I had NO idea that I would literally blink and it would pass.

I knew back in December that my milk supply was getting lower and lower. When my husband and I took vacation without our little guy in January, I was convinced that when we returned that my son wouldn't want to nurse anymore, but he surprised me. He still nursed every morning and most evenings before bed.

When we moved from my mother's house back to our house at the end of March, I never thought that he would want to stop nursing then. I figured that such a big change would prompt him to ask for "nurse" more. So I was surprised when he only asked twice the first week we moved back home. He's nursed a few more times since and actually nursed this morning, but I don't think I have any milk anymore at all.

I cannot believe I breastfed my son for over 22 months. As I posted before, I thought people who nursed longer than a year were nuts. I'd simply never heard or seen it. When I got pregnant, I knew I'd breastfeed...for the first six months. That time came and went so quickly and I was so amazed that I had completely nourished my son, another human being, for half of a year. How huge is that? My body produced what my son needed to sustain and flourish. How miraculous and wonderful is that? Once that six month period passed, it never occurred to me to abruptly stop nursing him simply because I'd reached a time deadline. I was still his food source and doing well at it, if I don't say so myself! Again, like I've mentioned before, it is said that babies need breast milk or formula for the first year of life. Why in the world would I give my baby something processed and manufactured when I was producing the best food in the world for him? My milk was customized for him. Period. No other source of food I can ever give him will be made just for him.

Breastfeeding is such the norm for us in our family now that I'm surprised when others are shocked to learn my son nursed as long as he did. I had a salon appointment today to get my hair cut and colored (yay, I feel like a woman again) with a new stylist and was telling her that my hair was thinner than normal since I'd recently been nursing and had the gobs of hair fall out (which by the way, no one prepared me for!). She asked how old my baby was and when I told her he would be two in June, I thought she was going to fall over. To me, it's now become normal to know many women who nurse even beyond two years, so I think I'm on the earlier side of the weaning! She told me that she nursed her children for six weeks and then switched to formula. So I guess to her, making it to my original goal of six months would have been shocking too!

I know that the weaning means I am raising a confident son who is beginning to make choices already in life. He is assured that his father and I are there for him and love him so much that we can barely pay attention to the world around us because our focus is him! I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to experience this special relationship with my son for as long as I was able.

We have now moved forward to other special bonding times. One of my favorite times with him now is before bedtime, after we've read our many books, when we rock together. He lies in my lap with his head and back on my chest and stomach and wraps both arms up over his head and around my neck to stroke my hair. That has been his thing since he's had control over his hands! He always played with my hair while nursing. I'm so happy that it's continued on and it helps me know that he is content.

I know this isn't a very exciting blog post to many, but it's such a blessing I've been able to experience and although I am very sad that it has reached the end, I know it just means we are on the edge of experiencing ever more wonderful things with our son. I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010





I say we're smart!

I'm not sure when it started, but we have become quite frugal. I think it may have begun around the time I was newly pregnant with my son. A friend of ours was selling all of her baby things and we went to take a look. We got a pack and play, stroller system with car seat and base (disclaimer - be extra cautious when buying used car seats, only buy from people you know so you'll know if the car seat has been in an accident and always check for past recalls), swing, travel swing, johnny jump up, bathtub, papasan vibrating chair, a front carrier, and about 15 pieces of maternity clothing which included a really nice wool coat. Total price - $200. It was all in excellent condition! We definitely got a great deal. The travel system alone is nearly that! Thankfully I didn't feel the need to have all brand new things. Most of the stuff is so temporary that I hated to pay retail for it!

We are huge fans of Dave Ramsey . We've been on his plan since last April and love it. That's another blog though! He talks of bartering and asking for discounts, but the key is being able to walk away. In our society of instant gratification or nothing, that was a hurdle that was difficult to get over. However we've realized that there are very few things that we MUST have. Once we got that into our mindset, it's become much easier to save money and get better deals on things we want because we've learned patience.

Here are some other ways we've saved money by being frugal....and patient!

Moving boxes - free at retail store (actually it was behind the store and they were already flattened so it was so easy to get a ton of them in our car! I refuse to pay money for boxes that are just going to get beat up and taped and re-taped, so we go to the liquor store for the smaller boxes - they are the perfect size for packing small things that may be heavy! But we found some larger boxes that we needed behind a sports shoe store)

Newspaper for packing - recycle bin - don't worry, we will recycle back when we are finished!

Jeans (2 pair) - at Goodwill - $10 total (Retail price for one was $150!!! The other was $20 retail)

Sewing machine - $25 (not sure how much it was retail, but I'm guessing around $150) This is another way for me to be frugal. However, I have NO idea even how to sew a button on, so this will be an interesting challenge. But one I'm certain I can do. Especially for me....I mean, how hard can it be to sew a simple dress or skirt? We'll see :)

Belt - for $0.99 (for my husband -since he's slimmed down from his CrossFit workouts! Normally he'd pay at least $20 for a belt)

Basketball goal for our son - faded, but free (We had just looked at these at Wal-Mart the week before and then a friend told us she had one she was giving away! This retails at WalMart for $45!

Dining table - $85.00, solid wood. I'm very excited about this one! I found this on Craigslist and it was gorgeous. Very simple, but exactly what I wanted. AND it's solid wood. I wouldn't even know how much something like this would cost retail...maybe $150 or $200?. I need chairs to go with it, but I'm not in a hurry because I have some I can use for now. I also know I can get wood chairs at IKEA for $20 each, so if I can't find any, then I'll get those!

Pull behind cart for bike - FREE!!! I saw several of these on Amazon for $85! A man who works with my husband was going to throw it away! We'll take it, thank you very much! Now our son will enjoy going for bike rides with my husband. I, on the other hand, rode my bike right into a bush the last time I went a couple years ago, so I'll stay home!

Coffee grinder - $3 My husband was SO excited to find this at Goodwill. He's been wanting one for almost a year now. I have no idea how much one costs. But I'm sure it's more than $3!

Boots - $3 We've wanted these particular boots for our son for a year now. However, they aren't boots he'll wear often, so we hated to pay even $15 for them at Wal-mart, so we were happy to find them at Goodwill!

Pedestal sink - $20 Brand new off of Craigslist!

Filing cabinet - FREE. Our neighbors behind us in the alley were moving and they were putting things in the alley they didn't want. A little paint and it looked brand new!

Cloth diapers - we cloth diaper our son and we bought about 15 Fuzzi Bunz pocket diapers with inserts for $20! It was from someone we knew and they had potty trained their youngest and was just trying to unload the diapers! Retail is $17.95! Plus I can re-sell these if I choose and probably make the little money back that I spent on them!

There are other ways we are frugal - like the different ways we save on electricity, etc. That can be another post though as this is getting rather lengthy. Basically we are all about deals. We try not to pay retail for most things because there's usually a way to get them discounted or even FREE!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Menu planning

So I took a little time off from writing anything, huh? That's what moving will do to you!

We are all moved back in our house in Savannah and have settled in for the most part. We are waiting on delivery of our IKEA wardrobe system today and once that is put together and our bedroom is unpacked, I'll definitely feel better! The yard will take some work. There are tons of weeds and we've been pulling and raking them out for the past week!

We did start a few vegetables. My husband built me a raised bed along a portion of chain link fencing we have for our peas. We used bricks we already had and the trellis (chain link fence) was already there, so FREE! I also planted a cucumber plant that's supposedly good in small gardens and one red bell pepper plant. I have some other things planted but I think they will probably die in the heat because they are cooler weathered vegetables! Arugula, swiss chard, red cabbage.

We planted 4 tomato plants in self watering containers that my husband made. I'll post pictures on that later. Everything except for the soil and the tomato plants were FREE!

Now, on to making my life feel organized after the move - menu planning is the key! I absolutely despise not having a menu planned out. It makes things so difficult. It's such a pain to sit down and actually plan out the menu, but not really when you think about getting up in the morning, looking at your menu and know exactly what you are eating that day. Such a time saver and saves the hassle of deciding 30 minutes before meal time what you are having!

I'm not good at it yet. I want to be able to build my menu off of what is on sale at the grocery store and what is in season as far as vegetables and fruit. I'll get there! It helps save money too. When going to the grocery store, you have a definite list. You know exactly what to buy. Vegetables won't go bad before you decide to use them. Meat won't sit in your freezer for 6 months before you finally get around to cooking it. You won't have 20 boxes of pasta in your freezer because every time you go grocery shopping without a plan, you buy the pasta that's on sale, just to have on hand for a quick meal! :)

Here is my menu plan for next week. We used to only plan dinners but now that our son is here it's much easier to add lunches too!

Monday 4/12
Lunch - Tuna apple salad
Dinner - Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green veggie or two

Tuesday 4/13
L - Meatloaf sandwich (add lettuce and tomato for veggie servings)
D - Leftovers from dinner last night (yes, meatloaf 3 times in a row, but I don't mind!)
We'll probably slice up a fresh tomato to add to our veggies.

Wednesday 4/14
L - BLAT wrap - one of my FAVORITES! Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado and Tomato wrap! You take a wheat tortilla, chop up crispy bacon, add lettuce, tomato and avocado. The secret is a tiny amount of ranch dressing. SO good! We don't eat ranch dressing except for on this wrap! I'm sure there is a substitute out there I can whip up if I took the time to look!)
D - Roasted chicken, roasted carrots, potatoes and a side of green beans

Thursday 4/15
L - Artichoke chicken salad
D - Quesadillas - using leftover chicken from dinner the night before, artichokes leftover from lunch, black beans, roasted red peppers and mushrooms if you have them. Monterey Jack cheese and YUM!

Friday 4/16
L - Leftover quesadillas
D - Spaghetti with a side of green peas and salad

Saturday 4/17
L - Grape chicken salad (using leftover chicken if any left)
D - Oyster Roast at a friends house - whoohooo@

Sunday 4/18
L - Spaghetti leftovers, whip up a veggie side with whatever we have left (always keep frozen peas and beans on hand)
D - Baked Ziti, salad, something else green

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Oh beautiful seedlings!

Can you believe I already have multiple seedlings sprouting up? I'm sure most of you are laughing at me, but I really had no idea that 3 days after I planted that a few sprouts would have popped through! So exciting :)

It's been almost a week since I planted the seedlings and this is what I have!

About 1/3 of the seeds sprouting. I can't wait to put them in the ground or pots! I did buy a basil plant the other day because I needed some basil for a recipe and I could not bring myself to pay $3.50 for a few leaves when I could buy an entire plant for the same price. I cannot wait until my other herbs mature!

I've been reading as much as I can on small space gardening and we got our plot downtown to put more veggies. It's nice because the water is on a timer so we don't have to go every single day. There is a shared herb garden (which will be awesome until mine get mature), a shared salad garden and a children's pizza garden! I have absolutely no idea what we'll plant there, but it's in full sun, which is nice since the majority of our backyard is shaded by our huge pecan tree. We have such a limited space where the sun shines for about 6 hours/day, so we're going to try to be creative!

I'll share our successes and failures. I'm hoping for more successes!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

First seeds planted!

I told you I was excited! I've already planted a lot of my seeds.

I also got a few more varieties to plant now because about half from the Dinner Garden are fall veggies for this area. And because I wasn't prepared this year to plant vegetables, I actually had to go buy something to start my seeds in. But, I didn't get the ridiculously over-priced greenhouses for seed starting. I found some little pots that you can plant right with your seedlings and I got 50 for just under $2. Which is still too much, in my opinion. Next year I'll be prepared and will be saving my egg cartons!

Now, I have no idea if this will work. I know I'm extremely late for starting seeds indoors, but considering we will be moving in 2-3 weeks and it will be at least a week or two before we are somewhat settled with the unpacking, I figured by starting them indoors, it'll give us a good month or so head start than if we were just to sow the seeds directly in the ground. I guess we'll see soon enough, right? :)

My son got in on the action. Yes, we are inside. It was very chilly outside but I couldn't wait!

Here is a list of the seeds I started indoors.

Red Cabbage
Wando Peas
Onions (not sure what kind, but no matter because I love all onions!)
Swiss Chard
Arugula (afraid it may be too hot for it to grow by the time I get it in the ground, but I'll keep my fingers crossed!)
Daikon Radishes
Peas (not sure what kind, I'm assuming regular garden peas)

I'm super excited. I cannot WAIT to see the fresh sprouts of green pop through the soil. I can't wait to prepare our garden area in Savannah to transplant them. I'm excited to see our son pick his own fresh veggies to eat. I have a feeling we'll be giving a lot away as well because I'm optimistic and think I've already planted too much. :)

I know that this year is an experimental year for us, but I'm ok with that. We have to start somewhere, right? I'm kicking myself for not paying more attention when I was younger and we always had a huge garden. I wish now I would have had a greater appreciation at the time for it. But I guess I just took it for granted because I always had a huge garden growing up and just thought that's the way it was for everyone. It's not been until the past few years when my husband and I have become more aware of our nutrition (or lack of) and have been wanting to start our own garden. Well, now is the time. Why keep wishing for it? Just do it, right?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Free vegetable seeds

I'm going to plant a garden.

I'm very excited.

I'm especially excited now that I received these seeds in the mail today....for FREE!

I received them after writing to the Dinner Garden people about 2 weeks ago. I'd honestly forgotten all about it until I received my wonderful package today! The Dinner Garden is a fantastic organization that has an awesome mission:

The Dinner Garden provides seeds, gardening supplies, and gardening advice free of charge to all people in the United States of America. We assist those in need in establishing food security for their families. Our goal is for people to plant home, neighborhood, and container gardens so they can use the vegetables they grow for food and income.

They only began this program in 2009 and have already provided seeds for more than 40,000 families and 100 community gardens! How awesome is that?

This is what I received:

  • Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard
  • Arugula
  • Blue Curled Scotch Kale
  • Fenugreek
  • Mustard Greens
  • Onions
  • Snowball Cauliflower
  • Harris Early Model Parsnips
  • Wando Peas
  • Organic Bloomdale Spinach
  • Red Cabbage
  • Daikon Radish

How exciting are those names? I love them. I love the little packages and the little labels. I love that I got the variety that I did. I would have never been so courageous in a store to pick these out! I'm especially excited about the arugula. Giada always uses arugula and when I try to make her recipes I can never find good, fresh arugula. The fenugreek is a complete surprise. I know when I was concerned with my supply when I was exclusively nursing my son, fenugreek was an herb that came up again and again as a supplement to encourage breastmilk production. Not sure what I'll do with it now, but I'm going to grow it anyway!

So, where am I growing all of this? Those of you who have been to our house in Savannah know that we have a tiny yard. Our entire lot is only .13 of an acre. Yep, not even a quarter acre!

Well, I plan on trying a variety of things.

Things such as vertical gardening. This link has several gardens we'll try. The first picture is so beautiful that I must try it at least! What a great way to fill blank fence space! The gutter system is also a must for me. I'll probably do this to grow herbs.

We'll also do container gardening. I found this blog and tutorial on making your own self-watering container. I know we can get the 5-gallon buckets for free, so the cost should be pretty similar to the ones the guy builds in the video.

Another thing I'm super excited about is the possibility of having a plot in a community garden in downtown Savannah! I've heard about community gardens in other cities and decided to search for one in Savannah and found one! We've applied for a plot and hope to be lucky enough to be granted one!

Hopefully between my container gardening in our yard and our small plot (hopefully!) in the community garden, we'll be able to provide fresh, organic produce for our family to eat all summer and fall! We will also donate some of our excess to the local food bank as thanks to the Dinner Garden for supplying us with our starter set of seeds!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I'm sorry I've been absent. The travel we did in February seemed to put us behind and I feel like we're not close to being caught up! Trying to coordinate our move is a bit challenging since we've got to get into our house to do a little painting and other things before moving all of our furniture in.

So, I'll probably be mostly gone over the next couple weeks or so, but once we're settled back in Savannah, I'll get back into it!

Oh, and I've lost 10 pounds in the past 6 weeks! :) It's all from just cleaning up my eating a little. I wasn't super strict with my diet, so I can imagine what weight I'll shed once I get into CrossFit and eat even better once moving home!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


We will not be taking our TV back home with us in April.

We're trading it for a closet! It works out for all involved actually. It's one of those flat-screen tv's that I know nothing about. I just happened to win it in a raffle a couple years ago. I'd never won anything until that point and then I win a $1600 gift card to Best Buy for a big flat screen TV!!!

So when we moved to my mom's, of course the TV came with us and fits perfectly in their entertainment center in the living room. When we told them that we were moving out, they joked that we had to leave the TV. Haha, yeah right!

Well....then I saw a friend's closet system from IKEA. She lives in a small, older home like we are moving back to. I knew I wanted one, but didn't have $1000 in the budget to purchase one anytime soon. After I made my first trip to IKEA at the beginning of February, I realized that I indeed really, really wanted a closet system.

So, after some conversation, we negotiated a trade with my mom and step-dad! We are leaving our TV, video camera, and my Pottery Barn dishes. They are in turn giving us cash to purchase the closet system!

And the BEST part is that we got part of the closet system for a STEAL! We were back in Atlanta last weekend and I spent hours at IKEA getting ideas for when we move back home to maximize space in our small home. Well, in the closet area, I saw these huge sliding doors for the closet systems on super duper clearance. Seriously, they are the largest doors they have and are usually $800....we bought them for $249!!!! We totally didn't expect to buy part of our closet this trip, but at a savings of $550, we couldn't pass it up. It's also not my favorite color, but again, $550 savings would have probably convinced me to take anything that was on sale!

So, we'll have no TV when we move back home. Not a problem since I'd honestly already begun a blog about no TV for 30 days once we moved back home! I am so busy with my son during the day and my husband and I have a ton of projects we want to do when we move back. We have more than enough projects to keep us busy! We want to enjoy more time outdoors and more reading. We've both not been reading as much as we'd like.

Now, this doesn't mean that we disagree with TV's in the home. It's just something we're going to try for a while. Plus, I really, really, really want more storage space in our home! Seriously, if you saw the limited space we have, you'd understand too!

We're going to really work on non-TV entertainment in our home. We want to continue developing our relationships in our family and spend more time with our friends that we've missed since moving away from Savannah.

I'll miss HGTV and Food Network. I'll also miss my re-runs of the Golden Girls, Will & Grace and Sex and the City! But, I'll enjoy my new time to spend helping my family grow!