Columbus Overview

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Last week when we went to Columbus the weather was absolutely horrible, so it was really convenient that my mother-in-law and I decided to go shopping at the gorgeous, indoor, Polaris mall. Our husbands on the other hand, we trapped at the Ohio State football game where the weather was so bad there was a game delay, leading them to eventually come back to the hotel and watch the game on TV.

GLIMCHER MALLS

 The Columbus Zoo play area at Polaris Fashion Place is one of the many experience-shopping options available for families at the Columbus mall. Courtesy of Glimcher Realty Trust

While they still had a great time, I feel that my MIL and I got the better portion. The Polaris mall has an amazing variety of stores that we don’t get here on the East side of the Ohio Valley. Not to mention, they had a huge play area for the kids that Sophie totally loved. The most annoying part though, as is the pet peeve of every place place, is there there were bigger kids, totally disregarding the height limit for the play place, bullying the small kids. Like a good helicopter mom, I followed Sophie around and made sure no punks pushed her out of the way or yelled at her.

Later that evening , J and I were able to sneak in a spontaneous date night, as the rest of our crew wanted to dine in and order take out. We went to the Bonefish grille for the first time and it was delicious. We both got fish tacos, giving us a feel like  we were on vacation. It was a fun weekend, and I am glad we went even though it is always tough to travel with young kids.

Day Trip to Columbus

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I am really excited for a little trip we are taking to Columbus tomorrow! A few months ago, our uncle got tickets to an Ohio State game for his birthday, and so it was decided that the men would go to the game, while the ladies [and babies] did some shopping. We have a hotel downtown and are planning on going out altogether, after the game, for a nice dinner.

It is so nice to get away, even if you’re only going a couple hours West. I love a change of scenery, plus my mother in law is good company. Hopefully the girls will behave, and we will all have a great time.

Be on the lookout for cute pictures next week! Until then, Have a great weekend!

GO BUCKEYES.

Grocery Hacks

Just last week I posted about why we eat organic. One of the ways we can afford to do that on a low, single income is by hunting for marked down items. Guys, this is the easiest tip I can give you! Yes, my husband is an extreme couponer, but this is the trick I use when I go to the grocery store alone [trust me, I never use coupons…] Maybe its because organic foods obviously lack the preservatives found in other foods [expiring sooner] which is why I can always find marked down food for a fraction of the cost. No matter what the reason, this mama is happy.

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Get familiar with your grocery stores “mark down” stickers. We shop at Kroger, and luckily their stickers are bright yellow which makes finding these items a lot easier to spot. The more familiar you become with your store, the quicker you will find these steals!

Be open to trying new things and different brands. The other day I bought a freezer meal containing egg whites and potatoes. Its was disgusting. Luckily, I only paid $2 for that regularly $6 priced meal. On the other hand, my husband picked up that burrito bowl for me the other day, and it was delicious! I usually prefer Justin’s almond butter, but we found the brand pictured below in our store a few days ago. Almond butter can be up to $8 nowadays so I didn’t mind trying a new brand for more than half the cost.

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Take your time in the grocery store. Whenever I take baby to the store with me, its usually right AFTER nap time. She’s well-rested, usually has a snack, and doesn’t mind people-watching while I shop. This lets me scour the aisles for the deals I want. I know shopping with kids isn’t always convenient, but with a little bit of planning [mostly, bringing snacks] it can be a pleasant outing, and a nice way to kill time until Dad gets home.

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Close out items are another great way to save money. This usually means the store is getting rid of that line of product, so don’t get too attached! These labels will look different from the “mark down” stickers so be on the look out. I have found so many things on close out: teas, detergent, kitchen utensils, even Burt’s Bees cosmetics!

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If and when I think of any more hacks to save you money, I’ll create a “part 2” but until then, be on the look out for these little taggies next time you’re in the store! You can still save money while trying to eat and live better.

Why We Eat Organic, Whole Foods

Ok, so some times we don’t always eat organic whole foods [hello pregnancy cravings…] but as the meal planner for my household, I try to make sure we are eating as many organic whole foods as possible. I try to stick to an 80/20 rule. 80 percent of our meals and daily snacks should be organic whole foods and 20 percent allows for grabbing food while we’re on the run, being invited over to dinner at some one else’s house, etc.

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But WHY? Why is it so important? Despite growing up in California for 20 years, my family didn’t really try to make a healthy food transition until I was in middle school. I probably don’t know the real reason why my mom made the conversion, but what I do remember is my brother and I struggling with ADHD. We were 12 and 10, and being put on adult doses of medications like ritalin, strattera, and adderall. I remember coming across several articles and books at the time linking poor diet, primarily of processed foods, leading to attention deficit disorders. I’m sure there we other reasons my mom made the change, but that sticks out in my mind as a big one. DSC_2177

Let’s flash forward to my adult life. My weight over the past 6 years has fluctuated enormously bouncing in between 130-178. Yes, 178 was my highest, and I was sitting at that weight when I became pregnant. Luckily, while I was pregnant, my body burned that fat as fuel to sustain the life of my child. Also, the month before I got pregnant, I switched to a clean eating diet that is very similar to the Paleo movement. So, I set myself up to have healthy eating habits while I was pregnant and didn’t gain too much weight throughout that 9 month process. What motivated me to take on clean eating, besides being at my highest weight? Well, being overweight was the motivation for me to do some research on how I should lose the weight. I didn’t want to cut out food groups [not even fat] and it seemed the best way to lose fat while not removing any 1 food group from your diet is to eat organic, fresh foods.

You see, in my research I found that a lot of food, even “fresh” food, has chemicals in or on it. When we consume those chemicals, our bodies don’t know how to digest it. In fact, our bodies kind of procrastinate digesting it, because  the chemicals are so unlike any other food our body has experience digesting. Well, you can’t just have chemicals floating around in the body, bumping into important organs, so this is how the body stores them, until it can figure out how to digest them: The body coats each chemical in a layer of fat, and then sends it off to be stored with the other fats. Eating processed food LITERALLY makes you fat. This is why detoxing became such a craze! People are desperate to get these fat-coated chemicals out of their bodies! Yes it’s true, you can eventually detox from all of that junk, but how do you maintain your clean slate? Eat organic. Your body knows those foods, and has the ability to properly digest and absorb nutrients from those foods.

My husband will some times tease me, because I’d rather buy organic chocolate chips over regular chocolate, or organic cinnamon sugar cereal over cinnamon toast crunch. While these foods aren’t the healthiest in nature, and should be eaten in moderation, I know that when push comes to shove, my body is going to have a way easier time digesting organic chocolate made from cocoa beans and sugar cane than it will trying to digest hydrogenated oils and fructose.

Flash forward to me being a parent. Our babies have virgin digestive systems. We nurture those tummies with awesome breastmilk, but then what? There is an epidemic of childhood obesity, and yet parents have no idea how to take preventative steps to help their children! Do we give them a SlimFast instead of whole milk? NO. Give them fresh, whole foods, free of chemicals. Get back to the garden, back to nature. Since the organic craze has become more and more popular, there are organic versions of all your favorite foods. Cereals, crackers, yogurts… and of course, fruits and vegetables. Make it fun, let your kids pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try. When I’m strolling around the produce aisle, my baby grabs what she wants off the stands, and I let her! I want her to feel like she’s independent and can make healthy choices for herself.

I was really inspired by 2 documentaries on this subject:
my all time favorite: “Hungry for Change”
and also “Fed Up”

If you also want more information and a more detailed explanation on the harm processed foods and chemicals do to our bodies, I highly recommend “Hungry for Change,” it is by far the most informative and empowering.