What’s Up?

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Hey there….

 

I wanted to do a little something different for this post….Not actually write anything!

 

So, here:

4 Non Blonds

And…..Enjoy!

Happy New Year-2018 Already!?!

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Holy Cow, Friends!

I can’t believe it’s already January 2nd!  Where does the time go?

I have been working on a Christmas post, saving it as I went and BAM! it passed me by!  So, the only thing to do is scrap it and move on.

 

Up next…

2018…

The Plan.

I’ve got one.

Do you?

Image result for 2018

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How to build your safe pantry

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Everyone knows that with food sensitivities and special diets that eating WILL become a chore! However, I believe that preparation is the key to success for your health!

You couldn’t possibly be able to come home late from work and put together a quick meal if you’re gluten-free and all you have is regular pasta in your pantry!

Recipe for disaster!

 

You need a plan!

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Dollarama Grocery Challenge- Budgeting Series Part 2

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Hi There!

Welcome to the Dollarama Grocery Budget Challenge!  Where you eat lunch, dinner and dessert or snacks, from foods purchased at the Dollarama!

I thought I would continue from my last post with a few examples to help you get your creative mind in action!

I know for a fact that there are many reasons why planning for a week can be hard, and budget is the Number 1 reason on my list.  I want to be able to make whatever I want, when I want it, but there are too many things that make that an impossibility! So, that makes your grocery budget and its flexibility( or lack there of) incredibly important!

So, I am going to assume that healthy eating is important, and that you have no specific dietary restrictions other than cutting out the crap!

I am also going to assume the you are short on time as well as cash, so getting what you can all in one shop is helpful.  Generally, I wouldn’t advocate that kind of grocery shopping because splitting your shopping to get you the best quality and the best price are very important tips to keep in mind. Plus Dollarama doesn’t carry foods like cow’s milk, eggs or cheese. (But almond and soy milk are available!For $2 a carton!)

But this is just one week, and it’s a game. So there!

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Running out- Budgeting Series

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Dollarama Challenge

I am challenging you today!   We are nearing the end of the month, money is tight and you are still hungry!   Not many people think outside the grocery store box when it comes to grocery shopping.  that is usally why people complain about how much food costs!

Here in Canada we are not blessed with many chains to choose from that offer more bites for our dollars.  I envy blog posts for those in the U.S. that can shop for a family of five for a whole month and spend $200!

There are a few chains that have lower prices, but buyer beware: longevity of these foods are not a consideration!!  I also have to warn you that sometimes you can find meat cheap, but it may not be Canadian.  This is an issue for a whole different post that I may never get to.

Any-who, back to the stores* that sell food here in Ottawa (not going over to Quebec):

  • Loblaws
    • Independant
    • Great Canadian Superstore
    • NG cash and carry
    • No Frills
    • T&T (Asian)
  • Metro
    • Food Basics
  • Sobey’s
    • FreshCo(Price Chopper)
  • Produce Depot(which is exclusive to Ottawa)(Produce and meats are cheaper not dairy or shelf stable items)
  • Giant Tiger
  • Whole Foods
  • Costco
  • Dollar Tree
  • Dollarama

 

  • Note that there are major store names with the black bullet point, and other names with a white bullet point, well the white ones are all owned by the name above it with a black bullet point.
  • Those names italicized are the cheapest available.

 

 

Back to my point!  These are all available here but most are expensive enough to make you sweat- a lot if you have to pinch your pennies! Yup, I made the joke, there are no pennies left in Canada!!

So, challenge you to make as many meals as you can from shopping at Dollarama!

Using the free download below, plan your meals for a week using what you have in your pantry and what you can get from the Dollarama.  Try it out!!  Share your haul! Post me a picture of your menu and the items you purchased to my Facebook page!  Let’s keep this conversation going!

Menu Planning

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In our busy lives it’s really hard to eat well and on a modest budget.  If you have the right tools you can make it easier!  That’s why I’m here!  I can help!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent many hours scouring the internet and subsequently many fabulous blogs that tout the benefits of meal planning.  Well, I hate doing it!  I am terrible at it!  You sit down with every cookbook in your arsenal and a few dozen of your favourite blogs and recipe sites open on your computer or tablet and try to fill in a whole month’s worth of meals.

The hard part is trying to anticipate everyone’s schedules.  Then there’s those days when nothing goes right!  How about a sudden snow storm! Or the very worst thing to happen to your family…viruses!  Nothing kills a menu plan and a fridge full of perishable food more than a virus screaming its way through your family!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I totally understand why it works and how it should work.  I find it the same as an actual budget- really hard to stick to.

I like variety, and spontaneity and find that a month already mapped out is constricting!  I actually look at the plan for the day, week and month and decide that I don’t like any of those options!  Can I get any more self-defeating?  The whole purpose is to ACTUALLY save time AND money!  I know I need to work on this!

 

Life is a work in progress!

 

So, that being said I am including a free menu planning printable for you to use!  I hope you find it useful!  I purposely designed it to be one week and only one week!  That way there is less pressure!  And the bonus is after a few weeks, you can shuffle them and create new menus!

Weekly Menu Plan

This is my newest creation!  I designed a menu plan that works for one week!  It contains a shopping list, a pantry list, a legend, and a future planning list.  Inside there are detailed instructions on how to use this file!

I hope you like it, but if you feel that there is something missing that could be uber useful, let me know and I can add it in!  Leave me a comment with a picture of your chart! I’d love to see what you’ve done and what you’ve been eating!

How to Start a Successful Blog

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Seriously? How many of these posts are out there?

It seems like everyone who has a blog that has thousands of followers have posts just like this.  It also seems that they are the odd percentage of bloggers that post their monthly income reports to show staggering amount of money earned just by doing (point 1; point 2; point 3).
So, here I am with my little beginner blog trying to read ALL THOSE DAMN POSTS!! And it occurred to me there seems to be one large mistake that they all make…

HOW DOES IT ACTUALLY WORK?

 

I know that list of this app, or that affiliate program, or that plug in is in fact useful for us to know. But, I want to know how does it actually get you money?  Because the “really good ones” cost money, which i don’t have.



All the helpful tips and suggestions are fab, but I must be daft when it comes to the odd inner workings of blogs, webs and income strategies, because it makes me more confused after reading them all.

I just spent all of last night reading each and every income report for the amazing blog makingsenseofcents, and am in awe of the dollar amounts I see there every month!  There is information about what she does to earn that, but how in the hell am I going to do that?

 

It also occurs to me that the big bucks are being rolled in on e-books and e-courses that teach specifically how to blog, or affiliate market, or whatever else!  Is that the clue?  I don’t really need to worry about how to blog specifically as long as I can sell you a class that teaches you?  That can’t be right, obviously. I mean many of these amazing ladies have been working their blogs for years!  It has to pay off, all that experience.

I know that this (slight) amount of frustration is coming from my impatience…I want to see dollars accumulating!  I want to see responses to my posts and feedback!  I want to see followers!

 

Breath….I am impatient!  So Sorry!!

 

I will figure it out….now I need to understand why I don’t see any ads from the Adsense account I linked to this blog.  Any ideas what I did wrong?  I went through the application, gave the proper web address…now what?

The Great Diaper Rash Spray That I designed!

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This post contains affiliate links!

 

Hey there, Momma’s!

 

I wanted to boast a little about a product that I designed and have been testing!  It’s none other than the No Touchy! Diaper Rash Spray.

I am sure that many of you have been tortured when your littles’ get a bad bout of diaper rash and your forced to rub thick, white globs of poisonous petroleum based products!  Then try not to cry when you have inevitably caused your baby more pain because of touching and pulling their delicate skin!

Let me tell you a little story.   My second son had an allergy to milk based formula, which of course we didn’t know right away!  So, his rashes were awful!  And to top things off his rashes became worse when we used anything with high levels of zinc!  He would see me coming with the tins and tubes of white glop and he would cry and repeat over and over “No Touchy, No Touchy, Mama, peeeese, no touchy.”  What’s a Mom to do then? I get teary eyed just remembering his little voice!

Fast forward a few years, and I had an epiphany!  I just wish it had come to me sooner!  I could make a product and know for certain that it was the best option possible because I would use only plant-based organic products!

I found a great company in Oregon, but after a year I couldn’t use them anymore, as they couldn’t ship across the border!  Then I found a great company based out of Toronto…perfect!  So, after tinkering with the ingredients I felt confident enough to try it out on my third baby that had just been born.  Eureka!  Not only did it work, it worked overnight with one application!  The more ferocious the rash the longer it did take, but there were no tears, no tantrums, no begging!  Even now, as my youngest is 5 and learning to take care of his bathroom needs, there are inevitably a few “misses” and a rash ensues.  Spray on this product and bam! by morning it’s gone!

I felt so strongly that I was on to something that I took a correspondence course in aromatherapy to learn more about essential oils!  It was fabulous!

 

It’s Not Only for Diapers!

 

I have used this to help a child (and myself many times!!) heal burns to the hands from cooking.  Heat rashes in the underarms, skin rubbing on thighs and even after a little bit too much exuberance with not enough lubricant (wink-wink)!  This heals them all!!

 

Yes, I am tooting my own horn!  Sure.  Why not?

 

I have had friends buy this from me, and have experienced the same benefits!  So, why not head over to Amazon and buy one for yourself!  Try it out and leave me a review!

 

Thanks Sylvie!

How to Treat Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis WITH Food

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Note:  Please do not consider this medical advice in lieu of direction from your doctor!  This is what worked for me.  It may not be right for you!

 

After my energy recovery from having my third child failed to actually recover I spent many hours on the web trying to come up with answers.  of course, as many of you know this is the most DANGEROUS way to gain knowledge!

I had false self-diagnoses of a myriad of diseases that had me dying within the year!  So, as any self respecting dying woman would do, I went to my doctor to have her confirm the bad news!

Thankfully, the news never came.

It turned out that one of the two thyroid hormones was drastically low.  If any of you reading this knows a thing or two about thyroid hormones you’ll know that they can be fixed with synthetic thyroid replacement…of course my problem was one was low and one was high!  Not quite normal parameters for a definitive diagnosis of Hypothyroid disorder.

So what does that mean?  Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

 

This is not a thyroid disorder exactly, but an immune system disorder confusing the thyroid genetic make-up with foreign invaders to your body and attacking it.  This causes hypothyroid symptoms, inflammation of the thyroid, unexplained weight gain, inability to lose weight, temperature management issues, severe fatigue.  Anyway, you get the point!

Then with a diagnosis in hand, you then ask “What now?”

The basic recommendation is to avoid gluten…at all costs!  Gluten has a genetic make-up almost identical to your thyroid so every time you eat just one cookie, or one muffin or bagel, you send a rush of antibodies through your system to protect against the dangerous invader!  the more often you take this hit the more likely you are to have goiter, your thyroid swells and inhibits your ability to breathe, swallow or talk normally.  Your neck feels tight and the lump directly in front of your voicebox feels sore and pronounced. Not at all cool!

My choice then was adopt a Gluten-Free Diet!  

Did you know that prepared gluten-free foods cost a serious fortune?  Holy Baloney!

 

I ended up learning as much as I could over the years prior to this diagnosis because my body gave me different signs that I wasn’t digesting wheat very well. (Strange, huh? It was almost as though this was an early sign that I needed to stay away from gluten.  But why I didn’t stay on the diet that time is another story!)

While the local Bulk Barn had all I needed in ingredients, I needed an arsenal of recipes to learn from!  I couldn’t afford to eat the prepared foods all the time, so I would have to learn to  make my own.  I am still trying to find bread recipes that don’t feel and taste like eating a dry sponge!

As hard as it is to stick to this way of eating, I noticed a problem.

I didn’t feel better!

I tried adopting the Paleo Diet.  It emphasizes meats, produce and some grains.  There are Paleo purists that don’t consume certain produce, dairy or even certain “Gluten acceptable” grains, but this was really finicky for me.

I had a melt down!  You see, my early teen years were plagued by the self-induced horror that is anorexia.  I never sought professional help, but somehow managed to get through by getting tired of being hungry.  But, I never really healed mentally.

Having to be incredibly nit-picky about every little thing was causing “My Diet” to be “My Everything”.  I have kids, a husband, and extended family, a small business, and multiple things i’m working on as potential income strategies….and no time to have “My Food” consume my EVERY thought.  It makes me anxious and agitated, therefore the melt down!

I still felt lousy, and exhausted ALL.THE.TIME!

Researching further about how food was causing my body to react I realized that Hashimoto’s is not the only problem I am facing.  I am facing food sensitivities and systemic reactions that are giving my body constant upheavals.  I have signs of joint degeneration in my knees. Yup at 38, my knees are those of an 80 year old.  Great..

Why?

Diet.  Hmm….so what causes inflammation in the joints?   Animal Products.  Interesting.

Now, I have to stick to a Gluten-Free-Vegan Diet?  Stress causes more inflammation and now this diet causes me stress….

How do you explain to meat eating Europeans that there is more to a vegan diet than a bowl of lettuce?  or that the potato salad from KFC is not actually a salad?? (Breathe…focus…problem solve)

When I stick to it for more than three days…i feel it works.  My knees don’t hurt as much, I have energy to spare, most times…and my gut health has improved!  I figured out a way to make it work without anxiety…keep the foods i need to eat, easy to prepare and ready to go!

A little bit of work in advance helps me make the right choice. And bringing my own food with my everywhere helps, too!

A Cheap Mom’s Guide To Vacationing in Vermont

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Vermont, In a Week!

For the third year in a row, my family and I packed up the car and headed down to Vermont for a vacation.  Every year we noticed how expensive this beautiful state is and every year we say the same thing “We should not be vacationing here!”

Well, that may not be entirely true!  It takes careful planning and prep work.  If you are creative enough and happened to choose your time during the warm season, then cheap may be an easier option than you think!

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