This morning, what I hoped my readers said to themselves was, “What happened, Nada?! You were here, and now you’re gone again! It’s been 84 days since you posted anything!”
Well, I’ll tell you what happened! Our whole family got a horrible case of the flu! We were out of commission for a whole week. It was nothing but sweaters and chicken broth and soda crackers for us while we waited for the demon bug to pass through our systems.
Well, it took awhile for Michael to bounce back. Naomi, resiliant little firecracker that she is, bounced back in an instant. But me? Well, I just struggled.
This flu was unrelenting for me. I was nauseated all the time. I had no energy, no desire to eat, I could barely get out of my own way.
A few weeks went by and I wasn’t getting any better. Nothing was happening for me — no desire to eat, no desire to move, no period…
Wait a sec… no period?
A quick pregnancy test revealed the truth — the flu tricked me! I was over it weeks ago. Now I was pregnant!
Our family was of course beside ourselves with joy! Naomi will turn three tomorrow (tomorrow!!!) and we are so glad that by Hallowe’en we will have a second soul to share all our joys and celebrations with! So excited!
Unfortunately for me, I am one of 75% of poor women who suffer extremely unpleasant morning sickness. It was the same with Naomi and with our second baby as well. I got up, I dragged myself to work, I came home from work, and curled up on the couch for the rest of the night, til I dragged myself to bed at night. Oh the misery and torture. I just kept thanking Jesus for the pregnancy, and for the reassurance (through the nausea) that everything was okay. I’m one of those worry-warts who would’ve been picking myself apart wondering if everything was okay, if it wasn’t for the nausea reassuring me daily that my baby was happy and healthy.
So for the last 19 weeks I’ve survived on lemonade, lemon popsicles, lemon ice cubes, and macaroni and cheese. I am finally starting to get myself back to something resembling a functional member of society — I even participated in the March Against Monsanto here in Halifax last week! Here’s a couple clips of our march (warning — language of videographer in first film is a little harsh).
So I thought I’d try to get back to things here at miniMOMist. In my absense I haven’t really taken much time to think about the blog or where I want to take it, but I figure it’s a great place for me to have fun, express myself, and detail the fun stuff of our lives, including the growth of our sweet new baby.
Any prayers and encouragement are welcomed. We’re only 21 weeks away from holding a precious new baby in our arms.
I’ve always tried to start a price book and just never seem to master it. But I definitely want to give it a go again.
A price book is a binder in which you keep track of the prices of different grocery and household items at the different stores. For example, at Store A, you might be able to buy double rolls of toilet paper at $0.49 a roll, and at Store B, they might be $0.39 a roll. Obviously Store B has the best price. But if you happen to catch a sale on toilet paper at Store A and you can buy the same product at Store A for $0.27 a roll, then you have a record of your item and what the best price is regularly!
You can of course just use plain ol’ pieces of looseleaf in a binder or simple record in an old spiral notebook. But if you’re looking for something a little more asthetically pleasing, here’s the template I created for my own price book! It’s a free printable. Help yourself to my free Price Book Page printable!
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Over my extended break, our family really got away from eating a lot of processed crap and finding ways to make things ourselves. We became wild fans of soups (oh the soup recipes I have to share with you!). But in our effort to steer away from packages and boxes, we weeded out saltines and crackers in favor of homemade breads and rolls.
My biscuit recipe was a mainstay in our home (and landed me a spot in Kristen Welch’s That Works for Me ebook last year!) but occasionally we’d forget to make it. We needed to come up with a quick, easy bread recipe that would allow us to make a bread for soups that didn’t need to rise or take hours baking.
Enter Jamie Oliver.
We have become huge fans of Jamie in the last few months. He has taken my loving, caring, unbelievably handsome husband from a man who couldn’t boil potatoes to a man who hand-cranks his own pasta, brews his own beet tonic, and now consumes a smoothie made of fresh raw fruit every morning. Yes, I know he doesn’t get much love in the US (we Canadians seem to love him!) but we love Jamie here at the Sheppard’s house.
Jamie showed us how to make mini Yorkshire puddings in less than 20 minutes. And we love love love them! We make them almost once a week because they are so easy and quick to do! I have come home, mixed these up, and they’ve been ready for the dinner table before I’ve had a chance to get settled down to eat.
So here’s my interpretation of Jamie’s recipe:
- 1 huge coffee cup of white whole wheat flour
- 1 egg
- 1 huge coffee cup of milk
- Turn your oven on 425 degrees. Toss an ungreased muffin tin in the oven.
- In your blender, blend together your flour, egg, and milk. We only use powdered milk in our house for baking, so I usually just toss in the milk powder into the blender and then the water.
- Turn on your blender and run til you have a thick white batter. Turn off and set aside.
- Using an oven mitt, grab your muffin tin out of the oven. Take some olive oil and quickly pour enough to cover the bottom of each cup (no need for liners).
- Pour your batter from the blender into the muffin tins and pop it back into the oven. If you have some left over, grab another muffin tin or wait til your first one is done and repeat.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden brown and puffed up beautifully.
- Take out, pull out of tin, and serve hot with butter and soup.
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I’ve been carrying around baby weight for far too long, and decided that this would be the year that I’d take it off. But you know me — I won’t spend a dime more than necessary. And as far as I’m concerned, food should be the only expense when one is looking to lose weight. I don’t see a reason for any of the following:
~ exercise videos
~ gym memberships
~ weight loss groups
~ diet books
You get the drift. Why would you spend money on this? You know what is involved in losing weight — you burn more calories than you consume. So I’m going to tell you how to lose weight without spending much (if any!) money.
It should go without saying that you should be in good health before attempting any form of weight loss. But as a disclaimer, I will repeat that you should seek out the approval of your doctor before any change in diet, exercise and lifestyle. Any advice portrayed here is to be used at your own risk and with approval from a licensed health practitioner.
1. Don’t Buy Diet Books — Go Online. If you go onto Amazon and search for “diet books” you’ll get over 69,000 results. 69,000! 69,000 books that tell you the same things over and over again:
- eat more vegetables
- eat fewer refined carbs
- stay away from processed meats, cheese and sweets
- reduce your salt intake
- stay away from junk food
- drink more water
You do not need to buy another book telling you the same thing over and over again. You do not need these generic diets anymore. Focus on what you already know. If you need specific information (such as how much protein, calcium, fat, or salt you should consume in a day), look up reputable sites for such information. Otherwise, stick to what you know to be the correct way to eat:
- eat whole foods
- eat mostly fruits and vegetables
- eat whole grains (oats, brown rice, whole wheat flour, etc.)
- eat less meat (you need half a pound per week. That’s it.)
- drink water
- get rid of your junk foods and processed crap
There. At $20 a book for 69,000 books, I just saved you $1,380,000.
The only time that I think a diet book is justifiable is when you need it for a particular dietary condition you have. If you have celiac, diabetes, or hypothyroidism, then that is something deeper. But the books you will be looking for are more of a lifestyle-based book to help you control your weight from a medical standpoint. Find a book that will teach you how to avoid foods that trigger your nutritional problems, like a gluten free cookbook, or a book that is geared specifically towards diabetes. Don’t worry about books that just tell you how to to lose weight or what foods you should or shouldn’t eat (I already gave you that list!). Find books that are based around your specific condition and leave the rest on the shelves.
2. Or Go To the Library. And don’t buy these books! Go to the library first. Check them out, take it home, and read it for a week or two. Once you’ve decided whether you enjoy it enough to pay for it, then go looking for it (at a secondhand book store or thrift store first).
3. Don’t Buy Workout Videos — Go To Youtube. Thank God for Youtube! You never need to buy another DVD again. There are movies, documentaries, sermons, seminars, biographies (actually as I write this, I’m watching American Experience: Wyatt Earp on Youtube — yes, I am a history junkie). So why would your workout videos be any different? Who needs DVDs anymore when they’re freely accessible online? You can find yoga, pilates, aerobics, weight lifting, and even (God forbid) Sweating to the Oldies! Or if you’re looking for Jillian Michaels, Billy Blanks, Tony Horton, Denise Austin, or even Jane Fonda, they’re all there too!
Now, if you find something you thoroughly enjoy, and want to purchase a copy of it for yourself as a way to support your favorite fitness guru, by all means purchase it. But don’t buy haphazard videos without first reviewing them to be sure you’re going to like and use them.
4. Don’t Join Weight Loss Groups — Go to SparkPeople. SparkPeople is a wonderful website that is perfect for those of us who need the extra motivation and encouragement. This site is a wonderful way to track and maintain a healthy exercise and nutritional lifestyle without spending a cent. You can track your weight, food, exercise time, and be encouraged by others in your different SparkTeams and participate on Message Boards.
5. If You Must Join a Group, Start One Yourself! Organize a Biggest Losers group at your workplace, or host a Weight Watchers style get together at your home once a week. Email friends or post on Facebook an invitation for others in your circles to join you — you’ll be surprised at how many would be eager to join! Ask everyone to bring a small snack to share, and do different challenges like “Eat 2 Fruits every day for a week” or “Drink your 8 glasses of water a day”. Or organize a walking group four days a week.
6. Or Join TOPS. Finally, if you want to join a group without doing all the work yourself, seek out a Chapter of TOPS in your neighborhood. I heard of them through an aunt who participates in TOPS regularly. It turns out that TOPS is a great, and incredibly cheaper, weight loss group that meets once a week to support and encourage one another. In my local Chapter, I pay $32 a year for membership, and $2 a week. The money I put towards the group pays for our group’s meeting location (we meet in the community room of a local grocery store) , and I feel that is a good investment. I really enjoy my membership and find it very motivational and encouraging.
7. Don’t Join a Gym — Get Outside! Go for walks. Do a boot camp at the park. Go biking with your kids. Jump in rain puddles. Garden. Get a manual push mower. Wash your car. There are so many ways to get your workout outside. Why go to a big building that smells of sweat and is full of grunting behemoths who make you uncomfortable? Outside you get fresh air, plenty of space, no waiting in line, and no time restrictions!
8. Or Get Equipment for Free! Go onto Craigslist, Kijiji, or Freecycle and look for treadmills, ellipticals, mini trampolines, free weights, exercise bikes, or cable machines. Often people just want these things out of their basements so why not offer to go get it? Even if you’re visiting a friend and see a treadmill being used as a coat rack, ask them if they use it. If not, offer to take it off their hands.
9. Or Buy It Secondhand. If you strike out on finding a piece for free, why waste money buying a brand new one? Go look on Craigslist or Kijiji again and find one that’s being sold secondhand. People spend way too much money on these things early in January and then by April, they realize they’re never going to stick to it and try to sell it for half the price. That’s when you step in, snatch it up for cheap, and bring it home.
10. Whatever You Do, Stick to It. Whether you do or don’t spend any money on your weight loss plan, the important part is to find a program or plan that works for you. Then stick to it. Any and all weight loss plan will work, but only if you stick to it. Find something you can live with, be it no sugar, vegan, or 2 hour a day workouts. Whatever works for you, and is approved by your doctor, stick with it.
My own diet is based more on eating whole foods and several of the principles from Eat Right for Your Type, due to various dietary allgeries. I love my new diet and I do feel great when I eat this way.
miniMOMist is an account of Mike, Nada and Naomi's journey into realistic minimalism, with the goal centered around simple living, and enjoying each other rather than things. We are a faith-based family and blog about our belief in God regularly. Our love for one another and our passion for a simple, minimalist life brings us much joy and pleasure.