27 February 2015

Why I Shop At Aldi

It's no secret that I love Aldi. Simply put, I get more for less. I'm able to feed my family real, whole, good food and not break the bank.

I buy all of our groceries at Aldi. All of them. The milk, the cheese, the meat, the bread, the fruits and veggies, the TP, the dish washing detergent, the diapers. Everything.

Aldi has a pretty cool history - and fun fact, it's sister company is Trader Joe's!

Going to Aldi is literally one of the highlights of my week. I love searching out amazing deals on their every day great items, special buys (unique items, store-brand stuff), home goods, and random fun things (house plants anyone?).

I love that I can fill my cart to the brim with staples, a few indulgences, new things to try, and a boat load of produce and I am rarely shocked by the sticker price (do you ever go to the store and buy 3 things and think wow that was a fast $50?)

What I love most is how Aldi is constantly adapting their offerings to serve their customers various diets and health interests - non-GMO items, organic, specialty items (like prosciutto and brie), gluten free.

Seriously, it's like shopping at a specialty grocery store. I just want to stand outside of Whole Foods with a big sign that says "grab your bags, we're going to Aldi!"

In the next few posts I'm going to share my tips for a successful Aldi shopping trip and some things that I typically buy.

Have you ever wanted to try Aldi? What is holding you back? Have any questions about their products? Ask away! (I've probably had it!)

05 February 2015

Sam's Big Boy Room

Once upon a time, Sam's room looked like this.

And while it wasn't that long ago, it seems like an eternity since the walls of his nursery were bare, the room waiting for it's new tiny occupant.

And now it's not even a nursery any more.

We had been wondering for a while when Sam was going to escape the crib and make a run for it. We worried about the right time to transition him to a big bed. But we didn't have to worry for long. Sam decided for us.

Over Thanksgiving, Sam chose the big bed over the crib at Pops and Nana's house and there was no turning back. We took down the crib a few days after we got home.

Some folks suggested converting the crib to a toddler bed. Others said to have both in the room for Sam to choose. I wanted to just move the crib in the spare bedroom for a while, just in case. But when it wouldn't fit through the door, down it came and up it went into the attic.

And now we have a big boy room.

Oh my goodness, I love the big boy room!

We made a few changes in here - got rid of an unsafe book case, took out the changing pad and updated the book rails (that can't hold books or Sam would never want to go to sleep), We didn't have to do too much baby proofing, because, honestly, there isn't much in here.

And I added another color into Sam's yellow room. I am very particularly when it comes to the colors of things, so a green bedspread meant the room needed other splashes of green. Frames and prints on the shelves, a few green baskets, and the curtains. I bought a set of green panels and literally cut them in half and put them on either side of the yellow blackout curtain, making sure to hide the cut edge because you better believe I did not hem anything.

Does it make me a bad mom because I am not really sad that Sam is growing up? I love that he's growing and learning and talking. I love that he climbs into his bed with his animal friends, or helps as I change his clothes. But I do still love that he wants to rock with his mommy in that chair.

29 January 2015

dusting things off

I'm pretty sure I've used that metaphor before. When I leave this space quiet for too long I come in and dust it off and start working again.

So here I am, early spring cleaning.

I've been really getting into a few blogs lately. Reading back and back and back, learning women's stories. Seeing their lives.  Getting inspired. Feeling a little creepy. But mostly, getting inspired.

So here I am.

 The new year has come and gone. Unceremoniously. Digitally as I didn't mention it here. And literally as I fell asleep on the couch at 11pm on New Year's Eve.

I've dug into my new planner and so far, I feel fairly on top of the new year. My husband thinks it's ridiculous that I still use a paper planner. But most of the features of my smart phone are completely lost on me (and most of the time my phone is lost anyway) so paper it is.

Do you choose a word for the year? I have in the past but I never do anything with them. So I didn't pick one this year.

But if I did, it would have something to do with growing or flourishing or being intentional.

But mostly, I want to focus on small victories this year. Flossing my teeth. Washing my face. Eating real food. Not biting my nails. Forcing my child out of the bathroom while I pee because I deserve like 2 minutes by myself. The little things.

Maybe my word should be "self-care." I want to focus a tiny bit on being a better version of the already amazing self that I already am. I want to be able to take care of my family a bit better than I did last year. And I want to spend a bit more time as a hands-on mama of a crazy 2-year-old. Because, truly, he's the best thing there is.

08 December 2014

My Pinteresting Expectations

I had a mini-meltdown this weekend regarding decorating for Christmas, and I'm blaming Pinterest.

It's no secret I love and hate Pinterest. And I think, deep down, we all kind of feel this way. From spending way too much time on Pinterest, one thing has become clear. There are some folks out there that are really good at pretending to be perfect.

One of my favorite blogs did a feature on how they take their blog pictures. Hint - not with their iphones. They listed their favorite camera, lenses, accessories, and lighting. That's right, every amazing picture is taken with those umbrella-type gizmos you see at a photo studio. Well, no wonder their photos are 100 times better than my mine taken in poor lighting with my smudgey phone camera. Now, this blog remains my favorite because they do share real-life photos with giant piles of laundry and a sick full of dishes (although the pictures are still really good!). They also frequently remind readers of the giant piles of junk just out of site.

But I digress. I know perfect is an illusion on sites like Pinterest.

But it doesn't mean it doesn't get me down.

So back to my point - this weekend. I realize now that I'm just not the greatest holiday mom. But going into the weekend, I had such high expectations of family decorating time. I even bought tiny marshmallows for hot chocolate and stuff to make cookies (well, a bag of cookie mix, whatever). But in the midst of burning cookies, tantrums, failed Christmas crafts, and an overall lack of Christmas spirit, I kind of lost it.

There were tears involved. It was ridiculous.

Why do I do this to myself? Why do we let Pinterest ruin our holidays like that (I'm assuming you've done this too)?

My hubby gave me a talking-to (in a totally caring and justified kind of way) and we hit restart on the day. We didn't get a tree this year since we'll be traveling, but we did make a trip to the tree lot for some greenery (I would not call it magical as we got wet and had to drag Sam to the car screaming after we wouldn't let him take home the giant plastic frosty), but it was pretty great none-the-less. We put out the nativity scene, put up our little tree, hung Sam's stocking, and called it good. Because it is good.

Seeing Sam's eyes light up when he saw the tree the next day, reading Away in a Manger 100 times before Sam will fall asleep, and watching him fall in love with the tiny baby Jesus from my childhood nativity set, now that's magic.

[i think i may need to search Pinterest for some shoe organizing ideas. #putitinabasket]

19 November 2014

Aromatherapy Shower Melts

I hate waking up in the morning. I probably hate it more than anyone else in the world.

So in an attempt to be a little bit happier about having to get out of bed, I whipped up a few aromatherapy shower melts.

I used "cheer up buttercup," a blend of bergamot, orange, lime, grapefruit, and lemon oils. Seriously, it's like bottled joy.

This is hardly a scientific recipe. I dumped a box of baking soda into a bowl and added enough water to make a paste. I filled a cheap silicon baking mold with the mixture and let them dry (I baked them for a while at 250 and then let them dry the rest of the way on the counter). I added a drop of oil to each cube and put them in a jar, because everything in my house goes in a jar. (Next time I make them, I am going to mix the oil right into the paste before I put them in the molds. I am also going to skip the oven and just let them dry on the counter over night.)

To use, put one on the floor of the shower in the morning, take a deep breath, and hate waking up just a little bit less.

My mom and I made these this past weekend and she added Breathe to her melts, perfect for the sniffles or a persistent cough. Here's another great recipe for vapor shower disks that uses rosemary, eucalyptus, and lavender oils.

Have any other tricks for me to not hate the morning so much??

14 November 2014


I've been dabbling in essential oils for about 9 months. We were super sick last winter and while looking for ways to help my family stay healthy, I stumbled into the strangely large world of essential oils.

Essential oils aren't that complicated. Basically, they are highly concentrated compounds distilled from a variety of plants.

It gets complicated, however, when you start to talk about various brands and companies that sell essential oils. Two large companies market them through direct-sale methods - folks not only buy oils, but they typically sign on as consultants (I did at first to get a discount on the products) and then can start to sell and market the oils and build their "business."

This is where things got strange for me. The cost, schemes, requirements, and business models of a few companies rubbed me the wrong way -- I wanted to use more oils in my house, but I just couldn't get around these things.

I have recently found a brand that I love - I'm loving the oils and the company itself! And it's been so fun learning new ways to use these powerful tools in new, beneficial ways.

I see myself writing more about the ways I use oils every day, and hope to share my experiences (in a fairly brand-neutral kind of way).

Do you use you essential oils? I'd love to hear how!

05 November 2014

Getting Away

This past weekend, Kyle and I got away for a bit and took a trip to the mountains. We're only about 2 hours from Ashville, so we left right after work and get there for cocktail time.

Kyle's parents graciously volunteered to watch Sam - it was my first time away from him ever. I have been with him every night (or with him in my belly) every day for 2 years and 9 months. Crazy!

I don't think he missed us.

Kyle and I had such a great time. We ate our way through Asheville and has some of the best meals I can remember. I will crave the brussel sprouts from Wicked Weed for the rest of my life.

We are so not picture people, but we did manage to capture this cute little selfie before our brewery tour. Kyle with his new old man hat. Me with my poor attempt at wavy hair. Gosh, I'm so glad we found each other.