Hair Down, Dress On

On my 101/1001 list, I have “wear a skirt or dress every day for a week,” “wear the same outfit every day for a week,” and “wear my hair down every day for a week.”

So, decided to do those, get them out of the way. I hate wearing my hair down (it gets in my face), but the whole point of the 101/1001 project is to get out of my comfort zone and try new things.

What’s the motivation behind the one outfit thing? you may ask. Well, a couple things, one we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time (this will give me a chance to start evaluating what I actually need before I cut down on what I have), plus who will actually notice what I wear? Isn’t the reason we own so many clothes because we worry what other people are thinking? What if no one actually cares about what you’re wearing because they are so preoccupied with what you think about what they’re wearing? How would that change your view on your wardrobe, spending habits, and how much time you spend in the morning picking out clothes?

I was in the Army for 8 years, and I wore a uniform every day to work. There was no stress over what I should wear to impress the other women that day, no worries about “does this make my butt look big.” Less stress. I want less stress in my life. I’m hoping my experiment with civilian clothes will help me toward this goal.

Picture to come soon, but just so you know, I’m wearing a guava colored strapless dress with capri length leggings and a long-sleeved black cardigan. I may cheat and bust out a short-sleeved white cardigan if it gets too hot here, but the dress will be the same.

Caffeine!!

I was reading a web-based story written by a guy on one of my emergency-preparedness forums, and someone made a comment about his recent installment. The commenter said that the guy in the story, and everyone else, should include caffeine (since one should travel at night so as not to be seen by bad guys should one have to get home on foot after a natural disaster). He then linked to CAFFEINE SOAP!!! Awesome!

So I started digging around, and found lotion and shampoo (although this one isn’t as fun as it is marketed as a remedy for fine or thinning hair. My hair is fine so I may check it out anyway) as well. Oooh! And I just found a chocolate cake flavored caffeine infused lip balm! I know what I’m getting next time I have a little money!

Also, I just wanted to throw in what I had for breakfast this morning. See, I LOVE Shakeology. If a protein shake is like a chicken breast, Shakeology is like a chicken breast with five plates of salad. Although caffeine isn’t necessary for the energy lift I get from drinking this stuff, I still love to throw in a tube of Starbuck’s Via for the coffee flavor (side note, I hate instant coffee, but this Via stuff is actually really good). This morning I also ground up some almonds before mixing in the Shake, Via and unsweetened almond milk. Oh, wow, it tasted like a mocha almond fudge milkshake! Enhanced with caffeine boost!

 

Quick Tips For Saving Money On Groceries

OK, I still need to get pictures of my pantry. It looks neater, but it doesn’t have all those cute baskets and door-mounted racks that Better Homes and Gardens shows. The nice thing about getting my pantry organized was I was able to throw out the few garbage foods and expired things we had (not many things, we’re pretty good about rotating storage food so we don’t waste much food).

Speaking of food, it’s only one week into the new year and I’m already hearing, “Waahh! Healthy food is too expensive!” And I say, “WHAAAT?” For my family of 5 (ok, there are 6, but the baby is breastfed and the only table food he eats is off my plate or a shared snack, not his own meals that affect the overall cost of the grocery bill), we spend about $450 a month, and admittedly, it could be lower. My average grocery bill is $80 a week, and that extra $100 or so is spent on extras like coffee from Sam’s Club and things we don’t actually need like my Starbuck’s runs and my husband’s beer. I do not count toilet paper and shampoo as food and it is not included in my budget (I do coupon at CVS and get tp and soap for next to nothing, but that’s not the focus of today’s post).

So, here’s what we do to save money on the grocery bill:

  • Other than beer and milk, we don’t buy beverages. We drink water from the tap. Soda is crazy expensive, terrible for your health and not necessary. We don’t drink juice either, it’s empty calories, and you’re mostly paying for water anyway.
  • We never buy chips, crackers, and other snacky foods. For about $3, I can get a 5 lb bag of apples (I pick the bags with the smallest apples so there are more per bag and they are a correct fruit portion) which the kids eat as snacks throughout the week.
  • We do not shop at only one store. We have two stores within 4 miles of each other that we go to every week. What’s not on sale at one place may be on sale at another and vice versa.
  • I plan a menu for the week based on what’s on sale at either store. If chicken is on sale, we’re eating chicken. If pork is on sale, we’re eating pork. And if it’s a really good price, I’ll buy a couple extra packs and freeze it. Same with fruits, veggies, etc.
  • I only grocery shop once a week. If I forgot an item, too bad, we just tough it out until next week. Going more often, you get tempted to buy more than just that one item, costing more than you budgeted.
  • I only shop from a list. I NEVER go into a store without a plan. I plan my menus from sales flyers, plan my lists from my menus and a quick look in the pantry or fridge. Planning a menu/list only takes about 20 minutes once you get the hang of it, but it could save you tons of money.
  • Some items are always cheap, such as plain old-fashioned oatmeal, celery, carrots, cabbage, greens (collard, mustard, chard, kale), apples and bananas. We use these items for snacks and to round out our meals.
  • If an item we need that week is not on sale, and we didn’t stockpile enough from the last sale, I get the store brand. Seriously, store brand oatmeal or brown rice tastes the same as name brands. Also, against my better judgement (prepackaged cereals are expensive and not that good for you), we always buy the store brand honey nut cheerios in the big bag. Around $4, lasts two weeks.
  • We don’t eat a large variety, by choice, not necessity. Every morning it’s cheerios, oatmeal, scrambled eggs or toast. Sometimes I’ll go all out and make pancakes from scratch (even though I don’t bake much any more, I do keep baking staples on hand for when I do, and pancakes are stupid easy to make from scratch!). Lunch is usually peanut butter and jelly (trying to get away from that) or leftovers from last night’s dinner. Yes, my children have taken leftovers to school by choice. They pack their own lunches so the lunches are less likely to get thrown away. Sometimes, if there’s a good sale on deli meat, I might buy some, even though it’s not good for us 🙂

I can’t think of any more off the top of my head, but that’s a good start. Since I started really thinking about what I’m puting into my and my family’s bodies, I have been getting grossed-out by the thought of prepackaged food.

“But what if I don’t have time to cook from scratch?” Nonsense! You have time to surf the web, watch TV and text your friends on the Facebook, you have time to cook. I use a slow cooker frequently, and I have batch-cooked in the past. Precook some chicken, pre-cut some veggies, it’s insane how much time you save in the long run when you spend an hour or two on your day off pre-making some of your meals for the week.

I’m convinced that those who claim it’s too expensive or hard to eat healthy just don’t want to for real (or truly have no idea, but those in the latter category aren’t the norm IMO). As with anything else, if you want it bad enough, you’ll cut the excuses, and start finding solutions.

I hope I was able to give at least one person some ideas about how to make healthy eating work for them 🙂

Upcoming Cleaning/Organizing Projects

Since deciding that going primal for me and gluten-free/casein-free/soy-free for the kids would be beneficial for our health, I realized step one would be cleaning out the pantry. If it’s not there, we can’t eat it. I started this project this morning, but decided to hold off until I could get a picture of the mess that is my pantry, plus I need to wait until the baby goes down for a nap.

Then I thought, why stop at the pantry? So I decided that I will clear out my desk, my dresser/closet, my kids’ rooms, and eventually my garage. And you, my lucky readers, get to see the progress! Ha ha! Actually, putting my goals on my blog help keep me accountable, so really, you all are helping me! Thank you! Oh, and this will help fulfill a couple of my 101/1001 goals (getting organized, owning less than I do now, and by selling off the excess, starting the emergency savings fund. Oh, and blogging about my projects, i should be able to complete the write a blog every day for 30 days goal. Much accomplishment all around!).

So here we are, a few days into the new year. I trust you’ve written out your goals? What steps are you taking to accomplish them?