Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Costco Meal Planning

Josh and I are not so great at grocery shopping. Oh, we make lists and we stick to our budget, but then we get home and realize we have bits and pieces of meals.  It's a never ending cycle at our house.

In an effort to combat our ill planning skills, Josh found a 20 meal Costco Plan online we're trying.  I mentioned it super quickly a couple Fridays ago, but I thought I'd share all the deets here in case anyone else has the same problem we do.  :)

He actually found the meal plan over on $5 Dinner Deals.  She has several awesome options for Costco shopping, but she also has tons of other information for budget dinner plans, general meal planning, recipes and more.  
The specific one we're trying is 21 gluten free meals from Costco.  We went through her lists and picked this one just because we thought the recipes sounded the most delicious.  There's a slow cooker one I definitely want to do for baby time (if this goes over well) so that cooking can be healthy and not all take out pizza those first couple months with a new baby.  :)

We went shopping last Thursday and stocked up.  I wish I had taken a photo of our Jeep.  It was full, you guys.  We ended up spending closer to $200 even though her menu says $162.  We already had like 20 pounds of ground beef, so we took that off.  And then we added some other things we needed like breakfast and lunch foods (which she doesn't include here - this is really a dinner plan).  But Josh sat down and figured it out and we have about 6 weeks worth of dinner from this plan.  So, once we add in holidays coming up, travel, etc, for $200 we will have all our meals for almost 2 months.  THAT IS HUGE.  

She breaks it out to be about $7.85 a meal with this plan.  Which I think is great.  But the meals are really meant for about four people.  Well, Josh + Me = 2 people.  So, we will have leftovers for lunch and dinner on following days.  With that in mind, we planned our menus to include leftover days so we're not wasting any food (which is how we get to 6 weeks worth of meals, before holidays were considered).  Also, it's worth noting the plan we picked is really 10 recipes twice and one additional recipe.  Her other plans are 20 different recipes.  

And one last thing worth noting is the leftovers from shopping.  You don't fully use every last bit of what you buy - but she tells you that!  So we can plan to use the leftover ingredients in other meals and stretch this plan EVEN FURTHER.

Amazing I tell you.  Amazing.

We didn't plan the best (ahem - we're good at that), so we didn't think to get freezer bags to divide it all up.  We definitely do not need all 15 pounds of veggies in the house freezer at once - wayyy too small for that.  So it would be nice to break up the items and freeze half in our deep freezer instead of stashing it all in the tiny house freezer.  We're definitely going back and fixing that issue.  ;)

This post is slightly scatterbrained, but the last thing I wanted to note is the meals are actually decent meals.  When I told my mom we were trying these out, she was a little concerned it was all mac and cheese and freezer meals.  Not so much!  They're all meat and veggie meals.  Things we would totally cook normally... you know, if we remembered to buy all the ingredients when we went shopping.  They're probably not clean eating certified, but they're definitely decent meals with lots of protein and leafy greens.  Yay!

I will let you know how this goes!  We're about two meals in and so far so good. ;)  I'll update maybe mid-way through the plan, but definitely once we've finished with how it went for us!  Fingers crossed it rocks!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bump Date: 12 Weeks!

(I'm going to have to teach my husband how to work on his photography skills.  That angle is not flattering, babe.)

.:.:.: About the Babe :.:.:.
How far along: 12 weeks
Baby is the size of: a kiwi!  .81 oz and 2.91 in
Gender: Not sure yet, but after having a very vivid dream and doing some 'research' I'm thinking GIRL.  Said research?  Well this:
   Family history of first borns:
      Josh's Mom's Parents: girl
      Josh's Dad's Parents: girl
      Josh's Parents: girl
      Josh's Sister: girl

   And, I know it makes no difference, but my side:
      My Mom's Parents: girl
      My Dad's Parents: girl
      My Parents: girl
So, it's GOT to be a girl, right?!?! ;)  We shall see!!
Movement: Yes!  Flutters for the first time this week!  It's so weirdddd.
Names: We have them! :)

.:.:.: About Mom :.:.:.
Weight gain: 1.7 pounds. (I only weigh myself when the doctor makes me, so we will see later today how that has changed!)
Maternity clothes: I gave up on real pants.  Maternity pants it is.  However, I still feel really silly in maternity tops.
Stretch marks: No
Belly button in or out: In
Wedding rings on or off: On!
Sleep: Nightly trips to the bathroom are routine.  At least one (on a good night).  Sleep comes and goes.  Some nights are better than others.
Best moment this week: Feeling baby flutters!
Buying: Nothing exciting this week, just some baby powder and shampoo.  Woo hoo, right?
Miss anything: Not this week.  We'll see if that changes!
Cravings: Egg Rolls! Still.
Queasy or sick: Not really this week.
Looking forward to: Hopefully getting our anatomy scan date today! And this week is officially the end of the first tri!  YAY!

You can check out all my bump photos and weekly updates here.

Friday, November 21, 2014

High Five for Friday: November 21st

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Woop, woop for another Friday!  YAY!  This week was a busy one, so I'm looking forward to a weekend of doing nothing. At all.  It's going to be fabulous.

one // There are three things I am now sure of in life: death, taxes, and snow in Grand Rapids.  It has not stopped in over a week.  I don't even know what to do with myself.  Thankfully, my Authentic Weather apps shares my sentiments and cheers me up daily with its highly inappropriate weather commentary.  (This one is actually the only appropriate weather report I've seen on the app.)  It makes me laugh and I love it.

two // Speaking of weather that won't quit, I had a snow day Tuesday.  And what do normal, perfectly sane people do when 12'' of snow is dropped on the city?  They go buy SUVs.

We've actually been talking for a while about making some changes before baby comes and getting an SUV was right up near the top of the list.  I am not such a great winter driver (or driver in general if you ask my husband), so I was happy to trade in the Cruze for something a little more ... durable.  And I'm not sure it gets more durable than a Jeep.  They're made for off-roading, so that makes them perfect for a Grand Rapids winter too, right?

three // My family will be in town WEDNESDAY for Thanksgiving.  I suppose I need to clean, or grocery shop, or, well, do somethingggggg to get ready.

four // I've really been getting into She Reads Truth.  It's a fabulous website/app/community where a group of awesome women put together devotions for us to read.  The newest Thanksgiving one had been so great.  I'm really excited to go back and read some of the older plans as well.

I tried really hard to find some pregnancy devotionals, but the books I purchased just were not connecting with me.  I am getting so much more from the She Reads Truth devotionals, so I am super happy I found them!

five // FOUR more Fridays until Christmas.  You're welcome.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Details, Details

I'm so glad we finally spilled the beans on our big news!  I'm terrible at keeping secrets.  Josh and I had so much fun watching our Facebook pages blow up after we posted our announcement photo last week!  Our original plan was to keep it a secret another month and use our Christmas cards to share, but my bump really wasn't going to make the possible, so we expedited the process a month or so.

Anyway, I thought today I would just share some of the nitty gritty with you from the last twelve weeks.  I've been keeping a secret pregnancy blog just for me and instead of transferring all that here, I'll just do a little summary post (which hopefully people are excited about and not totally bored out of their minds with).  

The thing about trying to conceive and getting pregnant is you almost immediately want to find like minded people going through the same thing with.  So when we decided to try for a baby last year, I found a fantastic group of about 12 ladies that I have become super, super close with.  Through everyone's pregnancies, losses, and infertility, we've talked daily and shared with one another our journeys.  It's amazing how the internet can connect you!  

It was one of these ladies that convinced me I needed to take a test six days before my period was even due.  She has a thing for peeing on sticks and, well, it's contagious.  Seriously.  So I did.  Obviously, nothing.  

However, at five days before my missed period, there it was.  I was seriously shocked.  It was 6am.  I was getting ready for work, and I wasn't even sure I was seeing things properly.  So I ran and threw my contacts in and came back.  Yep.  That was a second line.

Josh was actually out of the house already; headed to a buddy's wedding up north, so I had to spend the entire day in agony keeping this secret.  And it was really bad when my parents came to town that night and we all went out for the evening with my brother.  (I can't keep secrets people.  Can't.)

FINALLY - blessedly - Josh showed up at 2am from his road trip and I whipped out my phone and showed him a happy collage of my test and a little graphic that said, "you're my favorite person to make a person with."  We were having our rainbow baby!

We told our families a few days later.  And I spent the next week just making sure, with every last test I had in the house.  (Which was a surprising amount, I might add.)

I hate to disappoint, but we don't really have any exciting announcement photos or videos.  We did the whole shabang last time with the elaborate gifts and secret video recording, and while that was awesome and the videos were fun to watch for a tiny bit, we opted just to go old school this time and just straight up tell our parents.  Not as exciting for everyone else, but just as effective.  :)  

I had early blood work since my last pregnancy ended in a loss.  I was also offered an early ultrasound at 8 weeks.  (My doctor's office does not do many ultrasounds - 12 weeks is the norm and then one more anatomy scan at 20.  That's all that is typically offered.)  To say that day was the best day of my life is an understatement.  After my experience last pregnancy, I was beyond terrified of getting an ultrasound and finding nothing.  

Since then, I've also had an amazing friend loan me a fetal doppler.  We listen to baby's heartbeat every day or two.  Since it's still pretty early for that, it can be hard to find, but it's such a sweet sound to hear.  When the babe gets bigger I'll have to record it and share.  It's honestly the best thing ever.

That's really the gist of it!  I'm just about to hit 12 weeks.  I plan to do weekly updates and share as I go along.  Before I wrap this up though, here's the cliff notes version of some other fun details:

Sick at all? It was pretty rough around 7-8 weeks.  I was never sick, sick, but the nausea was a B.  My appetite left the house and has finally returned in the last week or so.  Thank goodness.
Cravings? Yes.  Definitely.  Right now it's egg rolls.  Load me up.  I've also had a thing for veggie subs and Buffalo Chicken Ranch Wraps.  I'm not going to try to explain any of that.
What else? Round ligament pain is no joke.  That hurts like no other.  (It's ok Moms, laugh at me.  I'm sure it gets so much worse.)  Sleep is also no joke.  I already do not sleep well.  I'm so looking forward to 2nd and 3rd tri sleeping - nottttt.  
Gender? Oh, we will be finding out for sure.  Hopefully by February.  We'll see what the doctor will give me for an appt.  ;)
Names? We have them.  But it's unlikely that information will be shared before the baby comes.  I would say don't hold your breath, but do remember my ability to keep a secret. ;)

Did I miss anything?  Any deets you're dying to know?!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Coming in June!

I am so, so happy to share that we are expecting!

We could not be more excited!

Friday, November 14, 2014

High Five for Friday: November 14

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Another Happy Friday, everyone!  These are just my favorite.  :)

one // Winter is here.  I'm not totally sure I'm ready for my first winter in West Michigan, so we will see how this goes!

two // 'Tis the winter of plays (errrr. musicals??).  I'm super excited.  We're seeing Mary Poppins next Friday.  Then just before Christmas I have tickets to the Nutcracker.  And on New Years' Eve we're seeing Wicked!  (Again!)  I can't wait!

three // I've been playing Christmas music for two weeks already.  Is that allowed?

four // Josh and I are trying something new.  He found this thing online where you get almost two months of meals for $150 at Costco.  And they actually look like delicious meals.  (So, no, they are not all Ramen and Spaghetti O's.)  I'm actually excited to try this.  That would be some prettyyyy awesome grocery savings.

five // 5 more Fridays until Christmas.  You're welcome.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Reeses Bars

I made this treat for a friend's birthday and - oh my word - it was AMAZING.  It really does taste just like a Reeses Cup.  I found the original recipe here  and the only thing I did differently was add butterscotch, peanut butter, and chocolate chips around the edges of the pan.  I didn't take the best photo, but trust me.  It's even better than it looks.

1 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons peanut butter

In a medium bowl, mix together the butter or margarine, graham cracker crumbs, confectioners' sugar, and 1 cup peanut butter until well blended. Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.

In a metal bowl over simmering water, or in the microwave, melt the chocolate chips with the peanut butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Spread over the prepared crust. Refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting into squares.

Then enjoy! Preferably by yourself, straight from the pan, in front of a good TV show. Or, you know, I guess you can share.