Trader Joe's Haul

trader joe's hi-protein vegan veggie burgers

trader joe's hi-protein vegan veggie burgers macros

Hi-Protein Vegan Burgers /// The macros are fantastic on these, but the texture is just something I can't get into to. It's so different to any veggie burger I've ever had that I'm having a hard time comparing it to any existing ones out there. I've only made these in the microwave so that's probably my problem, but they are very mushy and fall apart easily even after letting them sit ~5 minutes after cooking. With that said, I'd still buy these again because they're perfect for when I need a lot of protein but don't have much carbs left.

trader joe's silver dollar pancakes

Frozen Silver Dollar Pancakes /// These have been a lifesaver on busy mornings! Grab a few out of the freezer, put them in the microwave, and breakfast is done in a minute. They taste great and my daughter loves them. She eats them plain because she doesn't like maple syrup on pancakes or waffles.. I don't get it either 😜trader joe's organic strawberry smoothie

Organic Strawberry Smoothies /// I'd never bought these before, but my mission on my last Trader Joe's visit was to get some new things that my daughter might like in the mornings because it's tough to get her to eat breakfast sometimes. I bought these strawberry smoothie bottles and she loves them! I figured she would because she's a big fan of kefir. I used to make her smoothies in the morning but our blender broke awhile back and I haven't gotten around to replacing that yet. These are a good substitute in the meantime. Sugar is high in these - 26g a serving - and sugar is the second ingredient after milk, so these are definitely not an every morning thing.

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups /// The perfect thing to have on hand for when I'm craving something sweet. I'm really good at limiting myself to 2 or 3 of these a day unlike if I bake cookies or something myself.. I will most likely end up eating half the batch myself so I stick to these. I keep these peanut butter cups in the fridge and they're delicious!

trader joe's cowboy caviar

Cowboy Caviar /// I love this stuff for when I make nachos with Beyond Meat crumbles. It's great alone on chips, but the perfect topper for nachos. It's not spicy, but slightly sweet and so good.

trader joe's red lentil sedanini

Red Lentil Pasta /// This pasta is awesome! Each serving is 190 calories / 13g protein / 0.5g fat / 32g carbs / 3g fiber so it has great macros as well. I pair this with a Tofurky Italian sausage and Newman's Own marinara to get a cool 45g of protein in one meal πŸ‘

trader joe's plantain chips

Plantain Chips /// If you haven't had these before, definitely try them! I snack on these all the time. I wouldn't compare them to chips or anything - especially macro wise, they're essential the same there - but they are a lot heartier and satisfying to me. Good stuff!

What are your favorite things to get at Trader Joe's? I'm already making a list so I can stock up next time we drive to Knoxville :]

3 Shoulder & Back Strengthening Exercises I Learned In Physical Therapy

A couple of years ago, my shoulder and back was a total mess from holding Waves, my daughter, on one side constantly and always reaching back to hand her things when she was in her car seat. The pain radiated from my shoulder all the way down to my elbow most days. It got so bad that I couldn't ignore it any longer and began my search for a physical therapist.

It took me almost an entire year to make a physical therapy appointment. If you're in pain, don't be like me.. make the appointment now! And if you're in the Chattanooga area and need a recommendation, e-mail me and I'll give you the info for the fantastic PT I went to.

After my initial appointment, I found out what was going on and also that my back was extremely weak. The plan was to do a set of exercises at home that would strengthen everything. The PT I went to filmed me on my phone doing all the exercises in her office with her instruction so that I would have something to reference when I was home. That was so awesome because it guaranteed my form was perfect so that the exercises would be effective.

I wanted to share some of my favorite exercises from my sessions - it only took 4 of them until my pain was manageable, btw. And if I ever feel any pain creeping back, I do my exercises and it's taken care of.

Now, obviously I'm not a doctor or PT myself and you should always consult a medical professional before you begin any exercise program.

So, here are my top 3 shoulder and back strengthening exercises:

One of the things that was stressed to me was the importance of activating the scapula before beginning any of the exercises. It gets everything in the right position so you can perform all the moves safely and properly.

The Four Cardinal Planes /// I loved this one! You can do this while you're watching tv which is my favorite way to exercise :]

Stability Ball L's /// This one seems like it's not doing much, but believe me.. it is!

Ab Wheel Roll Outs with a Foam Roller /// This one is great at strengthening, plus the stretch feels soooo good! I bought this foam roller on Amazon ~3 years ago and it's still in perfect shape. Definitely recommend it!

Again, don't wait on seeing a doctor or PT if you're in pain. They can make a plan tailored to your specific needs and get you healed quickly. But if you're looking for a few new shoulder and back exercises to add into your routine, give one of these a try!


WISHING // Friday the 13th wasn't so rough on me this year 😜 I seemed to have mishap after mishap while I was out doing coffee deliveries on Friday. Just totally weird stuff involving falling ceiling tiles 😳, no one answering doors for 15+ minutes, deserted warehouses.. very unusual stuff. And THEN.

I finish work, do school pick up, pick my husband up from work and when we open the front door we get hit with the smell of natural gas. I grab Waves and run across the street and call the gas company. They are asking questions like.. is there a school within a mile of you? Are you within a mile of a hospital? And then telling us to make sure that we don't go back into the house and that someone from the gas company will be there in 30 minutes to an hour. Thankfully, they got there in about 20 minutes.

They used their meter and confirmed a gas leak, turned things off and on, found the leak, and fixed everything, thank goodness. We had to hang out outside for a little over an hour and luckily the weather was great so I was able to keep Waves occupied easily. I'm glad everything was okay and fixed. I'm super anxious about it happening again. We are going to go out a pick up a carbon monoxide detector/alarm which is important and will hopefully ease my anxiety about it all.

EATING // I made these black bean enchiladas the other night and they are amazing! I actually had already made a batch of this cauliflower taco filling, so I added that in with the black beans which made it too thick to strain for the sauce.. so I added a can of Aldi brand enchilada sauce I had on hand instead. So good!
THINKING ABOUT // This is a bit of a downer and I apologize, but this has been on my mind ever since I read it. Stefan Karl Stefansson is an actor who was recently diagnosed with an inoperable cancer and tweeted the following before deleting all social media:
‘It’s not until they tell you you’re going to die soon that you realize how short life is. Time is the most valuable thing in life because it never comes back. And whether you spend it in the arms of a loved one or alone in a prison-cell, life is what you make of it. Dream big.’

It's just so sad. Life is so short and I know that's not something you should dwell on.. but it puts in perspective that holding onto to anger, silly arguments over nothing, thinking about the past too much, worrying about the future, etc. is just all such a waste of time. I could feel myself getting worked up during a traffic jam over the weekend and his post popped into my mind and I was just like.. chill out. This doesn't matter. 

CRUSHING ON // Of course the first thing I thought of was food 😜 I am loving Trader Joe's mini dark chocolate peanut butter cups! We went to Knoxville over the weekend so I was able to make a TJ's stop. I'll make a haul post soon!
WATCHING // I started watching the 808 documentary on Amazon Prime and made it about halfway before I couldn't hang any longer. I really enjoyed the first half so I'm looking forward to finishing it tonight. 

Have a great Monday!

Spring Break in Gatlinburg & a Trip to Dollywood!

smoky mountains - gatlinburg - park vista hotel

We decided very last minute - as in, the night before - that we would spend a couple of days in the Gatlinburg area and go to Dollywood. Waves is now tall enough to ride some of the bigger rides and rollercoasters so we knew that she would have blast!

I want to take a minute to talk about the fires that happened in Gatlinburg back in November and December of 2016. Watching all the videos - this one by Michael Luciano is insane - and seeing the images as it was happening was absolutely unreal. Here's a video from the same hotel we stayed in this trip. People were trapped in there because there's only one, very steep road going to and from the hotel. Firefighters worked for hours without breaks to keep the fire from taking over the hotel.

The fires caused so much devastation and while you can still see some of that here and there in the form of burned down buildings and burnt trees, the town is back on its feet and thriving. If you're looking for a fun family vacation where you can visit one of the greatest national parks - that's completely free, by the way! - then definitely give Gatlinburg a thought and help support the town.

Okay, now onto our stay! We booked a two night stay at the Park Vista Hotel and arrived to a gorgeous view. The photo above was from the balcony in our room on the 13th floor! I didn't zoom in or edit it at all.. the mountains are just that beautiful.

smoky mountains - gatlinburg - park vista hotel

Here's a view from inside the Park Vista. They had a lounge area that opened at night that featured a fire pit on the patio outside and a fireplace inside which was really nice. We ended the day there both nights with a beer while talking for awhile. There is also a restaurant on site that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and pizzas you can get to take to your room.

We ate lunch there the first day and dinner on the second day. For vegetarians, they had a black bean burger, fries, a really good house salad, and a hummus plate. The kid's menu had a cheeseburger, grilled cheese, and mac n' cheese served with fries and applesauce.

gatlinburg - arcadia - smoky mountains

After lunch on the first day, we headed the mile into downtown Gatlinburg. We initially booked the hotel because it was so close to downtown which meant we could walk. Upon arrival, we realized there is only one road to and from the hotel but it is very busy, curvy, and extremely steep with no sidewalk for walking. The lady at the front desk told me there used to be a trail that went downtown so you could walk, but that it hasn't been maintained since the fires. Just a tip in case you're wanting a room where you can walk to all the attractions.

Parking in downtown is incredibly reasonable though - $5-$8 for all day parking. The lot we parked at was cash only so make sure you have some on you!

Once we got downtown we went to Arcadia, a super fun arcade that shares space with a pizzeria. We stayed here for a couple of hours and Waves was in heaven with all the claw machines they had. We ended up winning 3 Beanie Boos so that was fun.

We ate dinner at the Five Guys across the street and then walked around.

gatlinburg - village shoppes - smoky mountains

We made a stop at the Village Shops that I love because it is just so cute. There's a huge fountain with beautiful flowers in the middle of the shops with seats to stop and take a break on while you drink coffee and eat doughnuts from one of the nearby shops.

gatlinburg - village shoppes - coffee & company

We stopped by Coffee & Company where we got a couple Americanos and I picked up a sample bag of coffee to try since they roast everything in Gatlinburg. Then Waves and I got a couple of doughnuts from The Donut Friar which were awesome.

pigeon forge - dollywood - whistle punk chaser

pigeon forge - gatlinburg - dollywood - whistle punk chaser

The next morning we were up around 9am to get ready for Dollywood! Dollywood is Dolly Parton's theme park and I grew up going here each summer. I'm always down for a return trip because it's always a good time. Waves was able to ride a a lot this year and she loved it! Whistle Punk Chaser was her favorite rollercoaster and she was also a fan of Blazing Fury which will always be my number one theme park ride EVER because it is so completely creepy and insane haha. Check out this video of the ride.. it's awesome.

If you go to Dollywood with small kids, there's a booth to left right when you walk in where they will measure your child and give them a wristband with their height on it. That way you're not stopping to get measured at every ride and you don't waste any time in lines for rides that they won't be able to get on.

This chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick was most definitely a highlight of Dollywood. Prices here aren't terribly outrageous.. the cheesecake was $4.50, coffee was $2.49 for 12oz, and the pad thai I had for lunch was $12.99. The Festival of Nations was going on while we were there so they had a lot of food that's not normally at the park. We ate at the Front Porch Cafe and they were able to make pad thai with tofu instead of chicken and it was pretty good! I was happy to have an option other than side items.

We stayed at Dollywood from 10:30am - 6pm and were exhausted when we left. We ate dinner at the hotel restaurant, had a beer in the lounge, and went to bed around 10.

gatlinburg - park vista hotel

This was the view from our bed the next morning. I still can't get over how beautiful it was!

gatlinburg - crockett's breakfast camp

gatlinburg - crockett's breakfast camp

For breakfast on the last day, we stopped by Crockett's Breakfast Camp. I noticed that they use Chattanooga's Aretha Frankensteins pancake mix which is amazing. I got two pancakes not knowing how massive they'd be! I'm so glad I didn't order 3 of them like I was going to do.

gatlinburg - park vista hotel

And here's one last shot of the mountains before heading home. We had such a great trip. We are planning to go back sometime during the summer and maybe do some hiking then too. If you have any questions about Gatlinburg I'd be happy to answer them or check out Visit My Smokies or Gatlinburg's website to help plan your trip.

10 Fun Indoor Activities for Kids

We have had a lot of sick days, school closings due to ice and snow, and rainy days this year. Sometimes we can get a little stir crazy so it is nice to have some ideas of new things to do indoors. My daughter is 5 years old and these are tried and true things we do that keep her engaged and that we have fun doing. Some might not work for a younger kid.. but it's worth a shot!

1. Cut potatoes into shapes, dip in paint, and stamp! She loved this when she was much younger and loves it now too!

2. Fishing sight words game. We love this game! I just used index cards we had lying around to write the words on and for the fishing pole.. I grabbed a spatula, tied a piece of string around it, and then I taped a magnet on the end 😜 It worked and she loved it. Plus, learning sight words at the same time is a plus for sure.

3. Sight words bingo. I made 2 boards myself - just made a grid and then wrote the words in. Then I wrote each word on a tiny slip of paper, put it into a box, and we took turns drawing a word, finding it on our board, and marking it, seeing who could get 5 in a row first. This is also really popular with her - and fun! Here's a sight word bingo board creator to make it much easier.

4. We throw a bunch of small toys on the floor (Shopkins are perfect for this), then set up two empty containers - one for me and one for her - and see who can pick up the most using only our feet and drop it in our box. Whoever has the most in their box at the end wins. Super silly.. but a lot of fun! 

5. Bring out the Mad Mattr! It's like kinetic sand, but I don't find it as messy and it's much more fun to play with. It molds easily, never dries out, and is really relaxing to play with! Check out the #madmattr hashtag on Instagram and see what I mean.. relaxing!

6. If you want to focus on learning, there are a ton of free or really cheap worksheets and games over at Teachers Pay Teachers. The cool thing about that site is that all the materials are made by educators. There are so many neat activities there! 

7. Get out the board games! Our favorite right now is Race to the Treasure. There's no winner or loser in this game.. instead, you work together to create a path to beat the ogre to the treasure. Each game takes 5-10 minutes to play, but we always end up playing at least 5 games in a row. I love that there's no competition and instead we work together.

8. Get in the kitchen. Waves loves when I let her make "experiments". A mixing bowl, spoon, and some random ingredients and she will pretend to be cooking/baking for a good half hour. She likes smelling the different spices and cutting vegetables with her kid-safe knife.

9. Make an obstacle course. We'll put out couch cushions, pillows, make a tunnel out of a blanket draped over the coffee table and couch, etc. and then see who can move through it the quickest. It gets some energy out and is fun! Although, I will admit.. this one doesn't hold her attention as long as the other things on the list. Another fun thing to do is pile up a bunch of blankets, couch cushions, and pillows and then pretend you're jumping into a pile of leaves 😜

10. Make magic paintings! You just need to have a white crayon, some paper, and watercolors. These are a lot of fun to make and kids love seeing what you drew for them as they paint on the paper. This keeps my daughter occupied for a surprisingly long time.

I hope you were able to get some new ideas from this post! Have a great day :]

Recent Meals // Easy & Quick

salad with tempeh

This photo is from my Instagram stories which is why it has the text on there. I've been sharing a lot of meals, workouts, and other general life stuff over there lately. Big salads with either tempeh or these Gardein crispy chicken tenders have been on heavy rotation over here. It was my first time trying the Gardein tenders and I love them! But my goal for April is to not rely so heavily on faux meat products so it might be awhile before I buy more.

morning breakfast - pour over coffee avocado

Yesterday morning I was really feeling a tempeh BLT for breakfast, so that's exactly what I made. I used Lightlife faking' bacon tempeh, tomato, the 365 multigrain bread from Whole Foods, and the perfect avocado - when avocados get close to being ripe, I put them in one of the crisper drawers in the fridge.. that one above had probably been in the fridge for a week and a half!

I've been loving that pour over coffee maker that I bought awhile back. It comes with a permanent stainless steel filter so it is a great zero waste option for making coffee. There's a guy at the coffee shop I work at that collects our grounds for his compost.. so I just save the grounds from home and add them to the buckets he drops off at the shop.

Here's the ratios I use to make a single cup of coffee for me: ~25g coffee // ~320g very hot, but not boiling water. 1st pour of water onto grounds: slowly pour around 60g of water onto the grounds in a circle motion without touching the filter - let this sit for about a minute /// 2nd pour: half of the water very slowly in a circle motion, wait 30 seconds or so /// last pour: the rest of the water slowly in a circle motion as well. Wait until all the water has passed through and enjoy your coffee :]

vegan tempeh blt with avocado

And here's the BLT I made. SO GOOD! That multigrain bread is fantastic.. definitely give it a try the next time you're at Whole Foods.

tofu stir-fry

Tofu stir-fry with baked tofu, broccoli, green bell peppers, peas, and brown basmati rice. I used a tiny bit of island teriyaki sauce that I picked up at Wal-Mart ages ago. I like it because you don't need much at all.

banza chickpea pastabanza chickpea tofu with tofurkey italian sausage

Okay. This pasta is incredible! One serving is a good size and all that protein! I thought it tasted very similar to regular penne. I added a Tofurky Italian sausage and some vegan parmesan. Ahh, so good! 470 calories // 40g carbs // 18g fat // 44g protein - I mean.. those are fantastic macros.

That's all I've got today. I hope that you have a great weekend and Happy Easter if that's something you celebrate :]

What I Ate Wednesday

It has been awhile since I've done one these and I think they're fun so here we are. :] I've been working on incorporating more whole foods into my diet. And I'm doing much better.. although when I was making this post I was like wow.. that's a lot of beige 😜 but it's all good. I'll get there eventually. So, here is everything I ate in a day:

6:30am » I have a big glass of water and cup coffee with almond milk while I pack Waves' lunch and get ready for the day. I meant to grab a protein bar on my way out the door since I had to go volunteer right after school drop off, but I forgot it at home 😭


9:30am » I'm back home and get started on breakfast. I microwaved a potato for 2:30, cut it up, and put it in a hot pan with coconut oil spray to finish cooking and crisp up. I topped it with some nutritional yeast and black pepper, then make some egg whites and one egg. I put the eggs over some greens and topped the potatoes with some vegan parmesan.

I've been loving potatoes lately. They have so much potassium - more than bananas! - and are so filling.

11:30am » I have a lot more water and one square of this chocolate. I got this chocolate from Aldi and it is so good! Pick one up next time you're there.. it's awesome.

1:00pm » I got caught up cleaning and stop to take a break for lunch. I make spaghetti squash, Tofurky Italian sausage, and traditional marinara from Aldi. I topped it with a bit of vegan parmesan after the photo. After this, I had another square of the chocolate from Aldi.

3:30pm » I share an apple with Waves and have mine with some almond butter. I also have a big glass of water. Then we head off to the library.

5:15pm » We get home and I start getting dinner ready for Waves. She's pretty hungry today so I go ahead and give her dinner - Annie's mac n' cheese with peas and some steamed veggies on the side. I wash some veggies - cucumber, grape tomatoes, and carrots - and dip them in Bolthouse yogurt ranch dressing.

6:30pm » I have a veggie burger and fries with ketchup, peas, and green beans on the side. The veggie burgers are the vegan protein ones from Aldi.. they have 16g of protein! I put mustard, bbq sauce, a bunch of field greens, and tomatoes on there.

9:00pm » I had a bowl of this with unsweetened almond milk. This cereal is so good. I usually mix half a serving of this with this Special K protein cereal but I'm out right now.

I ended up not meeting my protein goal of 120g/day, but did good on everything else and met my micros. My macros were: 102g protein /// 199g carbs /// 54g fat and 69g sugar /// 31g fiber

Hope you all are having a great day!

How Much I Spent on Groceries in March

March was kind of a weird month because we had car issues which took us down to one car. So on the grocery trips I'd take, I think I overbought not knowing when I'd be able to make it to the store again. Also, my impulse buying was off the charts this month! I just couldn't stick to my grocery list. I put asterisks next to every item that was an impulse buy and you'll see how quickly that all adds up. You will notice that I did no impulse buying at Aldi because, well.. there's nothing to impulse buy there really. Another reason I love that store!

I was planning to purchase a lot more from bulk bins using my glass jars, but Whole Foods seemed to be out of everything I needed - oats, nutritional yeast, spices, and dried beans. I've heard that they are in the process of switching suppliers for quite a few things so it will be empty for a bit.

Anyway, here's everything I bought this month:

total: $92.42

2 cucumbers
mango naked juice
2 green bell peppers
bag of shredded lettuce
4 roma tomatoes
5 black cherry yoplait greek yogurts
bag of tortilla chips
field greens
unsweetened almond milk
1 lemon
1 lime
kashi chocolate crunch cereal
3 lunchables cheese pizzas
4 frozen totinos pizzas
*box of fiber one brownies
2 boxes of think thin protein bars
*box of nature's path strawberry pop-tarts
can of black beans
can of garbanzo beans
2 cans of refried beans
2 cans of diced tomatoes
tub of plain nonfat greek yogurt
bag of oranges
1 sweet earth protein burrito
can of amy's chili
jar of hot salsa
spaghetti squash
bag of yellow onions

Food City
total: $14.86

box of flavored coffee kcups - my mom came into town that weekend so I bought the kind of coffee that she likes.

total: $50.99

frozen cheese and spinach ravioli
hot salsa
frozen broccoli
frozen spinach
2 dark chocolate bars
jar of pasta sauce
2 gallons of water
bag of organic pears
tub of nonfat greek yogurt
2 cartons of unsweetened almond milk
can of black beans
can of garbanzo beans
bag of sweet potatoes
2 bags of organic tortilla chips
bag of tomatoes
2 avocados
jar of minced garlic
organic ketchup
2 boxes of marshmallow and stars (lucky charms)
box of protein cereal
bottle of lime sparkling water

Whole Foods
total: $56.09

loaf of multigrain bread
box of golden round crackers
jar of lemon juice
hamburger buns
gardein meatless sliders
*bottle of iced green tea
bag of brown basmati rice
red leaf lettuce
bottle of sea salt
can of diced tomatoes
2 cans of black beans
2 amy's breakfast wraps
2 bottles of naked mango juice
cherry tomatoes
cashews from the bulk bin

Earth Fare
total: $64.63

6 sweet earth frozen breakfast wraps (Earth Fare had an awesome bogo sale on most of their frozen foods, so I grabbed a few wraps and the sliders)
2 boxes of gardein sliders
bottle of iced jasmine green tea
frozen peas
frozen corn
bag of oranges
*chicken nuggets
2 frozen pizzas
hot salsa
tortilla chips
*nigiri sushi (for my husband)
la croix lime
unsweetened almond milk
mixed berry breakfast bars

total: $50.86

2 cartons of almond milk
tub of plain greek yogurt
container of oats
3 cucumbers
bag of organic spinach
organic baby carrots
bag of mini sweet peppers
organic tomatoes (4)
2 dark chocolate bars
2 cartons of eggs
2 packages kerrygold butter
box of baking soda
shredded colby jack cheese
string cheese
2 bags of tortilla chips
organic ketchup
jar of pickles

Whole Foods
total: $66.98

5lb bag of russet potatoes
*4 cans of diced tomatoes (were on sale for $1/ea. so I stocked up)
*hot salsa
bottle of mango juice
field greens
tempeh bacon
1.5lb of cherry tomatoes
box of golden round crackers
*annie's cheddar cheese crackers
hamburger buns
loaf of bread
2 frozen breakfast wraps
2 bags of riced cauliflower
bag of frozen crinkle cut fries

total: $77.71

*annie's snack mix (cheddar bunnies + pretzels)
box of fruit strips (to put in easter eggs for Waves' spring party at school)
2 boxes of think thin protein bars
3 bottles of naked mango juice
*bolthouse ranch dressing
2 tuna pouches
*2 boxes of annie's mac n' cheese
*2 cans of amy's organic chili
corn tortillas
*banza chickpea pasta
pure maple syrup (I use this for Waves' oatmeal in the mornings)
*2 boxes of peanut butter kashi cereal (40% cartwheel offer)
2lb organic apples
2 frozen sweet earth breakfast burritos
*gardein crispy chicken tenders (25% off cartwheel - these are good!)
*gardein meatloaf (25% cartwheel)
carton of egg whites

All the trips on 3/23 will cover food for the first week of April as well, so I took the total from all trips that day and cut it in half. I put half the total towards March and the other towards April. That makes the total spent for March $376.77. Oooh my goodness that seems high to me. Like I said, I did really bad when it came to sticking to my grocery list.

I'll also say though, we only ate out one time and I packed Waves' lunch for school more often than not in March. There are a few things I would like to change next month:

- Not buy so many bottled juices. My husband really likes these and they've been on sale 2/$5 all month, so I bought a few each trip I made. I think I'll buy the larger cartons of it for $9 rather than the individual servings.

- Frozen burritos and wraps for my work lunches. It's just so easy to grab a frozen burrito out of the freezer before I head to work. I used to make spaghetti squash pizza pie and take that throughout the week which is obviously much cheaper.

- It's so much easier buying prepackaged food when I'm counting macros because I can get a lot of protein, low carb, etc. But a problem with macros - for me - is that I don't eat as many veggies. My focus for April is more vegetables and less processed foods which I believe will help our grocery bill tremendously.

- Since making these lists, I'm now aware of how much almond milk, tortilla chips, and salsa we go through! My goodness. I'm not going to change anything about that because it's something we enjoy, but I am going to stick to buying those things at Aldi exclusively because it's so much cheaper there.

Keeping track of all this has been a real eye opener. I'm confident that next month will be much better! 

What I'm Loving

I've been battling allergies for the last week or so, and I'm thinking one of those guys up there are to blame. After an emergency visit to the eye doctor, a virus test on my eye - not pleasant, but thankfully negative - and then breaking out into hives the next day.. the doctor asks, "any new pets or plants in your home?" Oh yeah.. I've bought that umbrella plant and majesty palm within the last three weeks.

After doing a little research, apparently majesty palms are one of the worst indoor plants you can buy. So learn from my mistake and skip buying an indoor palm if you have any allergies. My husband moved our palm into the garage for a bit to see if it helps. If you know of anything other than Benadryl or Zyrtec to help with allergies, please let me know!

When we got home yesterday we were in the mood to bake some cookies. It was so cold and windy out, so making a mess in the kitchen was something fun to do indoors :] I used one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe from Isa Chandra - they are amazing! I always add an extra ~2 minutes to the bake time because I like them a little crispy on the outside.

This is a great recipe to make with a kid because there's not a lot of ingredients and you can't mess these up, really. It's just a simple, quick cookie recipe.

If you're a also a vegetarian macro counter, these vegan sausages are a lifesaver! Each one is 280 calories // 14g fat // 8g carbs // 30g !!! protein. I've been serving these with spaghetti squash, marinara, and vegan parmesan. So good! It can be really tough to get protein in somedays and these definitely help.

This dry shampoo for dark hair is amazing! I've never used this brand before, but am loving it more than the other dry shampoos I've tried. The smell is great - not too overpowering or flowery - and I love how it doesn't leave that greyish white residue on my roots. Definitely recommend!

I picked up these spinach & cheese ravioli from Aldi last week and love them. I can't remember if they were $3 or $4 a bag 😬 My daughter didn't like them, but my husband and I both love them with some marinara on top.

My daughter is currently learning to tie her shoes, but she hasn't got it all the way down yet. I bought two packs of these no tie laces and they have been awesome! The fit her Nike tennis shoes perfectly. Also, her shoes were getting filthy from the playground every day.. so I bought a pair of these super cheap shoes on Amazon - not expecting much - but they've been fantastic! They arrived in a ziploc bag haha and I sprayed them with some shoe protector/waterproofer spray and they've held up so well. They hold up much better than the shoes I was getting her from Wal-Mart. They're also true to size.

» I've been loving the Mama Eats Plants blog. She shares beautiful photos and a glimpse in to how she leads a zero waste life. She also shares some great recipes!

» Green Indy is another zero waste blog that I've really been loving lately.

Hope you all have a great Friday tomorrow and an awesome weekend!

My Evening Routine

I love reading about other people's routines and day to day lives. I always end up picking up extremely useful tips or just find a more efficient way of doing something. I work during the day, so I decided to focus on my evening routine which starts when I get off of work and pick up my daughter from school. This is just a rough guide because sometimes we have a practice, class, or event to go to and then that changes things big time. So, here's how things usually go each night:

» getting home

- Waves always changes clothes and washes hands first thing when we get home.

- Put a load of clothes in the washing machine - on quick wash always

- If dishwasher has clean dishes in it, I put those away so it will be empty and then I can load dirty dishes as I cook dinner rather than have them in the sink or all over the counters.

- Go through Waves backpack and take out papers (so many papers!), sign anything I need to, take out any leftovers from snack time, wash snack bag - I use these reusable snack bags and they are awesome! We've been using them for over six months now and they've held up perfectly. They are not leak proof but I'll put things like cantaloupe or cucumbers in there and it's fine. I wash the bags on the top rack in the dishwasher and then let them air dry, btw.

If I do something like crackers or raspberries that can break or get squished, I use one of my ECOlunchbox snack containers. The lid is easy to get off (Waves had no problem with them even in preschool when she was 3 years old), they don't leak, and are plastic free.

- If I packed her lunch that day, I empty out her lunchbox - we use this Yumbox and love it - and put it in the dishwasher.

- Ask Waves to tidy up any toys in the living room and her room before she can watch a tv show. We bought this tv stand from Ikea around 4 years ago and love it. Waves gets one of big drawers to put toys in so it makes clean up really easy and holds a ton of stuff. I like it much better than having a toy box or those cloth bins hanging out in the living room.

» 5pm // cooking dinner + misc. chores

- Move washed clothes over to the dryer.

- Put a load of towels (if there are enough dirty ones for a load) in on regular, hot wash - I always make sure my last load of laundry is towels because if I get too tired or forget to take them out of the dryer it won't matter if they wrinkle. That's my lazy person tip of the day 😜

- Start prepping dinner. I set up my laptop on the counter and either watch a tv show or listen to Spotify while I cook. Waves colors or plays in the kitchen and goes back and forth with helping me make dinner.

» 7:00pm // kid bedtime routine

- Bath, pjs, brush teeth, brush and braid hair, then she plays until bedtime around 8pm. I clean up the bathroom while she's in the tub - wipe down everything, clean mirror and toilet, etc.

- After that, my husband will read and/or do a math lesson on Khan Academy with Waves while I..

- Pack her snack and lunch for school, fill up her water bottle, and pack her backpack

- Get my lunch for the next day ready, although lately I've just been taking a frozen burrito with me to work since we have a fridge and microwave. Then I get my backpack ready to go for the next day (headphones, extra phone charger, emergency protein bar, wallet)

- Put towels in the dryer

- Fold/hang up clothes while watching something. My favorites right now are grocery haul videos 😜  Amber's channel is my favorite for that at the moment. Let me know any recommendations you have!

» 9:00pm // winding down

- Go over my planner - see what is going on the next day and the rest of the week, update to-do list, write down my work schedule for the week
- Tidy up the kitchen, run the dishwasher

- Wash face, spray on some rose water toner that I got at Trader Joe's, and use this argan oil as a nighttime moisturizer. I use this orange + clove lotion for everything else.

- And usually play around on my phone or laptop for too long and go to bed while drinking some hot tea - peppermint and this elderberry + tulsi one are my favorites. I'm working on doing better with winding down 😬

The evening always seems like such a blur since there's so much to do. I try to get as much done as I can right when I walk in the door just to get it out of the way so we can all relax together later. I'd love to hear any tips you have for making your evenings run smoother.

Hope you're having a great Monday so far!

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