Meal Planning 101

When Stephen and I were first married I never meal planned, and I never made grocery lists.  I would walk up and down the aisles of Stop and Shop, pick out what looked good, not look at the price and have no concept about how it would fit into a weekly meal plan.  That didn’t matter though, because at least four nights a week we were ordering in or going out to dinner.  I would end up throwing away most of our groceries and then complain that “eating healthy was so expensive”.

Fast forward 7 1/2 years, I now have meal planning and grocery shopping down to a science.  I may not be able to iron a shirt without burning it, but food in this house is a well oiled machine.

I grocery shop twice a week.  Once on Sundays for a majority of our food for the week and for dinners for Monday through Thursday, and once on Thursdays for perishables and dinner food for Friday thru Sunday.

So today I am planning for my grocery store trip for tomorrow (Sunday), and I wanted to share a little bit about my process.  Keep in mind we are still in Whole 30 mode around here!

I first write out all the days I am planning dinners for and an area for the list at the bottom of the page broken out into different columns for meat, produce, and other.


I then look at my calendar and see what is going on for the week .  If there is a night Stephen is going to be out of the house then it is not the night for a time intensive dinner.  Monday nights I teach yoga, so I normally do a slow cooker meal.  You get the idea.  After a quick look on Pinterest and mentally flipping through my go to regular meals, I usually jot down the dinners I want to make for the week.


I then start to fill in the columns with the ingredients needed.

grocery 3.jpg

After this list is done I look through the pantry for other items we need to restock.  Things like brown rice, cereal, olive oil, coconut oil, coffee, larabars, etc. and add them to the list.

When it comes to breakfast, lunches, and snacks, we tend to eat the same things most weeks.  Eggs and greens for breakfast for me, eggs with brown rice for Stephen.  For lunch, I tend to eat left overs, a big salad, or make a quick batch of chicken salad with homemade mayo , while Stephen shops separately and keeps things like frozen vegetables and pre-cooked chicken at his office.  My snacks are almost always Shakeology with homemade almond milk (almonds are on the list EVERY WEEK!) and cashews, fruit, or Whole 30 compliant larabars.

These days, for dinner, we barely order from anywhere or eat out unless it is a special treat.  The more we learn about food, the more we want to cook our own at home.  Plus, due to Stephen’s celiac disease, we are an almost completely gluten free house now, which makes eating out and ordering from anywhere incredibly hard.  By only buying what we need and planning down to the last detail, we have very little waste.  It has saved us a ton of money and makes me feel much better about what we are putting into our bodies!

So there you have it, my well oiled, tested, tried and true meal planning method !

How do you plan meals for the week?  

Do you wing it or are you a big planner like me?


Homemade Almond Milk

While completing my first round of Whole 30 I started making many of the condiments in my house.  This program forced me to look at the ingredients of my food with a much higher level of scrutiny than ever before.  I discovered that sugar was in EVERYTHING!

One thing I used to drink all the time was store bought almond milk.  While it is dairy free, and you can buy sugar free options, all store bought almond milk contains carrageenan .  Carrageenan is a seaweed extract that is used to thicken foods and drinks like almond milk, and it hides in many of your organic foods.  Although it has been ruled safe by many regulatory agencies, carrageenan has been linked to GI disorders and has been found to cause inflammation of the digestive system.

When I started reading about this additive, I decided it was time to stop buying these products.  I found an amazing recipe for homemade almond milk over at Stupid Easy Paleo and have been making it ever since!

Homemade Almond Milk


1 cup organic and raw almonds

4 cups water

1 pitted date for sweetness (optional)

1.Soak the almonds overnight in a bowl of water in the refrigerator (make sure they soak for anywhere form 8-48 hours).  I also soak the date along with them.


2.Drain the water you soaked the almonds and date in and place them in a high powered blender

For every 1 cup of almonds, cover them in 4 cups of water.

3.BLEND!!!  Hopefully you have a helper like me to push those buttons for you!


4.Once the almonds and date are blended place a colander in a large bowl and line the colander with several layers of cheese cloth.


5.Slowly pour the blended mixture over the cheese cloth


6.Once the blender is empty SQUEEZE the cheese cloth to get the remaining moisture out of the almond pulp

This made 2 mason jars of almond milk


Place it in your refrigerator and enjoy within 3-5 days!

I use this in my coffee and for my daily Shakeology!

Adeline’s Birth Story

I was due with our second baby girl on June 6, 2015.  Now, her sister was 10 days over due, so even though I was REALLY hoping  she would make an early appearance I knew in my heart of hearts that it would not be the case.


Large and in charge at 38 weeks

Her due date came and went and still no baby.  I was doing everything in my power to get things moving.  Yoga, walking, spicy food, sex, EVERYTHING.

On the morning of Sunday June 7th we woke up and, after a few text messages back and forth with some friends, decided to go out for a picnic lunch at 1230.  Spoiler alert: we never made it on our picnic.

I felt my first contraction at 10AM.  It was not much, but it was something and it was much more intense than the braxton hicks contractions I had been feeling.  Stephen immediately asked if he could go mow the lawn (this is SO a second kid birth story, right?!) in case we went to the hospital later.

I told him to go ahead while Ella and I got suited up to take a walk.  We went for a short walk and this was when things really started to pick up.  My contractions started becoming really hard and intense, but they were still between 15-20 minutes apart.  I texted Stephen’s mom to come get Ella when she had a chance, and started getting her things together.

Around 11:30 Ella was picked up, and Stephen and I were in the house laboring.  I asked if we could head to his parents house and labor there since it was 10 minutes closer to the hospital and I really wanted one final picture with Ella as a family of 3.

As soon as we arrived at Stephen’s parents house my contractions came on fast and furious.  I got through each one by leaning my head into Stephen and swaying my hips back and forth while humming.  We had a great thing going and really fell into a nice rhythm.  Just like the first time around , Stephen was an incredible coach and I do not think I could have gotten through it without him!

After about an hour of laboring in Stephen’s old bedroom we took our last picture as a family of three and headed to the hospital.


One of my favorite pictures of all time.  I am so glad we took it between mind numbing contractions.

This is where things get hairy.  I had no idea that the Puerto Rican Day Parade was happening in Hartford that day, but it turns out that most of the city was shut down for the parade and after party.  Every where we turned streets were either closed or so full of people that we could not get through.  Meanwhile, I was getting slammed by contractions every 3 minutes that were lasting 45 seconds.  I finally cried to Stephen that I absolutely could not have this child on the side of the road during the parade. He immediately pulled over to ask a police officer what was the fasted way to the hospital around the parade route.  This officer, aka: my new best friend, dropped road barriers and radioed to his colleagues to let us through all closed roads on the way to the hospital.

Everything started to go REALLY fast as this point.  We got to the hospital at 3PM, we were checked at triage and checked in by 4PM .  At this point I was already 5 cm.

We labored in the hallway, in the room, on the birthing ball, everywhere!  Since the epidural all but stopped my labor last time, I was trying to wait as long as possible before getting one administered this time around.

At some point my contractions were coming on so hard and fast that I could not catch my breath in between and I started to alternately hold my breath and hyperventilate during the contractions.  At this point, I knew it was time for the drugs.

I had the epidural administered at 7CM.  Immediately after I closed my eyes to sleep and my water broke.  Within a half hour I was checked again and was 10 cm.  I started to push and less than 20 minutes later our baby girl was born.  Seriously, it happened that fast.

I was so shocked when she was born and even uttered the words “Wait?  That was it?”.  It was such a different experience than with Ella.  The epidural was still in full effect and the only thing I felt was intense pressure as Addy moved down in the birth canal.

Immediately 7 pounds and 7 oz of pure perfection were placed on my chest.  I got her to latch immediately as the placenta was delivered and I was sewn up.  Again, this was so different.  I did not feel the placenta being delivered and only needed 2 stitches as opposed to 15 last time.

She was so calm, and so wide eyed.  Every worry I had about not being able to love another child as much as Ella immediately vanished.  This baby proved to me that love truly grows, it does not divide .  She was my second born, my Addy, and I was so in love with her.


I was able to walk within an hour, and had a turkey sandwich in my hand within two!  I could not believe how great I felt despite having just given birth!  It just goes to show that each pregnancy, delivery, and baby can be so different.

The next day is one I will never forget.  Ella was able to meet her new baby sister and I thought my heart would literally explode.  She was obsessed with this new baby and I honestly felt like Addy had always been a part of our family, and had not just been born within the last 24 hours


We really tried to enjoy our time in the hospital.  We rested and nursed and took full advantage of the nursing staff and lactation consultants.

Eventually we made our way home to begin our journey as a family of four. As we were leaving the hospital I was reminded of what it was like to drive home with Ella as a newborn.  I was so scared, so nervous, and felt like I was in way over my head.  This time I was scared and nervous but also eerily calm.  I was armed with the knowledge that everything about babies is so fleeting.  The hard times pass just as fast as the good, and you do EVENTUALLY find your footing in everything.

As we drove home that day I decided to simply surrender to this season of life and take it as it came.  I knew I would be tired, I knew I would be overwhelmed.  But what I did not know was the amazing love I would feel for my girls and the calm I would feel walking into our home.  I could not wait to see what would come, and I could not wait to see Addy evolve into her own little person .

The Dark Cloud Descends: Prenatal Depression

I am so sad to be writing this post, but the time has come to really lay it out there.

For as long as I can remember I have battled some sort of depression or anxiety. I have always said that my natural state of being is just slightly depressed, and I have combatted it with medication over the years and then eventually figured out how to overcome this slight depression with physical activity, yoga, and eating well.

In the years before having children , my depression and anxiety were completely in check.  Anytime I would feel myself slipping back into that state I would battle it the best way I knew how, with a good run or a few days of good clean eating.  It worked every time.  Then I had Ella and battled baby blues, and eventually went on medication for Postpartum Depression (PPD).  The medication gave me the boost I needed and the better I felt, the more I did, so the better I felt.  I am not ashamed of my battle with PPD anymore ,  and only wish I had recognized and accepted it earlier in my motherhood journey so I did not lose that time with Ella.  I feel that it took me 11 months to truly fall in love with her, and I have come to accept and honor that.


When I became pregnant with Addy, I had a plan.  I would go on medication the minute she was born.  I wanted to completely avoid the debilitating feeling of PPD.  I kept trucking along throughout my pregnancy, encountering major morning sickness, kidney stones, and everything else that comes a long with pregnancy.  For the most part I was incredibly excited to be pregnant again and could not wait to welcome my new little girl into the world.   I kept up my physical activity and ate really well, only gaining about 1/3 of the weight I gained when I was pregnant with Ella.


About two weeks ago I felt what I call the “dark cloud” descend on me.  I was irrationally angry and sad ALL THE TIME.  I cried and yelled.  I was so tired during the day, only craving my bed, and then when I would finally get to fall into bed, I could never fall asleep.  I would toss and turn for hours, getting mere minutes of sleep at a time and then Ella would wake up at 5:30 AM and the entire cycle would start again.


I felt exactly like I had when the dark cloud of PPD had descended on me.  I knew what I was feeling was beyond the realms of what is normal, and decided to do some research.  I had never even heard of Prenatal Depression before, and had no idea it was something that could be an issue.  As I learned more I realized this was exactly what I was battling, and I needed to take action.

I combatted this depression the exact opposite way I did PPD.  I really cleaned up my eating, I committed to getting on the elliptical at least twice a week.  I told Stephen right away, I told my closest friends, at my next doctors appointment I will tell my doctor.  I will not hide this, and I will not shy away from it.  I will completely embrace it and battle it head on.  There will be no telling myself it is normal and I will be ok, and just put one foot in front of the other, and tomorrow will be better, and all the jazz.



This is my reality.  I will be forgiving with myself, and I will TALK about it.  As soon as Addy is born I will start medication, and for the first time ever I will not worry about how long I am staying on it.  Eventually when I am done breastfeeding and my hormones regulate, maybe I will be able to wean myself off and go back to physical activity and organic foods as a solution to this problem, but if I cannot I will not worry about it.  I need to be the best me I can be for my family and for my girls.  And if that includes being on antidepressants for the rest of my life, then so be it.  It is only a small part of who I am, it does not define my entire being.  It has taken me 15 years to finally come to this place, but man, it feels good.

Did you battle PPD or prenatal depression?  Tell me about your experience!

Spring Has Sprung

Happy hump day!  We are getting a little glimpse of what spring and summer will be like up here in the Northeast, and it is nothing short of glorious.

On the warm days we have been outside right away, complete with white Easter shoes, Elsa pajama tops, hot pink gloves, and sidewalk chalk.


There are so many great playgrounds in our area that I cannot wait to explore in the coming weeks.  I am especially on the hunt for playgrounds that have great little kid areas that Ella can navigate by herself when I have a newborn strapped to me at all times.


This warm weather makes me so excited for summer and the impending arrival of our newest addition!  It also makes me very aware that baby girl will be here sooner than later and I really need to get a move on preparing for her entry into the world.  In the coming weeks we will be transitioning Ella to a twin bed, washing LOTS of newborn clothes, and setting things up like the swing, the car seat, and the Rock N Play, and making a run at potty training.  Any advice on the twin bed transition and potty training would be incredible.

I hope your week has been filled with sunshine, iced coffee, and GORGEOUS flowers!  or whatever it is that makes you smile 🙂


Day in a Life

Day in a life of a random Tuesday as a pregnant stay at home mom to a 2 year old 🙂  I love reading about how everyone else spends their days, especially people who are home with little ones.  Enjoy!

5:24 AM: I wake up on my own, see the time, and leap out of bed.  Ella is still snoozing, Stephen is still snoozing.  I can have some much needed alone time with coffee!  Lets do it.

I make my way downstairs, tongue scrape, fill my daily pitcher of water with lemon, and throw in a load of laundry while the coffee brews.


5:40 AM: I sit with coffee and my book.  I am reading Mindful Birthing , in addition to taking a 3 week course in May.  I am hoping to have some more tools in my box for this upcoming labor and avoid getting an epidural so early i the process.


6:45 AM:  Ella starts to stir so I fill a milk cup for her, hang up the laundry, and suck down the last of my coffee before making my way upstairs.  Ella and I snuggle and chat in my bed for a long time while Stephen wakes up.

Stephen and I are SO different when it comes to the morning.  He takes a long time to wake up, preferring to lay in bed for as long as possible and getting up at the last minute before jumping i the shower.  I open my eyes and get right up .  Neither of us understand how the other could POSSIBLY start their day the way they do!

7:24 AM: Ella and I go downstairs while Stephen FINALLY gets in the shower.  I top off her milk, give her some cheerios, and turn on Sesame Street.  While she watches her show I get our stuff ready to head to the gym later this morning.


7:47 AM: Stephen is out the door and Ella and I are on our own for the day!  I make some breakfast and sit with her while she watches Sesame Street.




8:30 AM: Breakfast is eaten, Elmo is over, and its time for our daily wrestling match of getting dressed.  Ella likes to run a lap around the house before taking off or putting on any clothing.  Its really hilarious and I try to just let her do her thing instead of getting impatient.  If there is one thing I have learned since having a toddler its that I am really not in THAT big of a hurry.




9:10 AM: We arrive at the gym!  I check Ella into child care and hop on an elliptical.  I do 45 minutes while watching “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”, my very guilty pleasure, before doing some lunges and squats


10:10 AM: Shower , blow dry and get dressed at the gym.  I just started doing this and its genius.  I get an uninterrupted shower without having to waste precious nap time.  Originally we were going to grocery shop after my workout, but my friend, Eve, who is currently on maternity leave, texted me while I was on the elliptical to come hang out.  YES YES YES!  Mama chit chat and holding an adorable newborn?  That definitely trumps grocery shopping.


12:15 PM: We arrive home after picking up Subway for lunch.  Since we skipped grocery shopping we still have no food in the fridge!  A ham sandwich for Ella and a veggie flat bread for me.  A few bites of lunch, an Elsa dress up session, and a few renditions of “Let it Go” and we are upstairs for books and nap time

1:20 PM: Nap time success!  Time for mommy to do some laundry and read her book.  I am savoring these last few weeks of alone time during Ella’s long afternoon nap before baby girl is born.  I feel no guilt about putting up my feet and thoroughly enjoying my afternoons


3:30 PM : Up from nap time!  Into the car and off to the grocery store!  Her bed head is always amazing after nap time, and she will not let me near it with a brush.  While grocery shopping I bribe my child with a donut to get her to stay in the cart.  She eats it quickly and is then begging to get out.  It was nice while it lasted 🙂  I spend the remainder of our time shopping chasing after her and trying to give her little jobs to keep her busy.  Needless to say, we forget half the things on our list.



5:00 PM: I start our dinner while Ella eats hers.  Pasta with hidden veggies and protein for Ella, and pasta with meat sauce for us.

6:00 PM: DADDY IS HOME.  Best part of the day 🙂  While I finish dinner Stephen and Ella sing the ABC’s over and over and over and over x 1,000 while pretending to nap.  Ella and Stephen have such an amazing relationship.  She adores him and it totally melts my heart.


6:20 PM: Into the tub!  Its a big night, new tub crayons!


7:00 PM : Books, essential oil on the feet, brush teeth and into bed for Ella.  Dinner, dishes, and couch time for mama and dada 🙂

9:35 PM:  I cannot hold my eyes open anymore and need to go to bed.  I am shocked that Stephen joins me.  He usually stays up much later than me.  Good night!

My days seem mundane and boring to some I am sure, but I would honestly not trade it for the world at this point in my life.  I am desperately trying to enjoy this season of my life and not worry about things like lost earning power in the working world or lack of 401(k) contributions.  These are precious years with my girls and I will never get them back, focusing on THAT makes staying home much easier.

How do YOU spend your day?  Does it look like mine or much different?

Toddler Time

I have said it before, and I am sure to say it again.  Mornings are my absolute FAVORITE time of day.  Especially when, like today, I am up before everyone else in the house (including the sun) and have a giant cup of coffee in my favorite green mug in hand.  Even if said coffee is half cafe and I can really only have one cup.


This week I officially entered the world of being a full time stay at home mom.  I have dabbled in this life in the past, but it was always for quick little quips before adding more yoga classes to teach or taking on a part time accounting position.  This time though the gig is for the foreseeable future and I am really really excited about it.

This weeks weather gave us a little sneak preview of spring and summer and my entire self is just giddy with excitement.  We spent most of the morning Thursday at a playground with Ella’s cousins , and despite some mud and some wind, it was amazing to be outside.


This weather is giving me visions of summer time.  I picture Ella playing in the yard, Stephen grilling, and me with a baby strapped to my chest and a death grip on a glass of white wine.

We are in full on toddler mode in our house lately.  Especially when it comes to dressing ourselves.  Ella is very opinionated when it comes to the pajamas she wears, even if it means wearing ones that are from last halloween.  i think she would wear pajamas all day everyday if it were up to her (with a princess dress or two thrown in there) .  A girl after my own heart I tell ya.


Yesterday we were off to swim lessons nice and early and baby girl insisted on staying in her pajamas , but putting her Easter shoes on as well, and carrying a beach bag as a “picketbuke” (pocketbook).


I love her imagination, and her hilarious antics keep us on our toes and constantly laughing.  Oh how I love her so.

Cheers to the weekend!  And, if you celebrate, have a wonderful Easter !

Life Lately

Hi friends!  Remember me?  It is 5:30 on a Saturday morning and all I want to do is update this little blog of mine.  So lets dive right in.


I am officially 30 weeks pregnant and counting!  This pregnancy is FLYING and continues to be very different than what I experienced with Ella.  I am experiencing major insomnia this time around and I am already feeling the need to nest.  Yesterday I was organizing my downstairs bathroom at 6 AM, something I would never do at any time of day while I am not pregnant.  Baby girl also moves ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT LONG.  Ella’s movements were always very deliberant, crazy, and ended as soon as they started.  This one rolls gently and pokes at me from the inside constantly.

I am 90% sure we are done with having kids after this one is born.  So I am trying to savor my big belly, enjoy the kicks and flips, and wrap my head around the fact that I am almost done with babies.

baby bump 30 weeks

blurry and terrible work bathroom bump selfie


Shortly after writing this post, I was contacted by my old investment accounting firm to see if I would be interested in working part time through busy season.  I gave them my demands (3 days a week, no working past 5:30, no weekends, and an hourly rate I felt was reasonable) , found child care, and started 2 days later!  It was only a 3 month position and it ends this coming Tuesday.  I am so grateful for this opportunity.  It gave me a chance to make some money before baby #2 is born, got me out of the house during the most bleak winter months, and exposed Ella to day care.

hooray for school

I cannot say enough great things about the daycare we chose!  Although drop off was usually a struggle, Ella always had so much fun with her friends .  She was able to meet new kids, learn new things, and most importantly learn that even though someone besides Grandma , Mommy, or Daddy was taking care of her we would always be there at the end of the day to get her.  They even had this wonderful program called “Tadpoles” which allowed me to get pictures throughout the day everyday.  I would like her to start pre- school in the fall , so this was a wonderful stepping stone!

After this gig is over, I will truly be a stay at home parent.  Instead of being nervous about the transition like a few months ago I am really excited about it.  I cannot wait to have my two girls and be there for everything at this point in their lives.  I am truly blessed that I have the ability to stay home, and I do not plan on taking it for granted.  There will obviously be hard days, but I am looking forward to the challenge and to enjoying this season of my life.


I stopped running around 25 weeks pregnant.  This baby is sitting VERY low, and the constant bouncing of running was just too much.  I am sticking with walking and elliptical workouts for the time being, and some great strength training that leaves me feeling strong and tones, despite the increasing size of my body.  I miss my hard and fast workouts so badly.  I cannot wait to be able to run again, I cannot wait to have those endorphins, and I cannot wait to get cleared to exercise again after this baby is born.  I am planning on following the t25 fitness and nutrition program.  I have always loved Shaun T, and do his “Fast and Furious” workout often.  25 minutes a day, 5 days a week seems like something I can handle as a new mom of two, and I cant wait to tackle this new challenge!


Oh my gosh, this little girl.  She turned two in February and she is truly the light of our entire life.  She is social, and out going, and hilarious.  Her vocabulary is exploding, and she amazes me everyday with the things she knows and can do.  Her imagination is wild and her love for life is truly contagious.  With all the spunk and spirit comes some pretty wild toddler tantrums.  But we are learning to deal with them one day at a time.  We follow the 1-2-3 Magic method and I have found it really helpful.  I feel she is a little young for time outs to be truly effective, but as she approaches 2 1/2, I think they will be making a appearance in our parenting.

We are starting things like a big girl bed transition and potty training.  I feel like I was just researching newborn soothing techniques yesterday, and I have no idea how my baby has grown up so fast.  Everyday is better, everyday is easier, and everyday I fall in love with her more and more.

I need to devote an entire post to an Ella update, because she is just at such a fun age right now!




So that is my life lately.  Lots of work, baby growing, attempting to workout, and soaking in every bit of one on one time I can with my little girl before our world is truly rocked !