Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Our Lives Are Totally Changing…

The past week was a great one for us……

We found out that Chris got the job he applied for and we will be moving to Connecticut!

This is long! :) And a semi-repeat from Facebook. 

Background: I am originally from CT – but after going to college in Ohio, then getting married and moving to WV for 9 months while Chris was in grad school, then to PA for 3 years, I haven’t lived full-time in Connecticut since I was 17. I have missed it SO much. Having lived in the Midwest, the upper South, and another state in the Northeast, I can attest to the fact that New England just has an indescribable feel to it! I love the small suburban towns, the rich history, and did I mention THE OCEAN?! Of course, my family lives there, too – and I am *SO* ready to be done with the tearful goodbyes each time we visit!

My DH has been working for his BIL for the last 3 years (and through college and in high school) as the manager of his landscaping company. Unfortunately, Chris had reached the “top” of the company. My BIL was paying him what he could, but we have been living extremely frugally and we have basically no wiggle room in the budget. As we think about our future and the possibility of more kids down the line (adopted or not), we were both concerned. Plus, I have to have private health insurance (which is horrible, with huge deductibles), and my DH is not insured at all. We are all about trusting God but there comes a point when you just need a Plan B! We both came to that decision simultaneously one day, and I made a phone-call to my dad, who has worked his way to fairly high up in the company he works for.  Chris interviewed last week for an opening and was hired on Friday for the job! It’s a great entry-level position with tons of room for growth and promotions. 

We both love the culture of Connecticut and think it’s a great place to raise kids (for privacy I will never mention what part we will live in – but it’s beautiful!). There are about a million reasons I could list why I’m so excited to start our lives there. I’m excited to have a sense of finality instead of always talking about “Should we move there? Should we stay here?”  Connecticut, God willing, is where we will raise our kids and see our grandkids grow up. I could just die with happiness!

Of course, we are sad to leave our family and friends here. My best friend lives here, as does all of Chris’s family. We have had a lot of really, really sad moments in the past week and a half as we told all of them personally what was happening. It’s not fun. We wish that our families could live near each other, but that will never be a reality for our marriage. I wish Lindsay could always live 10 minutes from my house.  Thankfully, though, we will be back to visit every other month, just like we’ve done now (except in reverse).

God has done soooo many cool things for us in this whole process – big things like a job opening up the day after we called to ask my Dad, and small things like my pediatrician randomly leaving the practice (Luke will just go to my old pediatricians office now!). It is absolutely terrifying and thrilling all at once! I can’t wait to have a brand-new house to decorate! :)

Our big focus now is get our house ready to sell. We bought a big-time fixer-upper 2 years ago that still needs quite a few repairs (we didn’t expect to leave PA for years, if at all  – we just refinanced our mortgage in January!). Chris will be working for about 2 more weeks, then he will be taking off about 3 weeks to concentrate solely on the house before we move to CT mid-August. (Our parents are letting us stay with them until our house sells and we can find another one. )

That means 3 weeks of no pay, which scares the heck out of me! We also have to sell our house in a recession. You know, while living out of state.

But every time I go into freak-out mode, I know that God’s got everything under control. If you are a praying person, would you pray for us? I would really appreciate it!

And who out there lives in New England?  I know I “met” some of you during the Ultimate Blog Party but I can’t remember now!  If you live in NE let me know! Maybe we can meet someday! :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Miscellany Monday {1}

My blog friend Carissa has been hosting this party for weeks now, and I am finally getting my act together in time to join in! 

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

1.  I still have phantom baby kicks.  In the exact same place I first started feeling Luke.  I know they’re phantom because I’ve had them off and on for the past 6 months, and I’ve taken two ridiculously expensive ClearBlue tests because nothing but a clear  “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant” will do when you have an extremely high-maintenance 6 month old and your doctor has expressly ordered you not to get pregnant before a year since it could be very dangerous for your incision.  It freaked me out in the beginning, but now it’s normal life.  Does this happen to anyone else???!!

2.  I was eating salad the other day and I thought about how vinegar is salty without being salty and then I thought about Psalty the big blue singing book thing from the 80s (this is how my brain works all the time).  Remember him?  We would totally listen to all of the tapes as kids.  I even had a Psalty Bible.  I was preeeeetty awesome.  “I caaaast all my caaaares upon Youuuuuu……” :)

3.  I am ridiculously excited that summer is here.  I feel like I kinda got gypped out of my summer last year since I worked til June 10th, was hot and uncomfortable, then had a pre-birth overnight hospital scare (long story!), then had Luke 12 days early, then spent the rest of the summer trying to recover from my c-section, suffer through failed breastfeeding and pumping, and take care of a baby who had days and nights all mixed up.  But you already knew all of that. :)  This summer, I say BRING IT ON! :)

4.  Something very exciting happened in our lives this past week and I can’t wait to share it with all of you soon! (Although my FB friends will find out sooner…. :)

Happy Monday!  It’s my grocery shopping and CVS day – off to get those deals! :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Yard Sale Shopping {CT edition}

I mentioned that I went to Connecticut last weekend to visit my family. I have yard-saled with my mom for years; it’s one of our favorite things to do together!

I thought I’d show you some of my fun finds. :)

This one girl was like me in another body. I loved everything she had – it was a toile extravaganza! If she weren’t several inches taller than me, I would have bought a lot more of her clothes – most from Target and totally cute. It was one of the most fun times I’ve ever had a sale – if I had more money I would have bought about $50 more worth of her stuff!

My mom and Chris said they were surprised I liked her stuff – my mom said she thought my style was more modern than country. I told my mom the curtains aren’t country, they’re traditional, which is definitely what my style is. These are my first toile purchases and I am loving them! The Nester would be so proud. ;)

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4 Waverly curtain panels - $1 each
Coral and cream valence - $1
Crocs in my size - $1 (my first real pair and I don’t care how ugly they because ohmyword they are heavenly!)
Toile bag – she threw it in for free since I bought some more items that I can’t show you b/c they are part of Lindsay’s present. :)

The next girl also had some fun items – and for super cheap!

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Large mirror with ledge on the bottom - $1
Glass pumpkin jar – $.50 (I have been looking for one of these to put fall candy in! My mom and I argued about who would get it in the driveway but I saw it first. ;)
2 Veggie Tales dvds, Elmo potty dvd, Baby Einstein Lullabies cd, instrumental Celtic music cd, and Vienna Boys Choir Christmas cd - $3 total

A few practical items from the next two sales (combined):

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Seafoam bathmat for my beachy bathroom - $1
”Tupperware” container (I have two like this already and they’re great) – $.10
Large canning pot (so I can start making more than jam!) - $2

Last but not least, some free items!

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Cool topper thing – I haven’t decided if I should keep it gold or paint it white
Cloth bag – actually from my mom :)
Magazine holder – you can’t ever have too much organization!

It was SO much fun – we went with my aunt, too, and we laughed a LOT. :)

Linked to:

Today’s Thrifty Treasures @ Southern Hospitality
Thrifty Thursday @ Tales from Bloggeritaville
Frugalicious Friday @ Finding Fabulous

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Asian Grilled Salmon

Last week when I posted about the food we eat, I promised a recipe for Asian Grilled Salmon.  Chris and I happen to love fish and salmon.  However, if you hate salmon, hear me out – because this recipe really masks the fishy flavor quite a bit – you might be able to eat it! :)

This recipe is so easy, super delicious, and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard by now that salmon is amazingly good for you.  Wild-caught is always preferable to farmed fish. 

Credit for this kinda goes to my friend Erin, who made a stir-fry for me once with these ingredients.  I just made it into a marinade!  Thanks Erin. :)

Asian Grilled Salmon
(again, it’s approximate – go with the flow!)

4-6 pieces of salmon
soy sauce (I like low-sodium)
a few spoonfuls of minced garlic 
a few shakes of ground ginger
a few squeezes of lime juice

Put salmon in the bottom of a Ziploc bag and pour all ingredients over the fish.  Seal bag and mix all ingredients together from the outside.  Allow to marinate for half an hour or longer in the refrigerator.  Place on the grill and pour remaining juices from the bag over the fish.  (We have a George Foreman; this might not work as well on a real grill).  Cook until fish flakes easily with a fork. 

I served the salmon with rice (for Chris) and a big salad.  The only thing I would do differently is make a little extra sauce on the side (that didn’t touch the raw fish) to add over the rice (grilling inevitably dries things out a little).  It was still delicious, though.  I forgot to take a picture of it that night, but here it is in chunks in my salad the next day for lunch:


It turns brown from the soy sauce and seriously, it’s so good! Even Luke loved it! :)

Linked to these foodie parties:
Tasty Tuesday @ Beauty and Bedlam
Tuesdays at the Table @ All the Small Stuff
Tempt my Tummy Tuesday @ Blessed With Grace

For more clean recipes, click here


Three things I want to add:

First, I didn’t get a chance to post about In Defense of Food because some unexpected things came up last week and then we were in CT this weekend.  Sorry! I really try to be a blogger of my word. It will come eventually, I promise!

Second, if you’re wondering what happened to my two new clean recipes per month idea, it’s been more challenging since I’ve been Somersizing.  I only eat about 5 processed items now (things like Splenda, Cheerios, and the occasional genoa salami, pepperoni, or turkey bacon).  Since I spend a lot more time preparing my own food, I haven’t been thinking so much about other ways to convert my regular recipes into clean ones.  I’ve been reading a lot, though, and learning so much!

Third, for those of you who asked below, YES I coupon!  Like a crazy woman. :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Food I Buy – With Pictures

About two weeks ago I wrote about how expensive food is when you’re trying to eat “clean”, and some of you commented in agreement.  My friend Kathy asked if I’d be willing to share what I buy, so I took pictures throughout the week to show you where the grocery money goes! 

My budget for each week is $120 – that includes all food, all personal care, all household, and all baby items.  I have started using cash (so that when it’s gone, it’s gone), but the week before last we desperately needed diapers so I used $20 extra to buy them in bulk when Target had a sale.

{I eat a lot of high-protein, high-veggie meals on Somersizing, otherwise our grocery bills wouldn’t so high. It’s a lot cheaper to eat beans and tortillas!  lol }

Here’s how I spent $100:

At Weis, my total was $21.32 after coupons and sales:


I only bought the Smart Taste pasta because it was free after coupons (it has preservatives in it and I will use it to make pasta salads this summer for picnics and stuff).  Some of the expensive items were the cheese, organic milk, and 100% natural deli turkey meat. I was able to get the cream cheese, the mayo (also not clean), and all of the pastas for free after coupons.

Produce is so expensive at Weis, so I buy whatever is on sale.  That means we eat different fruits and veggies every week – this week I only bought Romaine lettuce and some Granny Smith apples there.

We eat a lot of eggs (I eat them a lot in the morning, and the three of us eat hard-boiled eggs as snacks).  Eggs are totally a wonder-food that are often overlooked!

At Aldi’s, I spent $41.24:


There are plenty of things that aren’t clean in this photo – remember we’re on the 5-year plan! :)  My husband can easily eat around 3,00-3,500 calories a day in the summer since his job is so labor-intensive, so he goes through a lot of snacks – more than I can physically make for him.  (And those of you who know Chris are laughing since he’s only about 150 pounds soaking wet!)  So the chips and pretzels and store-bought bread are for him, as are the marshmallows for homemade Rice Krispie treats.  You will also notice pepperoni and turkey bacon (not clean because of preservatives). 

However, I was also able to get wild-caught salmon, spinach, mozzarella, and a bunch of fresh produce, in addition to some other pantry staples. 

We do not eat a lot of organic foods at this point other than organic milk for me, organic yogurt for Luke, and organic produce when it’s on sale (like this week; I bought organic spinach for $2.99).  It’s definitely something I’d like to improve on but the the cost is astronomical! 

At Rite Aid and CVS I only spent $1.90 after coupons, sales, and Extra Bucks (*there are two packs of wipes missing from this photo*):


Extra items:

- Whole milk gallon (for DH) and two newspapers: $6.49
- 2 jars of extra-virgin, unrefined, cold-pressed organic coconut oil from Amazon, thanks to a tip from Money Saving Mom: $11.83 (I had free shipping)
- Strawberries from the field: $14 for about 12 pounds
- Lids/pectin for the freezer jam: $4.97
    (Not shown is a container of pureed frozen berries, plus 3 baby food jars of jam and a huge Tupperware of fresh berries that was devoured before the picture. :) Btw, if you want a great lower-sugar jam, use the Ball method – it’s fantastic and SO easy – no boiling! I am so glad Kimba outlined it on her site – I had always used Sure-Jell in the past.)

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My total for the week: $101.75.  Close enough! :)

If you’re wondering what we eat…

Breakfasts: Cereal for DH and eggs or cereal for me

Lunches: Sandwiches for DH and leftovers or salads for me

Dinners last week:
Monday: Taco Salad
Tuesday: Asian Grilled Salmon (amazing recipe I will post next Tuesday); spinach/romaine salad with onions, peppers, mozzarella, and tomatoes; rice for Chris
Wednesday: Grilled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches w/Bacon and Onion; cukes on the side (no bread or BBQ for me)
Thursday: Leftovers (I was out picking strawberries)
Friday: In NYC, dinner at a friend’s house
Saturday: More leftovers, lots of jam over vanilla ice cream because that’s when I made it :), desserts at a friend’s house

(It was an odd week for us but it gives you a glimpse.)


Hope this post is helpful to some of you!  We have a long way to go but we’re making progress!  It is frustrating sometimes to know how much cheaper our grocery budget would be if we bought a lot more processed foods with coupons, but I know this is so much better for us.  I do plan on posting more about In Defense of Food later this week so stay tuned! :)


P.S. I appreciate the fact that nobody stopped following me this time when I posted something close to my heart!  haha I have had a few e-mails and calls already regarding the post below and I am so thankful that God was able to use my “tough times” to encourage others!  Feel free to e-mail at any time! :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

When Motherhood Isn’t What You Dream It Will Be

All my life, I have wanted to be a mom.

But whenever I thought about having kids of my own, the images were of camping trips, fireworks on the fourth of July, making Christmas cookies, or being there when they got their first tooth. I have never been a “baby person” like some girls. I like babies (especially now that I have one of my own), but I was never crazy about the baby stage.

Maybe that’s partially why this year has been so emotionally and physically draining for me.

Last week a very popular mom blogger (she’s very funny but she uses a lot of bad language so I’m not linking to her here) wrote an entire post about how motherhood was not at all what she expected. She got a lot of comments from people who thought that was “so sad” and couldn’t imagine feeling that way. I commented to thank her for her honesty and writing. Because a lot of us are “so sad” that life with our babies hasn’t been what we thought it would.

I read a LOT during my pregnancy. I know a lot of people with kids, and I’ve babysat my fair share of babies. I knew that it would be tiring to have a newborn, that my sleep would be disrupted for a while, and that it would be a huge learning curve to become another person’s everything.

I was not prepared for him to still have sleep problems over a year later (after we’ve done “sleep training” several times). I was not prepared for a baby who – for months – refused to be put in a sling or a wrap but instead screamed unless he was held facing outward so he could see everything. I was not prepared for the two hours every day in the afternoon of crying and fussiness that didn’t stop for the first few months of his life.

I was unprepared for a c-section, after a doctor who told me I’d have a baby easily by sundown since I’d been progressing for weeks. I was unprepared for not being able to hold my sweet boy until an hour and a half after surgery. I was unprepared for nursing to be a total failure, and to hear from my Lactation Consultants that pumping was really a better option for me. I was unprepared for the extreme pain of pumping during engorgement, and the extreme tiredness that occurred when I would pump for 30-40 minutes (still never relieving the pressure fully), store and clean the supplies, feed my baby, then try to catch 1/2 hour of sleep before doing it all again. I was unprepared for how little help I got when every “professional” and expert I called – except for one blessed woman – couldn’t tell me how to stop pumping but instead tried to convince a sobbing girl on the phone to just suck it up and try breastfeeding again. I was unprepared for the subtle judgment that came from a few people when they found out I was a formula-feeding mom.

I was unprepared to have days when I was SO tired that I actually thought “If we both died and went to heaven then all of this would just go away.” (I never wanted to hurt him or myself, just for the pain and tiredness to stop.)

I was unprepared for so many things that I felt like I was blindsided.

There were many days when I thought, “What have we done? Why did we start a family? I am not strong enough to cope with this.” It makes me cry just to think of all of these memories and all of the heartache that occurred over this past year of my life.

Last night in bed I couldn’t sleep and all of the ‘bad’ memories just came flooding back and I just cried and cried and cried. Basically for the golden motherhood that I feel like I’ve never experienced. I have friends that had wonderful deliveries, and amazing breastfeeding experiences. I know people with content, placid babies, who are a total joy and easy to please. I read about babies who sleep 11-14 hours a night, with great naps during the day.

That is not my story with Luke.

I know that persevering through hard times builds character. I thought I was a strong person before motherhood – ha! I knew nothing. I have cried more times this past year than the 10 years previously. If it weren’t for a wonderful husband and the knowledge that I was being prayed for, I’m not sure what would have happened.

I choose to believe that God brought my through this past year of my life so that I would have the compassion and understanding to empathize with other mothers like me. Mothers who have more breakdown moments than golden ones. Whose beautiful dreams of what mothering will be came crashing down in the face of actual motherhood reality. There is so much pressure to feel that motherhood should be perfect, and if your experience doesn’t fit the bill than something’s wrong with you. I rarely hear any bad comments about mothering – so either 90% of the people I know have perfect kids or a lot of people are lying to fit in.

I can honestly say now that besides him getting up at 4:30 am for the last 10 exhausting days (I know that this will eventually pass), my son is a joy to be with. We play together, he mimics us, he giggles when we do silly things and he loves it when we chase him so he can run and hide. I love him so much it hurts (in a good way). Besides the early wake-ups, I feel like I have come through the other side, so to speak. It has taken a long time for the happy to outweigh the sad and tired.

And so I just want you to know that if you’re in that sad/tired/ overwhelmed/ stressed out place right now, please know you can talk to me. I might be a virtual stranger, but I am a real person who believes in the real power of prayer and I am willing to pray for you. My e-mail address is blessedlifeblog{at}gmail{dot}com and please know that if you need to vent, I am here. If you don’t want to explain anything, you can just write “pray” and write your first name. I am fully convinced that motherhood is impossible without support. I know what you’re going through, and you are not alone.

Maybe you can’t relate to anything I just typed. I am happy for you. Jealous, yes, but happy for you. But if you can relate – please know that you have a someone who cares, and it will get better.

You can e-mail any time.

Since some of you have asked...comments are intentionally closed.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Beach-Inspired Summer Mantel

When you grow up in New England, you spend a lot of time at the beach. I was very lucky to grow up in Coastal Connecticut, and then every summer we took vacations to Mount Desert Island, Maine (home of Acadia National Park – if you’ve ever considered vacationing in Maine, this island can’t be beat!).

Through the years, I’ve collected a lot of sea glass, shells, sea-smoothed rocks, and even driftwood. My bathroom has a year-round “beachy” feel to it; I love being reminded of home every time I’m in there.

I alluded to this on Sunday, but I wanted to show you guys my summertime mantel:


Every natural item (except for the moss) was collected personally by me. Since most of these items came from God Himself :), it really cost me hardly anything when all totaled up.


I collect these glass jars with corks; they’re so easy to find at yard sales and flea markets. Mine have cost between $.25-$1 a piece. Usually these four are upstairs in my bathroom with the rest of my collection, but I decided to bring them downstairs for the summer. Some I leave empty, some I like to fill with shells of one color, and some I like to fill with various bigger items that have caught my eye:



I found this great old jar at a yard sale last year for $3.75. Normally I would never pay that much, but I thought it was too cool to pass up:


Here’s the other side of the mantel:


The two blue-green jars were yard sale finds ($.10 and $.25):


For the jute wrapped-jar, I just took a thrift-store glass that Lindsay found for me (for $.45 on sale!) and wrapped some twine around it. These are all over Ballard Designs’ spring and summer catalogs.

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I saw distressed white candlesticks in the Spring Pottery Barn catalog, and I knew I could easily replicate it. I took my original candlestick (you can see it in this post), gave it a very rough coat of Heirloom White spray paint (that I did on a very windy cold day so it looks totally horrible) and sanded it down:

059 I am in love!

You’ve already seen my thrift-store “greenhouse” that I filled with moss:


And underneath all of the items I just chucked my last scrap of burlap left over from all of these projects.

But the “piece de resistance” is my lovely piece of driftwood, straight from the shores of Maine:


Isn’t it so beautiful? I love how rugged and curvy it is at the same time.


(I am all about being a responsible beach-goer; this wood was away from the beach, closer to the pavement, and it’s the only piece I took.)

So, there you have it! My serene, beachy mantel. :) I shopped the house for everything, but even if I had purchased all of these items, I still would have come in for under $10. That’s the way I like it! :)

Linked to:

Frugalicious Friday @ Finding Fabulous
Weekend Showcase @ Tatertots and Jello
Sunday Showcase @ Under the Table and Dreaming
Mantel Party @ The Stories of A 2 Z

2010 Resolutions: Update

In the beginning of January I shared my goals for the year and said I’d revisit them in June – here they are, with my progress on each one!


1. Lose 7 pounds by March 1st and 7 more (reaching my goal weight) by June 1st.  - I have lost 11 pounds since January; almost there! (Although now I can’t decide if I want to lose an additional 5; I’ll decide when I lose the last three.  haha)

2. Be more engaged in prayer. – This is a huge work in progress for me but I have been consciously redirecting my thoughts when I find them wandering. 

3. Continue working out at least 4 days a week. – I fell off the bandwagon with this a few months ago, and I have begun working out three times a week again since last week.  So far so good.  lol


1. $300/month on groceries (this includes formula and baby food) and $200/month on household (this includes diapers, wipes, and other baby needs), with the goal of reducing these numbers drastically by the end of the year. – Since I started Somersizing and trying to eat cleaner, our grocery expenses have drastically increased.  I’ve been couponing and CVS-ing like crazy though, so I’ve managed to bring our household/grocery account down to $480 a month as opposed to $500.  It’s not a ton, but it’s something!

2. Cut household waste and find even more ways to save money. – We are super diligent about turning off lights, all of our lights (except in the dining room) are energy efficient, we try not to ever waste food, and I use cold water for laundry when I can.  Plus, we got a dishwasher, which we paid for with our tax return.  Our utility bills have been getting lower! Yay!

3. Find ways to substitute homemade foods for convenience foods. - Um, yes. :)

4. Make $300 via consignment shops and the flea market.  I made $164 at the flea market, $35 at a yard sale, and a total of $125 so far via consignment shops (with more to come throughout the year).  So I reached my goal!!!!!

5. Find some other ways to bring in money besides subbing part-time. - I teach voice lessons to a girl from my church, and I have been so thankful to have two women willing to advertise on my blog. Whether they remain as advertisers or not, their money helped pay for things we needed and I am so grateful!


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Luke asleep on my BIL at a wedding this past Saturday.  :)

1. Sleep train Luke.  - We’ve done this about three times (and those were weeks from you-know-where, let me tell you!) and our child still is not a great sleeper.  I’ve kinda resigned myself to this fact, as much as I hate it.  Currently he goes to bed between 7:15 and 7:30 and sleeps “through the night” but wakes up anywhere from 4:15-5:45.  It’s exhausting but we’ve tried everything we’ve heard and can think of.  He just hates sleep! 

2. Get Luke on a routine that works for both of us.  - Besides the sleeping issue, we do have a solid routine that he has come to depend on.  Although I can already see that routine getting tweaked a little as he nears his 1-year birthday. 

So, how about you guys?!  Have you been able to keep your resolutions?  Do you have any that are similar to mine?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Thrifty Finds: Target, VOA, and Yard Sales

Just wanted to show you all some of the fun things I’ve found recently!


You might remember that I’ve been moving all my dishes from black to white, and I’ve been trying to wait patiently for good deals on them.

Well, Target (God bless Target!) had these beautiful, heavy-duty white porcelain dishes for 75% off last week so you better believe I snatched them right up!

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I got 7 big plates for $1.25 each and 4 salad plates for $.98 each. I would have gotten 8 big ones but that’s all they had and I only needed 4 small because I already had 4 Crate and Barrel white porcelain salad plates that I got last year on Black Friday at Goodwill for $.40 each! (Wow, that was a run-on.) I will be stalking the clearance aisle to see if one more big plate shows up – if not, I will *gasp* pay retail for it. :)

I love that porcelain doesn’t scratch, like stoneware, and that white goes with every holiday, tablecloth, napkin, you name it!

Volunteers of America:

I still go with Lindsay to the monthly 50% off sale at VOA. Last month I found this cute little greenhouse/dome thingy for $.60. (Tag on the bottom says Jo Ann’s for $19.99.) I put moss in the bottom and added it to my summer mantle (which you will see either this week or next):

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I also found a cute reversible Gymboree hat for Luke for $1. I would like to add that the hat is a size 2T-5T. And it’s snug. On my 10 month old. Sometimes I think it really was a good thing that my baby didn’t come the regular way. ;) memorial day 2010 027

I found a cute pair of Gap crops for $3 and this breezy white shirt for $.50 that I picked up to wear to the beach.

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Little did I realize when I brought it home that other shirts by this designer, James Perse, sell for $65-135! Score! :)

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Thrifted Finds:

A few weeks ago Lindsay and I had a yard sale at my house. My neighbor had a yard sale with her friends, as well, and I purchased this table from one of the women. I originally thought it was just a cool piece of art on a stand, but it’s actually a folding table and the date on the back reads Nov. 29, 1939. It’s unlike anything in my house but for $5 I had to have it!

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Our local Christian radio station had a yard sale yesterday morning. I got this tray table (top is removable) for $2 (apparently I have a thing for tray tables?!):

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(I’m thinking about spray painting it a fun summery color but I can’t decide yet.)

I also picked up a pair of Steve Madden sunglasses, $.50, and this set of weather-resistant mini Chinese lanterns for $1 that came with lights included. I think they will be perfect for Luke’s party!

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And there you have it! :)

Linking to:

Today’s Thrifty Treasures @ Southern Hospitality
Thrifty Thursday @ Tales from Bloggeritaville
Frugalicious Friday @ Finding Fabulous
Garage Salen’ Partay @ Debbie Doo’s

Thursday, June 3, 2010

In Defense of Food {1}

(For more about our clean food journey, click here.)

I haven’t written in a few days because I have so many thoughts swirling in my head about clean/whole foods that I had no idea where to start with it.  I figured it was kinda like a band-aid and I’d better just sit down and get it over with. :)

You may remember my granola bar recipe I shared via Musings of a Housewife.  Through her site I first heard of the book In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.

I was able to check it out from the local library, and it was incredibly, incredibly eye-opening.  It’s not exactly a light read, but it is SO chock-full of information about how exactly we got to the point in America where our food is so contaminated with chemicals, colorings, additives, antibiotics, and preservatives.  Although I clearly don’t agree with his view about evolution, I actually took notes on the book, that’s how much I loved it.  Yup, I’m a loser.  But you can thank me later for doing the hard work for you.  :)

Anyway, there are about 1,347,845 things I have to say about this book and the topics it brings up, but I’m going to start out with just one small point.  On page 32, he quotes Dr. Gyorgy Scrinis, a professor from Australia, who has been quoted as saying,

“ ‘[If] foods are understood only in terms of the various quantities of nutrients they contain, [then] even processed foods may be considered to be ‘healthier” for you than whole foods if they contain the appropriate quantities of some nutrients.’ ”

Think about it.  This is how American food “works” now, isn’t it?  At my SIL’s house the other day, I noticed a bag of chips that boasted “Whole Grains and Omega-3s!” Not to mention trans fats, msg, and ridiculous levels of salt.  But whatever!

The whole reason behind today’s post is because of an ad that I have seen twice now in my parenting magazines.  The thing makes me so angry every time I look at it that I just had to share it with you guys:


memorial day 2010 063

It compares plain cow’s milk to Enfagrow’s new chocolate formula for toddlers.  The ad tries to convince you that milk is clearly inferior to the artificially-and-naturally-flavored formula, since it has no DHA, no Prebiotics, no iron, no Vitamin C, and very little Vitamin E. 

The paragraph below the chart states, “Enfagrow PREMIUM has DHA and prebiotics that milk lacks and also iron, Vitamin C & E.  So mom, help give your toddler a foundation he can build on.  make the moooove [sic] to Enfagrow.” 

In teeeeeeeny tiny font at the very bottom, it reads, “Enfagrow PREMIUM is intended as part of a balanced diet.  All kids should eat and rink the right foods and get plenty of exercise.”  Does that make them somehow feel better to put that in there? 

Because what they’re really trying to say is, “Instead of teaching your children that chocolate and treats are sweets to be enjoyed only occasionally, and instead of letting them experience a natural food product, and instead of providing them with fish and yogurt and healthy meats and oranges and green leafy vegetables, you can give them our factory-made chemical concoction and call it even!”

(Hear me out: Luke has been on formula since he was 10 days old.  It’s a long story, but suffice it to say that breastfeeding did not work for me.  Sometimes that happens, and thankfully my son has been extremely healthy and he meets or exceeds his milestones.  But this a product specifically marketed to toddlers, who can – and should - be eating and experimenting with a wide range of healthy foods.)

I guess the thing that bothers me the most about this ad is that a parent who is uneducated about the inherent value in whole foods might see this and actually feel guilty for giving her child plain-old, regular-old milk, since it is “clearly” inferior to the factory product. 

It really depresses me that this is how low we’ve come as a country. 

And according to the research from In Defense of Food, a great deal of that has to do with government lobbying by food manufacturers.

I have a lot more to say about this book, but I decided to give your eyes a break. :)

Anyone else read it or others like it?  Thoughts?