Month: February 2016

One Month of Meal Planning (Gluten-Free and Vegetarian)

One Month of Meal Planning

When I ran my January meal planning challenge, it was as much for me as for everyone else. I loved seeing what everyone else was making, what their goals were, and what changes they saw during the month.

At our house, our goal was to save time, energy, and money - plus try to use up some languishing pantry items stuffed in the mysterious depths of the cupboards or freezer. And we did! Sure there were a few days that we had to switch around due to life happening, but it was a relief to avoid the last minute decision making of what to make for dinner.

Overwhelmed at the prospect? I have an online meal planning workshop coming up. Or for more tips, check out my meal planning Pinterest board!

I only plan 4 dinners each week since we usually have enough for leftovers at least once, plus we have dinner at a friend's house most Thursdays. My husband works weekends and we often have activities, so I keep those nights open.

We also get a CSA (community supported agriculture) box of local veggies each Thursday at the farmers market, so we incorporate those as much as possible. We eat a little seafood at home, otherwise I'm vegetarian, and I'm currently not eating gluten, either.

Week 1

Polenta with Peppers and Mushrooms
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Spinach and Artichoke Quinoa Casserole
Homemade Gluten-Free Pizza

Week 2

Chickpea and Mushroom Polenta (we didn't love this one)
Lentil and Hominy Chili
Gluten-Free Crispy Orange Cauliflower
BBQ Tempeh Tacos with Shredded Cabbage

Week 3

Black Bean Enchiladas
Wild Rice Soup
Cold Vietnamese Noodle Bowls
Grilled Veggies

Week 4

Homemade Gluten-Free Pizza
Black Bean Tacos
Vegetarian Chili with Gluten-Free Cornbread
Stir Fry

What are some of your go-to meals?

If your best meal planning intentions end up in a mess of recipes and guilty takeout, you're not alone. Join me from home (wear your PJs, I won't judge) and we'll cover strategies to finally get you started with my online meal planning workshop.

The Biggest Secret of Parenting

Before my son was born I read a lot more about birth than parenting. Considering that information only covered about 12 hours from my first contraction, I had a lot of catch up to do once he arrived.

And wow, the learning curve felt steep. When he was around 10 months old I finally read this article about features of a high needs baby. My son met 11 of the 12 criteria.

I just thought all babies were like that because he was the only one I had.

Other moms' mentioned their high-needs babies and I thought about how terrible that sounded - my son wouldn't sleep longer than 37 minutes, had to be constantly held, and went from 0-to-hysterical in 3 seconds flat. And they had it worse?

Apparently not. Whew.

(Looking back I have no idea how I survived those first two years with my sanity relatively intact, though that's up for debate.)

Entering my third trimester of pregnancy with my second child I vacillate between peace and panic. On one hand, at least I have some idea of what to expect.

On the other hand, I have some idea of what to expect -- plus a 3-year-old. Hold me.

Parenting Secret: None of us have ANY IDEA what we are doing

With my first I felt intense pressure to "do it right." I wanted to read all the books and articles and expert opinions.

Then I learned that anyone who tells you there is one way to do anything is selling you their book.

Do I give weight in to experienced professionals say and what studies can show us? Yes. But the most important thing is doing what works for me and my family. I am the expert at my children.

So I'll stock up on strategies for smooth transitions for siblings, but this time I will have fewer expectations of myself. Because I don't know much about THIS baby yet.

In a class with Pam England (author of Birthing From Within) she explained her philosophy of "B+ Parenting."

She said that none of us can ever be a perfect parent. When we think we can, we set ourselves up for failure. Instead, she says, aim to be a B+ parent. Better than average, but without the pressure of never screwing anything up.

We will inevitably screw up.

That's what parenting is about. It's picking our battles and trying not to screw up too bad while loving the crap out of these little imperfect humans. We're learning along with them.

You're doing the best you can with what you have available at the moment. That's enough.

You're enough.


Not feeling like it lately? Motherhood can be an overwhelming hamster wheel of laundry and trying to remember what else you need to do.

If you're feeling stuck and don't even know where to start, you're not alone. If you need a hand to make the leap, I'd love to offer mine.

CLICK HERE to book a FREE Save Your Sanity Session

Want to stay in the loop?

Let's be honest - you'll forget to check back. Because mom brain is real.

February Self Care Challenge

I had so much fun doing the #mealplanningmama challenge in January that I'm hosting another one in February!

This Valentine month is all about love, right? We all love our families, even when it's tough. Even when we have to dig deep in the moment. Even when we feel like we're drawing from an empty well.

But what about ourselves?

It's hard enough before having kids. Women are told not to be selfish, to take care of other people, to put others' needs ahead of our own.

And part of having small children often means putting their immediate needs (which they cannot fulfill themselves) first.

The downside is that when we spend all of our time taking care of other people, we run out of energy to take care of ourselves. With all the work we do caring for others, it seems reasonable that someone else would step up to take care of us.

But they won't.

This is where self-care comes in.

February Instagram Challenge with SemiCrunchymama

  • When I notice I'm resentful or bitter, I know -- I need some self-care.
  • When I blame my husband for my grumpiness or can't make decisions because I'm out of brain cells, I need some self-care.
  • When I'm having trouble handling my toddler because I'm having trouble handling myself... you guessed it. Self-care time.

Sometimes we over complicate, though, and think self-care needs to mean a spa weekend, a massage, or some retail therapy. There's nothing wrong with those things, but sometimes they seem out of reach and we tell ourselves we don't have time/money/resources for that kind of thing. And we might not!

Self-care can be as simple as listening to the music YOU like while you cook dinner. It can be a hot shower or bath. It can be working out, a yoga class or quick routine at home, or even a simple walk.

What can you think of that recharges you and makes you feel more "you?"

Join me on Instagram to stay accountable and get more ideas this whole month.

We'll start small and work our way into making sure we feel more loved so we can be more loving to those around us. I'll check in each week with the hashtag #selfcaresunday and prompts to get you going. Answer in the comments, or post your own photo on your account to show what you're up to.

Stretch yourself! (Maybe literally AND figuratively.)

And hey, I wouldn't turn down a massage, either.

I can't wait to see what happens. CLICK HERE to follow me on Instagram and check there on Sundays!

Want to stay in the loop?

Let's be honest - you'll forget to check back. Because mom brain is real.