The haul video is below! What are some of YOUR favorite Trader Joe's products?? I'd love to hear about them!
It has been almost 3 (3!!!) years since I've done a Trader Joe's haul. The last haul I did was when my husband and I were vegetarians (HOLY COW, errrm... ...KALE), so I thought I was well overdue!! This week, I spent $135 at Trader Joe's, and some of the items I will be cooking and freezing, which will make them last into next week.
The haul video is below! What are some of YOUR favorite Trader Joe's products?? I'd love to hear about them!
So, how's the weather where you are?? Here, it's FREEZING. Actually, it's colder than that. The temperature outside is -5* F right now, but with the wind chill, feels like -30*. That's just too doggone cold. I feel like cuddling up with a big mug of hot soup and a blanket... which leads me to Habit #4, menu planning. I can't tell you how invaluable menu planning is, especially when you're busy and you care about your family's health. Sure, it's easy to get in the car and zip to one of those fast food restaurants to pick up something they refer to as food (which is a lie, by the way), but does that really SAVE time? No. Is it healthy for your family to eat? No.
So, let's get planning! First, print off the planner at the bottom of this page. It's free, my gift to you!
Let's start with breakfast. Make a list of breakfast dishes that you enjoy in the morning. We are creatures of habit, so cater this list to whatever it is you like to eat. Use this time to re-evaluate your diet and try a new recipe or two! Maybe try my Fauxtmeal, Almond Flour Muffins, Pancakes or Breakfast Cookie?? Once you have your 3-4 breakfast meal ideas, write them down on the planner. Breakfast is one of those meals that are incredibly easy to repeat without getting too bored, and you can even make items ahead of time and freeze them. I like making a big batch of muffins and keeping them in the freezer for those mornings that get really busy. Other quick options are smoothies, eggs, fruit, or toast with nut butter. You pick what you like to eat, and write it down on the planner.
Let's skip over lunch for a moment and go to dinner. Woah woah woah, why am I skipping lunch?! Because if you cook an extra portion or two of dinner, you can have those leftovers FOR lunch, ergo, no real lunch plan needed. Sweeeet. For dinner, I like to plan meals that use seasonal ingredients. In the winter I'm drawn to hearty stews, red meat, root vegetables, whereas in the summer I'm more drawn to salads, seafood, and raw food recipes. That's just a personal preference, though. You do what you feel most comfortable with and what your family will eat. Here are some ideas that are easy to make: Pasta Salad (add chicken if desired), Sweet Potato Pancakes, Meatloaf, or Chicken Fingers.
If you're wanting a different lunch plan (aka your hubby MUST HAVE HIS SANDWICH AND POTATO CHIPS OR ELSE!!), then make a lunch plan, too. Make sure that this plan is varied enough to not get mundane, but easy enough for you to stick to. Sandwiches, salads, or soup all work well for lunch, and they can often times be made ahead.
Ok so you've got your list of meals. Now, put them on your calendar. There will always be room for flexibility/moving things around as necessary. As long as you have a framework, this will at least keep you organized. At the bottom, make your grocery list. This will keep you on track at the store, and prevent you from getting things that aren't necessary.
There we have it. Pick your meals, plop them on the calendar, and get thyself to the grocery.
Nothing stresses me out more than all work and no play. Let's be real for a second- I have a very difficult time doing NOTHING. It's hard for my brain to turn off and not think about something that I could be doing. When you're running 2 businesses and a blog (so, 3 businesses...), plus a house, not to mention make most everything you eat, clean with, and apply to your body from scratch, life can get a tad bit stressful. Wait, this blog is called Annie's SIMPLE Life, right? Sometimes, you just need to take a break. Hello Habit #3.
I have heard about a university study in which participants did a relaxation technique of slow breathing and visualization of a peaceful place for 2-3 minutes, and it had the same effect of multiple 15+ minute guided relaxation sessions.
It's so important to take a break. It boost your immune system, improves your mood, and refocuses your mind. Now, it doesn't have to be long, but it does have to be intentional. Spend a few minutes each day reading a good book, taking a nap, meditating, taking a bath with Epsom Salts, taking a walk outside, daydreaming, playing music, doing a crossword, enjoying a cup of tea (Habit 2...) or flipping through a magazine. Just be sure to step away from the screen, silence your phone, turn off the tv.... you know the drill. If you need assistance in taking your mind on a break, try calm.com. This website offers beautiful photos, soothing music, and the option to do a guided meditation for as many minutes as you can spare. This doesn't allow you to step away from the screen as I previously advised, but it's better than nothing! Give yourself a little break each day- you deserve it!
Stay tuned for Habit #4!
The next habit in my 15 habits for the new year is drinking (much) more water. The body is 60+% water, and it's so important to replenish your system with proper fluids. When you are dehydrated, you are more prone to fatigue, headaches, impaired digestion, muscle soreness, and a whole host of other symptoms. Drinking more fluids that are supportive to real hydration is something that isn't a high priority for most people, but it should be! And don't even think about reaching for a soft drink. I haven't had a 'pop', 'soda', or 'Coke' since before 2007, and I'm not about to start now. Dr. Mercola wrote a pretty telling article on what happens to your body after you drink pop. Click here to read the entire article, but here is a quick excerpt to give you an idea about how bad it really is...
Dr. Mercola says:
Pretty scary, huh? I'll stick to my water, thanks.
Never fear, there are some fantastic ways to dress up your water to make it a little less mundane. Here are a few of my favorite ideas:
Cold water infused with berries (affiliate link)
Cold water with lime juice (from a real lime...)
Cold water with cut up mint and cucumber slices (hello spa water)
Carbonated water with a squirt of orange juice (yep, from a real orange)
Hot water with lemon juice (...again, from a real lemon)
Herbal Tea - this is my absolute favorite in the entire world (affiliate link)
Or how about some mineral rich bone broth?? Yeah, it's not water, but oh so good for you.
Stay tuned for Habit #3!
Happy New Year! 2013 was a BEAST, full of ups and downs, and just overall mentally and physically exhausting. 2014 feels like will have a different vibe. A better vibe.
Instead of doing 'New Years Resolutions' this year (which almost always fail by February), I have decided to instead develop 15 habits, incorporating them into my life one at a time. No failure, no falling off the wagon. Just making changes to my life, one habit at a time.
Habit 1 - Daily EFT
What is EFT? Basically, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) it's a neuroscience technique of tapping on various meridian points of the body with your fingertips. Sort of like acupuncture, without the needles. This technique has been proven to promote physical and emotional healing from phobias, PTSD, pain, disease, trauma, etc.
This video is a down-to-earth intro of what EFT is (not mine):
This is a great intro video for how to do EFT (the tapping points, what to focus on).
My goal is to do EFT once a day. Are you going to join me? Stay tuned for Habit 2!
Do you follow a gluten-free or grain-free paleo lifestyle and miss having oatmeal for breakfast? Or are you looking for a new breakfast idea to get out of the morning blahs? Give this puppy a try- it's super easy, full of protein, and will keep you going until lunch time!
1/2 mashed banana
2 T nut meal, seed meal, or ground flax seeds
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of salt
Coconut oil or butter for the skillet
Mix and mash all of the ingredients together in a bowl
Melt coconut oil or butter in a skillet over medium heat
Pour mixture into skillet, and cook over medium until fully cooked - 5 to 8 minutes
Pour into a bowl and top with fruit of choice
Video below shows how it's done! Om nom nom.
It's winter! In the mid-west, this is the time of year that juicy pomegranates start appearing at the grocery store. If you have never eaten pomegranate seeds before, you are really missing out my friend! I had tried numerous ways of opening a pom in the past, but this is by far the best way to do it. Fast, easy, and MESS FREE with NO bowl of water needed! See how I do it int he video below!
My hubby and I moved in to our house this summer, and we have been slowly making it our own. Though, doing so takes a lot of time. We're not fully unpacked by any means, nor do I remember where the unpacked items are half the time, but we're getting there.
One thing that is different about our new house is the closet situation. This is the first time that both of our closets have been in one room, so making the most of the space that we have is a must. I was looking on Pinterest and YouTube the other day trying to get ideas as to how we could make the most of our closet space. I saw this video pinned on Pinterest. It was my inspiration.
The original closets had beautiful 6 panel doors. I love these doors- they're just so doggone pretty! The function, however, was less to be desired. When you have sliding doors like this, the center of the closet becomes very difficult to reach. And, when you're on one side of the closet and want to go to the other side of the closet, you have to close one door to open the other. It just makes for an inconvenient process. My side of the closet sits behind the bedroom door, so I had to close the door before I could access the right side of the closet. Every time I did this, without fail, my hubby would want to come in the bedroom when the door was shut, and then I'd get squashed into the closet to let him in. Kind of like the same thing that happens when you go into the bathroom and have toddlers... or cats.
So what I decided to do was take the doors off, and put up curtains instead!! Notice in the picture that you can only access one half of the closet at a time with the wood doors on the left side, but with the curtains on the right side, you can access the entire space. Oh, and don't judge by the disorganization of the items in the closet on the right... that's all going to be remedied in part 2 of this blog series.
And here is the final product! Cute, huh? If you're interested in purchasing the curtains or tension rods, <--- those are the links to the ones I purchased. Please note, I am an Amazon Affiliate, and those are referral links. If you want to support me and this bloggie, please click through these links before you do your Amazon shopping (Christmas time, don'tchaknow). Thank you!!
Want to see how I did all this? Check out my video below. Xoxo!
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
Well, here goes. Something I can change is on the horizon, and it only took me 7 years to finally have enough courage to pursue it. I am finishing the current chapter of my book, and about to turn the page. Turn the page to the unknown. The exciting. The somewhat scary. The next adventure.
At the end of December, 2013, I am leaving the safety of my office job, and pursuing full on my entrepreneurial calling.
You see, I received my BM in Music Education and Music Performance in the mid-2000's, and after getting married and working in settings that I didn't mesh with, I gave up on music as a career, thinking that it was a lost cause, and irresponsible of me to pursue something that wasn't 'stable'. So, I rolled up my sleeves and tried to keep a foot in the music door, even though moving out of the town that knew me for my music was going to make that difficult. I took jobs at various area colleges, and they served me well for the time that I needed them. We saved up money, I met with different career mentors that told me to follow my passion (to which I shrugged off because that didn't seem practical), and went on with life.
Then, in the spring of 2012, I got the itch. It was an itch that I couldn't scratch in my current situation. I sat down with my hubby, we looked at our finances, we looked at our house, and we looked at where our LIFE was together. It was time to take a step forward.
The first step toward this next adventure was the (HUGE) decision to move back "into town". We put our house up on the market in October of 2012, and it took until May of 2013 to get it sold. 7 whole months of packing up our belongings, keeping the house in 'showing' condition, rearranging our life to allow for potential buyers to walk through, and apple spice scented BBW wallflowers (yuck). Then, all of a sudden, a buyer liked the house and we accepted their offer. After 7 long months, it was a mad dash to try to find a house that fit "us" before we closed on our previous house with the buyers. We looked at a TON of houses, knowing that we wanted to downsize (relatively speaking), be in an area with a good school system and strong music program, and be close to both of our families. I had other items on my "it would be nice if..." list, like a skylight or two, a finished basement, an upgraded kitchen, etc, but those weren't necessities. Lo and behold, a house came on the market that was perfect for us that fit our most important qualifications (thank you St. Joseph!) and we put an offer down immediately. The offer was accepted, and after a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (and paperwork), the house was ours! Oh, did I mention that I got my skylight?? <3
And then it became REAL. Step one toward my goal was accomplished. No turning back now, it's full speed ahead. Step two- putting my notice in to my 9-5 office job. I do this with mixed emotions because this job was right for where I was in my life during the time that I worked there. But, like everything, things come to an end and all we can do is look back and appreciate what was, and look forward to what is to come.
Since I am making this life change, I decided to make a change on the bloggie front, too. I am not going to shut down my old blog (http://www.anniessimplelife.blogspot.com), but I felt that it was appropriate to close the book on that one, and start anew. Fresh. Revitalized. Blank slate.
So this is me. Musician. Teacher. Artist. Blogger. Cook. Nature lover. Hippie. Wife. Sister. Daughter.
Thank you for joining me on this journey. Here we go.