About my blog

In the past year, I have lost over 55 lbs while working full time and being a full time mom to Maddie, 5 and Carter, 2. I want to encourage other moms who are pulled in a million different directions every day - if I can do it, you can too. I promise it IS possible.

On this blog, you will find information about how I lost the weight (this is an ongoing endeavor!), recipes enjoyed by me and my family, couponing and saving money, thoughts on parenting, yoga, people in general, or whatever else I feel like blogging about that day.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Small Steps to Big Results

Our extreme budgeting plan worked in some ways and kind of fell apart in others. Most importantly, we were able to pay off 2 small credit card balances and are now tackling the big credit card balance! The plan was to not withdraw any money from either checking account, but just live on the money we could make selling stuff on the local facebook groups and from a Wednesday night gig Scott has that pays $50. We did pretty well with it. We did not withdraw any cash from the ATM (except one time Scott did cause he wanted to go play poker but then he didn't go...). We sold lots of the kids outgrown clothes and my old iPhone on the local give and take groups and actually made a good amount of money. But the "using only the $50 from the Wednesday night gig" part kind of disintegrated into "using only the cash we get from gigs" so anytime Scott got cash instead of a check we would spend it. We are hopeless with cash in our pockets! I also got back into the couponing and have been doing really well with that. After about 2 years, I think I have finally figured out a system that works for me in terms of time, effort, and money.

The extreme budget turned out to be not so extreme but...it worked well for us. We still have tons of stuff to get rid of and sell, including all my old clothes from last spring and summer which are all way too big. We didn't take any money out of the bank so we were able to put the extra towards paying off credit cards. We didn't feel too deprived. So we are going to continue it this month, but in this more modified way. As long as I can quit buying stuff from the give and take groups and just concentrate on selling stuff! I love a bargain and I love to buy clothes for the kids - and now I love to buy myself clothes too!
Where I am calm - headed down the path to the lake!
I know I haven't been blogging on my weekly intention the past few weeks, but I'm still choosing an intention for the week every Monday in yoga class. This week's intention: "I am calm." I will not let things that happen or people upset me this week. I will try not to worry about EVERYTHING and take deep breaths when I start trying to over-think everything. It's weird because I think I am going to pick a certain intention for the week and then when I get to yoga class it feels like the intention picks me. Last week I was trying to choose "I am positive" but my mind kept changing it to "I am powerful." I liked that one. Last week I concentrated on feeling powerful physically and emotionally. The intentions may seem silly but they keep me focused during the week. I am discovering that it's important to have small, daily or weekly, goals when I want to make big changes.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Budget update and why Valentine's Day is stupid

We are 12 days in to the radical budget challenge and it has been surprisingly easy. We have had to put things off, and tell the kids no we can't go out to eat or go get ice cream, and plan our meals at home. I wouldn't want to do it all the time, but it's working for now. Scott even said something the other day about doing it for another month or every other month so we can save up more money. We know we will be replacing cars in the next few years so something like this may not be a bad idea. We'll see how we feel at the end of the month!

This week's intention came to me immediately in yoga class Monday morning. Usually I have to think about it for a few minutes before I decide, but this week it was just there. My intention is "I am loved." I know it sounds like that guy from the SNL skit ("and people like me!"), but I don't care. This week's intention came about because of stupid Valentine's day.
Here's why Valentine's day is stupid: I don't want a box of yucky milk chocolates or a dozen boring roses because the rest of society says he should give me this type of crap for one particular day of the year. I don't want to go to Olive Garden with the rest of the entire town and wait 2 hours (or more!) for a table. I would much rather he got me flowers one random day because he was thinking of me and thought I would like them. Or surprise me with a dinner out - and a babysitter! Or spend money on some really good dark chocolate when he knows I've had a bad day. These are way more romantic than being forced to be romantic on the same day of the year as everyone else. Anyway, Scott usually has a gig on V day. And that's fine with me. So this Valentine's I am going to take time to really appreciate the love given to me from the people I care about in life. I want to acknowledge and enjoy the love I receive from others - in my opinion, a much better way to celebrate this day. Oh, and make crafts with the kids. I've been Pinteresting a lot (pretty sure that's a verb now).

Monday, February 4, 2013

Radical budget update & a strong intention

Ok, so here's the update on operation radical budget. Only 4 days in and we are already learning a lot. We've already had 1 big fight about the money situation (but now we are ALL on board so hopefully we can work as a team). It's definitely a huge adjustment! I am looking at money a LOT differently right now. Here's the plan in case you missed the last post: for the month of February we are only going to spend $50 cash a week plus whatever money we can make from selling stuff we don't need anymore around the house. This way we can save up some money and get rid of some stuff. And maybe learn to live on a budget. I make budgets all the time, but we don't actually stick with them. If I really want to go buy some clothes, I go even if we don't have it in the budget. I just use the credit card. That's not going to happen this month! I know this budget is not sustainable (for one thing cause we will run out of stuff to sell eventually) but doing this every once in a while may be good for us.

We started out with some money left from last week...it's amazing how fast money can go when you are buying food for a family of 4. I had a girls night and a Super Bowl party planned for the weekend too. I budgeted these 2 events very carefully. At dinner, I only had one drink and a quesadilla a la carte with a side of guacamole. My bill was $12 with tip. Which was good cause I only had $20 and we needed to buy milk and newspapers the next day (for the coupons). For the Super Bowl party I used mostly what we already had in the fridge and pantry. I only had to spend a few dollars at the grocery store and be a little creative. By the end of the weekend we were completely out of money. This was actually really scary because I am determined to see this through the month and I didn't want to give up so early. I knew we would need money for the week - my kids eat more fruit than anyone I know! So I decided the first thing I would do is sell some of my couponing stock. I chose stuff I had tons of or stuff I bought but never used, or dragged home even though I didn't really need it because I made money on the item. I listed these items on our local swap n' shop facebook group. Within a few hours I had sold most of it. We have already made $30 today and will make another $20 tomorrow. So we planned a little trip to the grocery store!

Here's a few ways this is changing my thinking: I seriously considered what to order at the restaurant - I had to choose something weight watchers and wallet friendly. Normally I would just order whatever I wanted, including a few drinks. I would have gone out and bought a bunch of stuff for the Super Bowl party. It wasn't necessary. I already had the stuff at home to make plenty for everyone. My thinking has shifted to what's really important to purchase right now. I am much more aware of how much cash I have and what needs to be purchased. Anything else can wait.

This change really ties in well with my intention for last week: to be more aware. I thought of this intention often, especially when my mind really started going and wouldn't shut up. I tried to be more aware with my kids, when I was driving, at the gym, at work, and just enjoy what I was doing at the time I was doing it.

This week my intention is...I am strong. I am strong physically and getting stronger. I am strong emotionally and won't let the way other people decide to behave affect me. I am strong enough to continue with the weight watchers plan and work towards my goal. I am a strong mother for my kids. I am strong enough to keep up with this radical budget. Anytime I feel like I can't do it this week or start thinking badly of myself because I've made a mistake, I'm going to remember this week's intention. Wish me luck. I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Radical Budgeting

I really suck at sticking to a budget. It's hard when one income varies from month to month - when we have a lot of money coming in, we spend a lot of money, but when we don't have a lot coming in, we don't have the extra to cover the deficit. I am so tired of having a big bill come up and not be able to pay for it, then we have to pay with a credit card and make payments with interest. I really want to build at least a little bit of an emergency fund this year so that when we have a car repair, or a vet bill, or a house repair, we can just pay it.

So I was reading through some articles posted on Facebook from a few different budgeting sites, and I read about something that really sounded interesting to me. A woman said her family saves money in the months of January and February by selling items they don't need anymore. The only money they spend on any non-bill items comes from the sales of stuff from their house. Any money they would have usually allotted to groceries, clothes, entertainment, eating out, etc is put into savings. This way they declutter and build up a little savings at the beginning of the year.

I love this idea! I am very interested to see if we can do this. So we have decided to try it in the month of February and see how it goes. We are going to try and live on the cash my husband gets for a Wednesday night gig every week ($50) and whatever we can make for selling stuff like outgrown kids clothes (and my outgrown clothes that are now too big) and toys the kids don't play with anymore. Basically all the crap piled in my garage right now. So if you ask us to go out to eat or go shopping during the month of February we will probably say no. But if you want to come over for dinner or cards we will be happy to have you. I suspect trying this may change more than just our budget...so we'll see how it goes. I'll update each week on how we are doing.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Awareness Intention

In some of my yoga classes, the instructor asks us at the beginning of class to set an intention for the class. It can be anything we want, just something for us to focus on for the class. Like, "I am strong" or "I am joyful", etc. I really like this idea and I now do this for every yoga class, not just when the instructor asks. Sometimes I have a hard time making my brain shut up and this helps me focus my mind on one thing for the class.

For the past few weeks in my Weight Watchers meetings our leader Julie has insisted that we write down at least one thing we are going to work on for the week. It can be small and simple, but we have to write it down - not just think it or say it. I have noticed that even if I don't do everything I'm supposed to do (in weight watchers terms) I usually do whatever I have written down. Last week it was more activity and this week it was planning meals.

This morning in my yoga class I was thinking that I was glad I had a class on Monday morning and what a good way to start the week. I set my intention for the class: "I am aware" (aware of my breathing, of the muscles in my body working, of the correct posture for the poses). I realized that setting an intention could not only work for the class but also for the whole week. So I'm going to try setting an intention for the week for the next few weeks and see how it goes. It seems to make a difference in Weight Watchers to write it down, so I thought I would write about it here so hopefully I will follow through.

So for this week I'm sticking with the awareness intention. I think this will be pretty tough for me. I am ALWAYS distracted and thinking about the next 5 things I need or want to do. I don't pay attention to what's going on around me because I am stuck in my own head. My goal this week is to be more aware and pay more attention to what's going on around me. Especially when it comes to my kiddos. I've been thinking a lot lately about changing some of the ways I deal with the kids, and some of the changes I've been making are definitely showing positive results, especially with Maddie. Part of this is thinking about what I'm saying to them before I open my mouth to say "in a minute" and paying more attention to the things they feel are important. So being more aware fits in really well with these changes I am trying to make.

I think sometimes there are harmonies in different aspects of life, and if you can feel them, you should pay attention and go with it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


I love the Zuppa Toscana soup from Olive Garden. So when I saw a recipe for it on Pinterest I was so excited to try it - until I saw the amount of calories and fat. So I decided to try and make my own Weight Watchers version. The result was really yummy and so close in taste to the original. I couldn't wait to share this one!


  • Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and slice thin. Cook potatoes in boiling water with chopped onion for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the italian sausage. Drain potatoes and onion and return to the pot with the water, chicken broth, and garlic. Bring to a boil, add chopped swiss chard and sausage. Reduce heat to low and cook about 10 min. Add the half and half and salt and pepper to taste. 
This recipe makes about 12 cups
1 cup = 4 points plus

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Skinny on my New Year's Resolution

I'm back! I know all 4 of you who read my blog missed me :-)

It's been a while since I have posted - I have had a really rough few months emotionally and I haven't had the energy to share my thoughts (or cook, or coupon, or anything else interesting). I had to make some tough decisions and try to do what's best for me, which is not something that comes naturally to me. I went through a hard time for a while and did a lot of thinking about what's important to me.
            Number one most important: my husband and kids. Period. Everyone else comes after them.

Another conclusion I have made after all this soul searching: life is too short to spend time with people who make you feel bad, whether they mean to or not. I'm talking about people who are not supportive, who always have a negative comment, who aren't happy with their own lives and thus feel the need to make everyone else miserable too. If I am your friend or family, I have your back. I will support you any way I can. I will help you if you need help. I will not expect you to be perfect and will be there for you when you need it. I won't let you cry alone if you need a shoulder to cry on. I don't want to surround myself with people who don't feel the same way about their relationships with friends and family. It's a two way street, and I will no longer be bending over backwards trying to make other people happy. I'm going be make myself happy and surround myself with people who are loving, caring, positive, open, and supportive. I am truly blessed to have a lot of these people in my life, many of whom have helped me through the last few months.

This year I have an unusual New Year's resolution. I was thinking about the phrase, "a new year, a new me." I have learned through making a big physical change that the "new me" is still the same old me. I still have all the same problems and joys in life I did before the change. So my goal this year is, "a new year, embracing ME." This year will be about embracing and encouraging who I am, faults and all. I'm not going to try and change who I am to make anyone else happy. I'm not listening to any more negativity from my inner self or anyone else.

I also survived the holidays and all the food, and overall I maintained my weight. I'm not very happy with no real weight loss since October, but no real weight gain either, so I begin 2013 proud of my 50 lb weight loss in 2012 and ready to get back on track and moving towards my goal weight.