Myth: Eating Healthy Will Blow Your Food Budget

This is a post from guest contributor Andrea Rowley.
Healthy Eating on a Budget - ExtraordinaryMommy.com

I am a mom to a 2 year old, so feeding a family of three AND being healthy can be tricky on a tight budget. I am about to tell you how to buy all the food you need for the week without couponing, planning around store sales, and without being restricted to eating rice and beans (organic of course!). I am not sure if people don’t have the time to sit down and really do the math to plan a smart menu, or if they really just buy into the notion that eating healthy is expensive. Sure, you will probably spend a little more on average to make healthier food choices, but the dollar amount is not enough to have me running back to the Oreos and Cheez-Its. When I talk to most families on a food budget (to feed a family of 4), I hear that they like to keep it at $100 per week. I will show you how to eat healthy and buy organic meats for $110. Remember, for every unhealthy food/snack option there is a healthy option of equal value!! You just have to find it!  The trick for me was finding which store had the best prices. It takes a little time (and money) to learn the hard way, but making 3 grocery stops is a small price to pay for saving big when it comes to our grocery bill. *If you are looking to go gluten free or if you have some other special diet, then you may have to spend a little more money than listed in this post. I am not 100% gluten free, but I try to eat most items gluten free and keep my meals as clean-eating friendly as possible. I am going to lay out what my family has on hand at all times (at least when I have made it to the grocery store).  I shop at CostcoTrader Joes and Target (you can pick your local grocery store i.e. Publix, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, BI-LO, Safeway, Giant, etc.) every week. I do not coupon!! I repeat, I do not coupon. BOGO sale, maybe. I have never once clipped or given a coupon at the register. I am no expert in the couponing world, clearly, but I will say, the few times I decided to maybe give it a whirl, I never found coupons for the “healthy” stuff I needed. Target had the best coupons out of anyone I have seen for the “health conscious” mom, however. Here is a week’s menu for our family for each meal: Breakfast:

  • Breakfast bars
  • GF waffles
  • Bananas
  • Cereal (Healthy granola or GF Rice Chex)

Lunch:

  • Peanut butter and jelly (all-natural, no preservatives)
  • Lunch meat sandwich on GF bread or whole grain bread
  • Peanut butter, banana and honey roll up on a whole wheat wrap
  • Stir fry of carrots, broccoli, spinach, potatoes

Dinner:

  • Taco Salad
  • Grilled Chicken- side of asparagus
  • Pasta dish
  • Salmon patties OR zucchini patties- side of fries
  • Hamburgers on the grill- side of Brussel Sprouts

Healthy Eating On a Budget - ExtraordinaryMommy.com

*NOTE- Plan your meals to be simple and within a clean eating regimen. This will cut down on the extra packaged goods you may want to buy. Stick to Meat-Veggies-(Rice/Potato/Pasta)-Fruit Dessert:

  • GF brownies- Costco ($8.99 for a pack of 3 mixes)
  • Ice cream (Breyers 2 for $5 when on sale)

Snack options (throughout the day or for lunch):

  • Watermelon ($3.99) comparable to the box of Cheez-Its ($3.99)
  • Strawberries ($2.99) comparable to the box of fruit snacks ($3)
  • Blueberries ($3.99) (when in season) comparable to Graham crackers ($3.99)
  • Tostitos and salsa (2 for $5 on sale)
  • Potato Chips-baked kind (2 for $5 on sale)
  • Apples and peanut butter($1) comparable to bag of M&Ms ($4)
  • Yogurt

Healthy Eating on a Budget - ExtraordinaryMommy.comDrinks: We drink milk and water. No soda and not even juice (this is a big money saver)!  Since we juice our own stuff, I don’t feel the need to buy juice. Also, I do not feel like alcohol should get added to the food budget. I keep it in the “Entertainment” category of our family budget.  Shopping lists for the week: *All prices may vary by location, but these are accurate based on my local stores.

  • Trader Joes:

Trader Joes has the best price on produce ANYWHERE. And most of the time they have a regular option as well as organic. Their bananas are cheaper than any other store- my accountant husband has made the brutal calculation. Even Costco, who can have great prices on bulk items tends to be pricier for their fruit, unless the berries are in season. Pears, apples, kiwi, celery, oranges, and avocados are the same or cheaper than Costco, but Trader Joes has a more organic selection-SCORE! I prefer organic but it isn’t my hill to die on if they don’t have it. I just give my fruits and veggies a good wash before juicing them or eating them for my snack. Don’t have a Trader Joes? Hit up your local farmers market! They usually have the best deals on produce and it’s LOCAL! I ONLY buy my fresh produce from Trader Joes and the Trader Joes brand of Oreos (that they also have in GF) for $2.99 and GF for $3.99. Okay, and maybe their $3 bottle of wine. I leave the store spending $20 and keep in mind I juice a few times a week so that will hold me over for one week.

  • Costco:

Costco is my biggest expense- SHOCKER! But I am able to get most of my big staple items and really save while doing it. Now I just need to invest in a second freezer.

  • Breakfast Bars-pack of 24 ($8.99),
  • 7lb bag of organic carrots($7.99)
  • 4lb organic beef ($4.49lb),
  • organic chicken breast ($4.99lb)
  • 2 ½-gallons of organic milk ($7.99)
  • 2 loaves GF bread or whole grain bread ($6.49)
  • 15 Chobani yogurt pack ($13.50)
  • 1lb organic salad pack ($4.99)
  • Brussel sprouts ($3.99),
  • Asparagus ($3.99)
  • Broccoli ($3.99)

 I usually spend about $100 when I go into Costco for just food but because this stuff is in bulk and usually organic, it will last me 2 weeks. So that is $50 a week. The meat really racks up the bill, but it’s the price you pay for organic. I feel like the meat is worth the splurges so I just look away from the price tag.

  •  Local grocery store i.e. Target:

Lunch meat, canned goods, GF waffles or regular waffles ($3.99), ice cream (2 for $5 on sale), cheese, pasta, pasta sauce, chips etc… Total at Target is usually $40 for a week Grand Total:  So, between those three stores to feed my family of 3-4, I spend about $110 on food every week for 5 meals. We usually have one night of leftovers, and the other night is reserved for eating out. This is with no coupons and not really keeping up great with the sales. I do not plan my menu around the sales. *Tips for the distracted shopper (hand raised!):

  • Stick to your list – I know this sounds so basic, but really! If you have a good list and know that those items will get you by for the week, don’t spend another $20 on extra items. It is so easy to do, but there goes the “healthy food budget”.
  • Stay to the ends of the aisles - I once read this tip and started paying attention to the stores to see if most items I needed were on the ends. They were!! There is the occasional random spice or mustard that may be mid-aisle, but generally, the staples and sale items are on display on the ends or near the end.
  • Don’t buy every item that is on sale - I sometimes do this. Oh! Worcestershire sauce is 2 for $5!  Well #1, you most likely won’t use 2 bottles anytime soon and you just spent an additional $2.50 that you didn’t HAVE to spend to get that sale. Also, unless you are out of the item completely, don’t buy it until the next trip, when it is planned for on the list.
  • Don’t take your husband - He complains about our expenses the most, but when he gets in the grocery store it’s like open season. I probably spend $20-$50 more when he is with me or if I just send him running to the store “for 2 things”…famous last words.

It is possible to feed your family clean and organic food without draining your wallet. You just have to be smart, find your staple items, and maybe make a few more stops to do it!

BIO:

Andrea Rowley

Andrea Rowley is a work-at-home mom. She is a part-time hairstylist and loves being able to spend her days with her energetic 2 year-old, Graham. She lives in Greenville, SC, but is a mid-westerner at heart, originally from Ohio. Her husband of 3 years is an accountant, so staying on top of the family finances is a priority. For this family of 3, focusing on eating healthy, bike riding on the weekends, and doing Pinterest-inspired projects around the house take up their spare time.  She loves writing on her blog, To Love Beauty which covers topics from beauty, to food, to parenting. You can find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andrea.s.rowley and on Twitter: @ToLoveBeauty

 

 

 

Yellow Car! Beating the Kids at their Own Game

Yellow Car!

I’m in the car by myself and I just shouted that silly phrase out loud.

Yellow Car!

Another one zoomed by, and I cannot stop.  It’s like a nervous twitch.

If you’re smiling, laughing or even… like me … crying, you have kids who play this game while riding in the car with you.  If you have no idea of which I’m writing, then good for you.  I’m jealous.

Yellow Car! (I’m not alone now)

Yellow car

No, Cooper, that doesn’t count, the car has to be moving.  You cannot get credit for a “yellow car” if it’s parked in someone’s driveway.  I love that the 8-year old Surfer look-a-like thinks that he can just memorize where all of the yellow cars are located throughout St. Louis and anticipate the next “wave” of yellow cars to get credit.  This is a competition, we need rules.

Yellow Car!

No, that’s a bus.

Yellow Car!

Taxi, doesn’t count.

Yellow Car!

That’s a Land Mover from Caterpillar.  That’s not a car.  Come on, you two.  Very simple concept.  It has to be yellow.  It has to be a car.  It has to have its motor running.

So, now that the rules are established, we get to the point system.  Each time your family enters the vehicle within close proximity of your residence (Garage, Car Port, Driveway, On Street Parking, etc), the game begins.  One point for each “Yellow Car” exclamation, most points before returning to your residence wins.  Ties go to the driver who is normally ME, so that’s my rule.  I’ve also explored thumb wrestling, but that ended in torn ligaments and a visit to the ER.  Well, that’s what it sounded like happened from the way my kids started bickering, so the conclusion was any “tie” argument is a point for ME.  I love playing the dual role of competitor and umpire.  Awesome Sauce!  The two back-seaters hate it when I say that, which I belt out after I win an official game.

Yellow Car!

Where, Dad?

Right there, at the stoplight.  Jeep.

Come On, Dad.  You’re in the front seat.  You have the advantage.  Double Digit Daughter (10-yr old) growing more agitated.

How do you figure?  I’m driving, focused on the road with your safety in mind as the most important part of my job.  Oh by the way, Yellow Car!

Come on, Dad.  That doesn’t count.  That man just got into his car in the parking lot.  Car wasn’t turned on.   He didn’t have his seat belt on yet.  Son joining daughter and growing more heated while turning up the AC (Agitation Club).

I’m calling for a booth review.  We’re going to go ask him if he puts his seat belt on before or after starting the car.  If before, I’ll forfeit two points.  If after, I get double points.  Deal?

“Deal,” says the son.  “This is embarrassing,” says the daughter.

Man pulls out of his parking spot, inches down the aisle and whoops, I calmly cut him off.  Window rolls down.

Excuse me, sir.  Quick poll we’re taking.  Which act do you perform first?  Start your car or put your seat belt on?  Don’t worry, I’m not a Police Officer although I probably appear to be by my intimidating appearance, the fact I have two kids in the back seat with one hiding her face and the words “ExtraordinaryMommy.com” sprawled across the back window.  So, start the car or put on the seat belt?  Which do you perform first?

Ummm… I start the car first.  Can you move now?  I’m kind of in a hurry.

Sure thing sir, thanks for taking our poll.

I tap the accelerator to clear his path, put the car in park, and scream Awesome Sauce!  2 points for me.  What’s the score?

5 to 2 to 2, Dad, but the game is not over, so you can save your “Awesome Sauce.”

Well, I guess we can go home now.

What???!!! I thought we were running errands, shouts an extremely disheartened pair of sore losers.  We haven’t been inside one store yet.  Mom gave us a list of things to do.

Nope, we’re done now.  We’ll be home in a few minutes.  Oh, and one more thing.

Yellow Car!!!  Right there, just pulled into the parking spot vacated by that other Yellow Car. Awesome Sauce!

Delaney under her breath, “We need a new game.”

“Yah, no kidding” says her kid brother.

Yes! I win.

Sincerely,

A Dad with a Plan

I Suggest You Show Up

It is a strange thing to travel for work when your ‘work’ in this space includes attending conferences that allow you to learn, connect with friends you love, meet people face to face for the first time who you’ve known virtually for months or years and network with potential partners and clients who have a hand in growing your business exponentially.

It is a see-saw of give and take, commitment and reward. Every time you choose to leave your family, the business you are growing, you must weigh the cost, you must assess the potential benefits.

For more than seven years now, I have had this debate with myself multiple times a year – as conference times roll around – should I stay or should I go?

This time it was BlogHer 2014, but it is always an event I want to attend.

BlogherBloggy Boot Camp (now: Women Get Social), TypeAParent, Mom 2.0, Blissdom, EVO (Blissdom was my first ever conference in this space – both it and EVO are no longer)

And then New Media Expo, SXSW, AdTech, WOMMA, SOBCon. All events I’ve attended, but with a different goal in mind.

While at home, sitting in my office, surrounded by stacks of work, a full inbox, a slew of video that must be shot and edited, posts that must be written, clients that need my attention, deadlines that need to be met, children that require feeding, taxiing, uniform cleaning, cheering on at sporting events, hugging, love and attention, my heart urges me to stay put.

The financial commitment is not a marginal one. At first glance you think conference ticket, flight and hotel – all of which can be minimized if you are speaking at most events, live within driving distance or are sharing a room with a friend. But there are also taxi fares from airports, to and from meals, meals themselves that may not be included, and of course the odd coffee or cocktail as you meet up with people.

But before you stack the deck against yourself, feeling overwhelmed by the costs – to your time, your family and your wallet, consider something I firmly believe:

There is no substitute for showing up.

There is no substitute for investing in yourself.

There is no substitute for hugging a long time friend, for looking her in the face and allowing her very specific form of inspiration and kindness to flow from her heart to yours.

Nadia Carriere

Jenny Ingram

There is no substitute for sitting in a room full of your people: the ones who get you – who understand your hours, your workload, your writer’s block, your form of pay structure, your clientele, your insides and your outsides.

Andrea Fellman, Nicole Feliciano, Kristin Swenson, Nadia Carriere, Erika Diamond

There is no substitute for putting a face with a name after three months or three years.

There is no substitute for the partnerships that can be formed in the hallways, the expos, the coffee shops, the lobby bars and the late-night gab sessions over cupcakes and wine.

There is no substitute for meeting someone new, forging a new connection, understanding how someone new operates, owns their space, wins on their platforms.

Riese Bernard - Autostraddle, her girlfriend Abby and Me

My Co-Presentor from Pathfinder Day – Riese Bernard of Autostraddle.com, her girlfriend Abby and Me

There is no substitute for reaching out to new contacts, in person, to showcase the very specific brand of you.

There is no substitute for the energy that exists when a bunch of like minds get together to exchange ideas.

Without fail, every conference I have attended over the course of the last seven years has paid for itself in some capacity. Not in the following week. Not always in the following month, but always within the following year. An introduction will turn into a paying campaign, a hug will become a partnership, someone I meet might send a message months later that turns into a book, an inspired late-night idea will become work that I do for months.

And more than all of this, inspiration.

From each event, from each conference, I walk away better.  Better for the conversations, better for the ideas, better for the willingness of the women who surrounded me to share, to encourage to push and support. They offer nuggets of wisdom as we talk, they happily share.

I return home overwhelmed, but full. It is like being hungover with happy. I’ve learned over the years to allow the energy to settle, to write when I can, to do the work that is necessary and to settle in with my small people.

I know it isn’t possible to attend every event. And I would never recommend you do that either – the see-saw of commitment and reward must be weighed, but find the events that work for you….

And Show Up.

Show up for Inspiration.

Show up for Connections.

Show up for Your People.

Show up for You.

Sangria Tastes Like Summer: A Soiree with Eppa Sangria

85 degrees is the perfect temperature. Blue skies. Sun shining. If the ocean is nearby and I can hear the waves, I am one happy girl.

Now surround me by girlfriends.

This is bliss. This is Summer.

I’ve just described the taste of Sangria.

Sangria tastes like Summer.

Eppa Sangria Soriee - Lucrecer Braxton Photo

Eppa Sangria Soriee – Lucrecer Braxton Photo

Would you believe I had no idea I loved Sangria as much as I do until recently? I’ve tried it before, but there is something remarkable about Eppa Sangria. It is the only organic premium bottled sangria made with real superfruit juices. My favorite is their white: a blend of peach, mango, mangosteen & blood orange. It is both sweet and tangy, yet it was so refreshing. It has three times the antioxidants of white wine – and their red has twice the antioxidants of red wine.

Eppa Sangria Soriee - Lucrecer Braxton Photo

Eppa Sangria Soriee – Lucrecer Braxton Photo

This Sangria is available at Whole Foods stores nationwide and through the month of August, Eppa Sangria will be donating a portion of their sales – up to $25,000 to the Whole Planet Foundation to fund poverty alleviation around the globe. Amazing. Every purchase you make and enjoy benefits someone in need. This is good.

Eppa Sangria Soriee - Lucrecer Braxton Photo

Eppa Sangria Soriee – Lucrecer Braxton Photo

Last week, I was a guest at Eppa’s first ever Sangria Sundown Soiree. A beautiful event co-hosted by the Whole Planet FoundationOne2One Network, and Soybu an active fashion apparel line for every woman. As I was wearing something from the Soybu’s line  – as were many of the women attending – it was so gorgeous to see how comfortable everyone was in their own skin.

EppaSangria Ann Imig and Danielle Smith.jpgSome wore dresses (my good friend Ann Imig and I wore the same dress – the Eden dress in black –  but styled it differently – adding distinct accessories) others wore active wear, and everyone looked so amazing and happy. 

Soybu’s goal is for you and I to feel at peace with our bodies…to transition from the yoga studio to the street and still feel beautiful and stylish. They have active and lifestyle clothing – the most comfortable dresses (you know I LOVE) sweaters, wraps, yoga pants, athletics tops and all kinds of goodness. Two more of my favorites: the dress Jenny Ingram is wearing here:

Jenny Ingram

And look at Ana Flores in the active gear. I cannot get enough.

Ana Flores and Me at Eppa Snagria Soiree

Because I love you (and clearly Soybu does too)… here is a promo code for Soybu for 25% that lasts through September 24, 2014. Enter #NamastEPPA Enjoy!

Can I change the definition of Summer Soiree to ‘event where I spent quality time with people I adore while enjoying Sangria in the most comfy clothing’?

Thank you to one of my favorite people on the planet – Barbara Jones- and her amazing One2One Network (in case you do not know: One2One Network is a leading social influencer network that has been connecting influencers with brands since 2008. They pride themselves on having long-standing, quality relationships with social influencers and matching the right voices with the right brand partners) as well as Eppa Sangria, Soybu and Whole Planet.

One2One, Soybu, Whole Planet

Disclosure: I’m honored to have partnered with Eppa Sangria, One2One Network and Soybu for their Soiree and this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

 

A Letter to My Husband on His Birthday

14,235.

I know how you feel about numbers. That’s how many days you’ve had so far. Impressive yes? I think so. 39 looks pretty darn good on you.

Family - Jeff is 39

But you know what looks most amazing? How you look as a dad.

JeffKids

Do you know that I remember the exact moment that I realized, even before we were married, that you were going to be an incredible father? I know how you love it when I’m right, so for your birthday, my little extra gift to you? I nailed this one.

Jeff, on this birthday, I want you to know what a gift you are to Delaney and Cooper. You aren’t simply their Dad. You are their friend, their mentor, their teacher, their coach. I watch how they look up to you, how they seek your approval, how they light up when you enter a room and how the sun dims just a touch when you are away.

Jeff Coach

You are living your dream right now as a guy who gets to spend as much time as possible with his kids. In fact, you just might be a great big kid yourself. I don’t know another dad who lives to PLAY with his kids as much as you do. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter….it doesn’t matter the season, it doesn’t matter the game, you just want to be WITH them, you want to be teaching them, you want to be making them laugh.

I see so much of them in you. Delaney shares your sense of humor, your silly faces, your desire to be strong on the outside and soft on the inside. The ‘no hugs policy’? She gets that from you. Cooper’s love of baseball (and really all sports), his math-whiz mind, his go-go-go and inability to sit still, his playful nature – it is all you.

Smith Funny

I don’t know anyone who makes their family the priority you always have.

As you enter your final year in your 30’s, know this – you are doing it right. You have two small people who, quite literally believe you can do anything.

And they are right.

You are their hero. Continue to find joy in every moment with them. Never forget all of the crazy-special-amazing we see in you.

For this year, I wish you nothing but the wisdom and peace that comes with approaching 40 (welcome!).

Big love,

Danielle

Is Heaven For Real? 5 Ways to Talk to Kids About Life and Loss

Just more than two years ago, my husband’s uncle passed away. He was a full presence in my children’s world, a bigger-than-life man who we visited for every major holiday and who was never short on a quick hair tousle or a good-natured tease. They didn’t see him every weekend, but they SAW him, they felt him. They knew him. His passing was a surprise and it left a void. That void still exists.

This was the first loss our family had experienced. As their mother, I felt ill-equipped to help them navigate what was sure to be a rocky road.

How was I to answer the questions, the whys, I still struggle with as an adult?

Why did this happen?

Is Heaven for Real?

This week my small people and I had a conversation about this very topic. Together we watched a movie with a similar title, Heaven Is For Real, just before it was released on DVD. (It is now out and one I recommend you see.) With the opportunity to see it as a preview, we snuggled on the couch and watched the true story of four-year old Colton Burpo who claims to have visited Heaven during a near-death experience. Colton’s shares his amazing journey first with his father Todd, a Pastor – recounting details of things that happened before his birth – things he couldn’t possibly have known. The story challenges not only this family, but their community, to think deeply about what they know of life and death.

Heaven is for Real The Movie

As I sat, arms wrapped around my children, eight and ten years old, I couldn’t help but think of what little they know of life and death….and how important it is that I, as a parent, am delicate with them in how I talk to them about it.  It took me back two years, to our loss.

What did I do right? And what could I have done better?

As children sometimes do, they initially seemed perfectly fine, unmoved by the circumstances, even. We attended a Memorial Service for Uncle Denny. They shed no tears. They played with their cousins. They looked at pictures. They asked no questions there or on the way home.

But it all changed when we arrived home. As I walked in to their rooms individually to check on their PJ progress, I found them each on their floor in tears.

Why?

Is he in heaven?

I miss him.

I sat and held them. I know this was the right thing to do, but I know now there is more. And part of what I know came from talking to THEM after watching Heaven is for Real. For my 5 thoughts on ways to talk to your kids about life and loss….visit me over on SheKnows where I’m writing all about this...

I look forward to hearing your thoughts…

 

How to Keep Your Makeup Melt Free

Now that we’re in the heat of Summer, one of my major concerns is keeping my makeup fresh. There is nothing worse than devoting a solid ten minutes to applying makeup to only to sweat it all off in moments, right? So here are my top five tips for keeping melt free in the heat!

summer makeup tips

1. Go light!

My biggest tip is probably the most common sense. The reality is: sweat is inevitable. Keep your makeup light and don’t worry about sweating off layers. Try a BB Cream, tinted moisturizer, or DIY your own tinted moisturizer by mixing lotion with SPF and a pump of your regular liquid foundation to lighten up.

2. Try waterproof!

There are so many waterproof options out there: mascara, eyeliner, and eyeshadow are the most commonly found options, but Tarte has recently released a line of Amazonian clay waterproof makeup including concealer, blush and bronzer. I’ve tried out the blush and can attest that it holds up in the heat.

3. Don’t forget to prime!

Applying primer before your foundation is a great way to give your makeup extra staying power. My favorites include Smashbox’s Photo Finish Light Primer and Urban Decay’s Primer Potion.

4. Switch to stains.

Sticky glosses or cream blushes can feel like they slide right of your face in the heat and humidity. Try out a lip stain or stain blush for long-lasting color without the stickiness or goop.

5. Setting powder

Don’t forget to set your makeup with a light finishing or setting powder to “seal” your finished look. It will prevent touch-ups throughout the day and soak up any excess oil. My favorites? Mary Kay’s Translucent Loose Powder or inexpensive option,  Coastal Scent’s Silica Powder Spheres!

How do you prevent your makeup from melting?

Clearing our Voices: Watching The Voice on Tour

I am an excellent singer.

No, not in front of you. But completely alone…in my shower…in my car….I’m good. Christina Aguilera good. I swear. I can’t prove it to you because a) it only happens when I’m alone and b) it’s top secret….but pinky swear.

My small girl and her friends…well, they are a different story all together. They sing out loud, all the time, to every single song they know. And they truly are very good. That’s why it was beyond fun to have a date with my small girl and take her friends and their moms along to The Voice Tour Concert sponsored by Clear here in St. Louis this past weekend.

The Voice Mom Delaney

The Voice Tour - Girls

We have all been addicted to the show since its very first season. It could be the raw talent, the singer’s stories, the emotion they pour in to each and every performance, or the comedic timing of the judges.

The Voice Tour STL2

Or quite simply, it could be that the show is simply about one Clear thing: The Voice.

The Voice Tour STL1

I found myself mentally capturing moment after moment, almost smiling between tears as I watched the girls grab each other in excitement over each song, open their mouths with complete abandon to sing along, wave their hands in the air, and still find time to smile at me.

The Voice Tour STL Girls Sing

I’m keenly aware that there will come a time when my presence will feel out of place, when my small girl won’t pose for a picture for me, won’t grab my hand as we are walking to the car, won’t beg for just a taste of soda at dinner like her friends, won’t thank me over and over again for the ‘very best time’, she might even wish for me to be elsewhere. But for now, I’m grateful for glimpse after glimpse of the joy I was lucky enough to witness.

The only thing missing from this Voice Tour? Our favorite friend Chris Mann. Though I did see him tweet he’ll be joining the San Diego Voice Tour stop next Sunday, July 27th. For other tour stops….check out The Voice Tour concert page.

ChrisMann Danielle Blissdom 2012

Many, many, MANY thanks to Clear for not only sponsoring the tour, (you can follow the hashtag at #ClearVoice) but for the true gift of our concert experience. This was a night four girls and three moms won’t soon forget. You can find Clear on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram.

Disclosure: The tickets to The Voice Tour were a gift from Clear, though all thoughts and opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.

 

DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint With Only Two Ingredients

HI everyone! It’s Kasey from All Things Mamma here.  I’m here this month to share a fun, easy and cheap project to do with your kids while they’re home enjoying the summer!

With the mild temperatures here in the Midwest lately, it’s been great to spend so much time outside with the kiddos! We’re riding bicycles, swinging on the swing set and doing lots of art projects outside. All of my kids – no matter the age – love to use sidewalk chalk but only until it gets down to about 1/4 of the normal size. So, we have lots of little pieces of chalk in our chalk bucket. It seems like such a waste, until we decided to turn all those little pieces into paint!

DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint with Only Two Ingredients

Mixing up your own batch of sidewalk chalk paint doesn’t require lot of ingredients or time and it’s super simple to make! Here’s how!

DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint with Only Two Ingredients

Take all of your broken sidewalk chalk pieces and divide them up into like colors. Once divided, take one color and place the chalk pieces into a ziploc bag and crush up really fine with a hammer. This is a perfect job for the kids!

DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint with Only Two Ingredients

Once the chalk has turned into dust, place it in a cup or container.

DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint with Only Two Ingredients

Add 1 teaspoon of water at a time until the chalk dust resembles a thicker paint. Depending on how much chalk dust you have in each container will depend on how much water to add. Don’t add too much or it will be really watery. But, if you do – just crush up some more chalk and add it in. No worries!

DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint with Only Two Ingredients

That’s it! It’s really that easy and doesn’t require a trip to the store for special ingredients! Now you’re ready to give your little ones a paint brush and let them go to town!

DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint with Only Two Ingredients

 

DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint with Only Two Ingredients

What’s great is that this paint won’t stain your clothes or skin. It washes right off with water and hoses off your concrete with ease! I love that this sidewalk chalk paint dries nice and bright and vivid AND it doesn’t some off on your shoes or feet when you walk over it once it’s dried, so I let the kids use it right out front on our sidewalks and driveway.

DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint with Only Two Ingredients

This simple DIY sidewalk chalk paint with only two ingredients is sure to keep the kids busy and having fun all summer long!

Enjoy!!

Coffee Shopping

I don’t drink coffee.

I now know what’s it’s like to be a true foreigner.  I now know how scary it is when everyone else is speaking an indiscernible language.  A few words would be spoken.  Laughter would erupt.  Satisfaction would creep across all of their faces.  I had no clue what was going on.

For the first time in my life, I entered…

A Coffee Shop.

Yesterday morning, I was trying to be nice, pick up a couple of beverages for two of my colleagues.

Coffee

My wife, Danielle? Even she drinks coffee….

I approached a pleasant young woman playing the dual role of order taker/cashier and I asked “May I have 2 coffees, to go please?”

Then.  Came.  The questions.

Grande?  Si por favor (I can speak other languages).  Iced or Steamed?  Huh, I thought all coffee was hot.  Isn’t an Iced coffee called… a Popsicle?  Let’s go with steamed.  Cream and Sugar?  Sure, who doesn’t like that?  Both please.  How many honeys? Well in college, I had… Wait a minute, how many honeys in the coffee?  Heck if I know, Isn’t honey a liquid?  Do I need to define the 3 states of matter to this person?  Wouldn’t the proper question be “How much honey?”  Sir, there are honey packets.  Yah, I had packets of honeys in college… darnit, there goes that flashback again… or maybe that was a dream… anyway, 1 honey please.  I’m married.

The man behind me interrupts.  Are you almost finished?  No sir, but I visited Helsinki once.  I turn back to the Bilingual Coffee Order Taker who states, “I think he wants to know if you’re almost done ordering.”   Ooooh, I thought he was speaking “coffee.”  I turn back around to engage my newest fan and state “Same answer as before.  No sir, but I visited Helsinki once.”  Shockingly, he wasn’t amused.  Boy, someone should get him something to drink.

Back to my coffee class, okay Madame Professor, what else?  Would you like an ice cube, sir?  I thought I already said “steamed.” “Yessir, but we have a steamed option that includes an ice cube.”  This “Matters” of course because you may want to cool down said coffee or maybe you really do want to conduct a science experiment, liquid coffee plus solid iced cube plus steam equals the 3 states of … Matter of fact, miss, I will take an ice cube in each of these Grande, Steamed, Cream and Sugar Filled with 1 one honey coffees to go.  I’m on a roll… Would you like anything else with that?  She stares at me… along with the other 21 persons behind me that now seem to be a little agitated, clearly they need to drink more de-caf.  That’s my question to ask you, sir. Oh, sorry.  Go ahead, your turn.  She peers through me, would you like anything else with that?

Can I have one small cup of water, preferably cold, ice cubes are optional, go ahead and surprise me.

It’s for a good friend of mine who doesn’t drink coffee.