How to Keep Your Family Monthly Grocery Bill Under $400

Monthly Grocery Bill Under $400, monehtly budget, save money, family spending, budget

How to Keep Your Family Monthly Grocery Bill Under $400

A recent deep look into our finances, made the husband and myself realize that we were spending on average $1,500 every month on groceries for our family of 4. One thousand, five hundred dollars you all…every single month… on groceries! This is an insane chunk of money in our monthly budget that we realized could be utilized smarter. So we made a few changes and I am sharing How to Keep Your Family Monthly Grocery Bill Under $400. This gives us well over $12,000 a year from our budget to spend in other areas like additional savings or family vacation. That is a whole lot of dough.

PLAN ALL MEALS

This is the most important step to cutting that grocery budget. Adapt a thought process for every single meal before going to the grocery and make a detailed list. Meal planning is going to save you hundreds every month!

Here is how the past 30 days broke down for us: 

  • Week 1: $91.29
  • Week 2: $88.33
  • Week 3: $124.24
  • Week 4: $88.18 plus a $10 pizza night!

Ibotta cash back received : $34.25

Month Total: $367.79

An example week is below so you can get an idea of what we are eating and what foods you can incorporate into your own meal planning!

  • Monday: Sausage Pepperoni Penne$0.87/serving
  • Tuesday: Spaghetti with ground beef-  $1.32/serving
  • Wednesday: Chicken with cream of mushroom, rice and broccoli –$2.27/serving
  • Thursday: Fall-off-the-bone Crockpot Ribs with mashed potatoes and green beans. Yes, ribs! I kid you not. We stock up on BOGO days and keep a rack in the freezer for later.  $3.28/serving
  • Friday: Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with side salad – $0.90/serving
  • Saturday: Pancakes with scrambled eggs and fruit – $1.26/serving
  • Sunday: Tater Tot Casserole$1.87/serving

 

  • Breakfast include cereal, oatmeal, and coffee.
  • Lunches include leftovers, protein shakes or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
  • Snacks include popcorn, apples, bananas, carrots, and almonds.

LOOK AT SALE ITEMS

Plan all meals around what’s on sale that week at your grocery store. Before meal planning in depth, look at what is on sale to make the most out of your grocery budget. If chicken is a bargain, stock up on chicken. If broccoli is cheap, come up with meals that include broccoli. You don’t have to get crazy with stocking up! No need for a 5 year supply of canned soups in the basement but certainly stock on certain items that are frequently used to last a couple months.

Here is a list of items that I am always on the look out for:

  • Shampoo and conditioners for the whole family.
  • Soaps
  • Laundry detergent
  • Popcorn (we love popcorn around here).
  • Almonds
  • Canned soups
  • Pet food and treats
  • Oatmeal

COUPON

I am terrible at this coupon business. I cannot sit down every Sunday and clip all the coupons from the paper or search the internet for coupons to print. If you can- do it! Compare the coupons to what is on sale at the moment and plan. I may not physically clip coupons, however, I do use the store apps to clip the coupons to be saved on my store accounts. I frequent Meijers which has mPerks. You go through the app to click on the coupons you want and at the store just sign in with your phone number and pin and the coupons apply automatically. Every store has some sort of app nowadays so make sure you at least get some coupon deals this way. All those 20..50…75 cent coupons start to add up by the end of the year.

I went to the grocery today and got 4 family sized boxes of cereal for $1 each after sale price and mPerks coupons. That cereal will last all month for snacks and breakfast and only costs $1 per week. Bargain!

KNOW HOW MUCH THINGS COST

Pay attention when grocery shopping at the price tag of everything! Knowing the price of items will help you build smarter meal plans. You can still buy salmon that is on sale this week but cut costs by seasoning with something already in your pantry, adding an affordable vegetable side like broccoli and an affordable, yet filling side, like rice.

Knowing the price of items also helps you spot a great deal! There may be big sale stickers on something but that item could only be 10 cents off! Not a great deal! Make yourself more aware of pricing and after time and practice, you will have a solid idea of what every item in the grocery costs or should cost so you can stretch that dollar.

Here is a list of items that are frequently on my list because they are always affordable and a coupon and/or sale makes them even better:

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Bread
  • Eggs
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Ground turkey
  • Seasonal produce.

CHANGE HABITS

Small changes can make a big difference! Here are some changes than can save you money:

  • Stop eating out! We have never eaten out often but when we did once or twice a month it would cost us $50-$100 per meal to feed the family. Fast food is even at $20. Save eating out for special occasions like birthdays.
  • Pack lunches for the whole family. Pack school lunches and your own. My husband was getting in the bad habit of going to grab a soup or sandwich for lunch costing between $5-$10 a day! Instead, I make him a loaded salad or sandwich a couple times a week to curb that habit and make sure lunch foods are readily available for him to grab as he runs out the door in the morning.
  • Don’t buy drinks. Sodas, juices, bottles waters, etc. can be a huge monthly cost so stick to tap water.
  • Re-think the snack. Crackers, fruit snacks, chips, muffins…. all these snacks kids love aren’t typically healthy and can put your grocery bill through the roof. Cut back and grab nutritionally dense foods like a bananas, which is more filling than a fruit snack and supplies much needed nutrients. Plus, bananas are super affordable.
  • Buy store brand when possible. Store brands typically run much cheaper than brand names… sometimes even half the price!

USE AN APP FOR CASH BACK

There are various apps out there that give you cash back on groceries. I use Ibotta and love it. There are even weekly cash back offers on fresh produce. I just paid 88 cents on a pound of green beans that were on sale and got 25 cents cash back.  The cash back I get from simply scanning my receipts saves a minimum of $20 a month. This was a great Ibotta cash back month with $34.25. You can cash out anything over $20 with gift cards or even get paid to your Paypal account.

Start using Ibotta today and put in my referral code bhrmcqv to join my team and get cash back for signing up!

DON’T THROW FOOD AWAY

Don’t throw food away… EVER! Maybe this can be put under habits to change but really be aware of the foods in your pantry and fridge that have an upcoming expiration date and plan a meal around those items. Waste is unnecessary! I am shrinking back a bit in my chair at the moment just talking about waste because I am guilty! This is an area I am working on and it takes practice and awareness. Bananas going bad? Make a banana bread. Sauce expiring? Make a chicken marinade for dinner with it. Food is money. Don’t throw away your money!

TRACK YOUR SPENDING

Keep your receipts, track expenses in an app or write a log of expenses in a notebook. Track your spending so you know how much of the budget is going towards food. This will help you meal plan more effectively in the future. You can go even further and track foods by categories so you can pinpoint exactly what you are spending money on! Maybe those boxed snacks are costing a bit much monthly and a plan to put more of that money into produce monthly can be executed.

At the end of the month, if grocery costs have been reasonable, treat the family to a pizza night or grab some steaks to grill up! I guess you could just pocket that extra savings too… but we all need to splurge a little on food and enjoy life!

How to Keep Your Family Monthly Grocery Bill Under $400

Your family can follow suite and cut back that grocery monthly bill! Meal planning, buying sale items, coupons, knowing how much items cost, changing a few habits, using a cash back app, never tossing old food and tracking your spending is how you can How to Keep Your Family Monthly Grocery Bill Under $400. I would love for you all to share some other tips, tricks, and ideas in the comments below!

*photography from Unsplash. 

 

 

 

10 Ways to Become a Morning Person

10 Ways to Become a Mornings Person, tips to wake up earlier, #ENpowertheday #NesquikAtWM @NesquikUSA

10 Ways to Become a Morning Person

This post is sponsored by NESTLÉ® NESQUIK® but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Being a morning person has its perks (especially as a busy mom) but if you are a night owl or always have a hard time in the mornings getting out of bed, becoming a morning person may seem impossible. I have 10 Ways to Become a Morning Person so you can get more accomplished and start each day feeling energized and ready to take on the world.

WAKE UP EARLIER EVERYDAY

Set your alarm clock 5 minutes earlier every day until you hit your goal time. This is so you don’t shock your body into an early wake time and can stay motivated to continue waking up early to become a morning person.

DON’T HIT SNOOZE

Snoozing always seems like a good idea in the moment! Reality is that the snooze button is just a bad habit and your body is not really getting any needed rest during those 5 minute snooze increments. Once the alarm goes off, it is time to get up… no snooze button allowed.

EAT A BALANCED BREAKFAST

Eat a balanced breakfast daily. There was a time where I would have told you that a sit down breakfast with the family everyday just isn’t feasible but I can tell you now that it really is! You just have to make the time and find healthy, convenient items that the whole family loves. NEW NESTLÉ® NESQUIK® Super Breakfast  is helping my family eat a balanced breakfast made with real milk and packed with 12 grams of protein and calcium.

Reasons the whole family loves NESTLÉ® NESQUIK® Super Breakfast:

  • Made with 100% real milk.
  • No artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors.
  • Great source of protein with 12 grams.
  • Flavored with real cocoa.
  • No high fructose corn syrup.
  • Vitamins A and D.
  • Gluten free.
  • Certified kosher.
  • 30% daily value of calcium.
  • Tastes delicious.

NESTLÉ® NESQUIK® Super Breakfast can be found at your local Walmart on the juice aisle. You can also find all the other items needed for a complete family breakfast at Walmart including fresh berries and waffles to keep you and the kids going all morning.

Get cash back on NEW NESTLÉ® NESQUIK® Super Breakfast from Ibotta right now!

Click HERE to check out the offer.

WORKOUT

Nothing gets you more motivated for the day like a morning workout. Not only does a morning workout get that blood pumping but you start your day with an accomplishment and a mark off that to-do list to better your mood.

ESTABLISH A RELAXING NIGHTTIME ROUTINE

A better morning starts the night before. Your nighttime routine is just as important as your morning routine. Here are some nighttime rules to follow:

  • Have a set bedtime for lights off and quiet.
  • Put away distractions early. Distractions include a book, laptop, tablet, etc.
  • Remove the television from the bedroom for good.
  • Write a to-do list for the following day.
  • Do one thing that relaxes your mind prior to lights off- this could be meditation or petting the dog for example.

BE CONSITENT (EVEN ON THE WEEKEND)

Weekends don’t mean you get to sleep in! Your sleep schedule should continue every day of the week. Eventually, your body will naturally wake early but until that happens, set that alarm everyday. Yes, even Sunday morning!

HAVE SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO

Wake up to something you look forward to. This could be anything from meeting a friend for coffee that day or your child’s soccer game. Set a reminder to go off after your alarm to get your motivated and looking forward to this event. Small or big- find something in every single day!

CREATE A RELAXING SLEEP ENVIRONMENT

Your bedroom should be an oasis to sleep and wake in. Create a space that relaxes you free of clutter and distractions. This oasis may be different for you than myself. I like open, airy spaces with natural light peaking in as the sun rises. White bedding, a farmhouse rug, soothing grey-blue walls, fireplace and a simple night stand is my bedroom oasis.

EXPOSE YOURSELF TO NATRUAL LIGHT

When you wake, open the blinds and let the light in or take the dog on a walk around the block. Exposure to sunlight release the hormone serotonin, which helps calm and boost your mood. For winter months, a light therapy box or light therapy alarm clock can expose you a light source that gives the benefits of natural light no matter what they weather is outside. Plus, you may be waking before the sun rises during these months so light therapy can be very beneficial.

JUST DO IT!

When it comes down to becoming a morning person, you just have to do it! No excuses. Just get up early and start moving around. Think about all the things you can get accomplished before the kids wake up or before you have to go to work and get it done.

There you have it! You have 10 Ways to Become a Morning Person and it start today! Remove the television from the bedroom, remove clutter, set a time to go to bed and wake up earlier each day to natural light, get in a workout and a balanced breakfast with NEW NESTLÉ® NESQUIK® Super Breakfast. What is holding you back from being a morning person? Let me know in the comments below.

 

5 Kid-Approved School Lunch Ideas

#ad Week of Lunch Ideas, 5 Kid-Approved Lunch Ideas, school lunches, PB&J, back-to-school, #BetterTogetherPBandJ #WeAreBetterTogether #CollectiveBias

5 Kid-Approved School Lunch Ideas

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Jif® and Smucker’s®. All opinions are mine alone. #BetterTogetherPBandJ #WeAreBetterTogether #CollectiveBias

The countdown for back-to-school has begun! That means all of us moms have a big to-do list full of school supplies, clothes shopping and collecting simple lunch ideas. I am sharing 5 Kid-Approved School Lunches featuring the perfect pair of Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter and Smucker’s® Strawberry Jam for peanut butter jelly time to kick off the school year!

This time of year is always a little bitter sweet. I love spending time with my kids and doing all those amazing summer activities like swimming, biking and exploring new spots around town. On the other hand, if I have to listen to one more ridiculous argument between my kids, I may have a full blown mommy freak out.

Only 13 days, 19 hours, 14 minutes and 32 seconds left until the first day of school (give or take a few seconds) but who’s counting?

Time to prepare!

The mad rush to get the kids ready for that first of school is in full effect and a stop by Dollar General is a great spot to pick of tons of needed items, including quick and easy lunch solutions. Great lunchboxes are full of those foods us moms feel good about feeding our children and that the kids love to eat. Jif Creamy Peanut Butter and Smucker’s Strawberry Jam are my go-to combination for simplicity, taste and traditional lunches that I know my kids are going to enjoy. Jif Creamy Peanut Butter and Smucker’s Strawberry Jam can be find on the Condiments aisle at your local Dollar General.

Shop at Dollar General for extra savings!

$1.00 off when you buy both Jif Peanut Butter & Smucker’s Fruit Spread!

Click HERE to clip your coupon.

5 Kid-Approved School Lunch Ideas

Peanut Butter Jelly Time! Here are 5 Kid-Approved School Lunches that include some of my favorite uses for Jif Creamy Peanut Butter and Smucker’s Strawberry Jam for everyday of the week.

MONDAY

  • PB&J made with Jif Creamy Peanut Butter and Smucker’s Strawberry Jam cut into stars with a cookie cutter.
  • Alphabet pretzels with a secret message on top, “YOU ROCK”.
  • Cheese chunks.
  • Carrots.
  • Grapes.

TUESDAY

  • Miniature pancakes sandwiched with  Jif Creamy Peanut Butter and Smucker’s Strawberry Jam. 
  • Blueberries.
  • Hardboiled egg.
  • Granola.
  • Plain yogurt with a dollop of Smucker’s Strawberry Jam swirled in.

WEDNESDAY

  • Celery sticks with Jif Creamy Peanut Butter.
  • Crackers with a side of Smucker’s Strawberry Jam.
  • Cheese chunks.
  • Almonds.
  • Hardboiled egg.

THURSDAY

  • Peanut Butter Jelly Roll-Ups (recipe card below).
  • Cheese chunks.
  • Blueberries.
  • Tortilla chips.
  • Salsa.

Peanut Butter Jelly Roll-Ups

Never had a Peanut Butter Jelly Roll-Up? These are so easy to make with a little bit of Jif Creamy Peanut Butter and Smucker’s Strawberry Jam wrapped up in a fajita sized tortilla. Today, we even added a banana in the middle for some extra nutrients.

5 from 1 reviews
Peanut Butter Jelly Roll-Ups
 
Prep time
Total time
 
I am sharing 5 Kid-Approved School Lunches featuring the perfect pair of Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter and Smucker's® Strawberry Jam for peanut butter jelly time!
Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1 tablespoon Smucker's® Strawberry Jam
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tortilla, soft fajita sized
Instructions
  1. Spread a layer of Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter over tortilla followed by a layer of Smucker's® Strawberry Jam.
  2. Peel a banana and place in the center of the tortilla and wrap the banana.
  3. Slice the Peanut Butter Jelly Roll-Ups into serving sizes that fit into lunchbox.

 

FRIDAY

  • Miniature PB&J sandwiches made with  Jif Creamy Peanut Butter and Smucker’s Strawberry Jam turned bite-sized with a one inch cookie cutter.
  • Alphabet pretzels with another secret message saying “I LOVE YOU” on top.
  • Half of a banana.
  • Strawberries.
  • Almonds.

What are some of your all-time favorite recipes using Jif Creamy Peanut Butter and Smucker’s Strawberry Jam? Let me know in the comments below how you enjoy peanut butter jelly time!

Also be sure to check out Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookie Sandwiches for the perfect lunchbox treat.

 

10 Things to do in Sunriver Oregon

Sunriver Oregon with kids, 10 Things to do in Sunriver Oregon during the summer

10 Things to do in Sunriver Oregon

This summer has been one of the best ones yet while exploring some of my favorite spots in Oregon with the kids. Today, I am sharing 10 Things to do in Sunriver Oregon during the summer months.

Sunriver, Oregon is only a 20 minute drive from Bend, Oregon and was an area that I frequently spent my summer days while growing up. From swimming to hiking to horseback riding and more – Sunriver is the perfect spot for families to getaway. A 7 hour flight from Cincinnati to Portland was just the beginning of our journey! We saw Timberline at Mount Hood…. touched the Spruce Goose in McMinville… looked upon Multnomah Falls and enjoyed a lot of good eats along the way. The highlight of our Oregon vacation was Sunriver by far. Here are 10 Things to do in Sunriver Oregon:

THE VILLAGE AT SUNRIVER

Sunriver is a quiet town with a little village of restaurants, shopping, grocery store, coffee shop and activities for kids. I recommend trying out some restaurants and letting your kids do some of the offered activities : rock climbing, bounce house, trampoline, train for the little ones and more.

RIDE BIKES

Everyone in Sunriver rides bikes everywhere while exploring the 30 miles of bike path or to check out different areas in the community like the stables, marina, or The Village. Bike rentals are easy to find in The Village so make sure that is your first stop so you can fully enjoy the Sunriver vibes.

SWIM

Many of the house rentals have a shared pool to enjoy. We had clear skies and 90 degree weather all week long for our July visit which was perfect for lounging by the pool in the afternoon after a long bike ride. An aquatics center is also located  in Sunriver called the SHARC with a large outdoor pool with slides and a lazy river for a day of family fun.

HORSEBACK RIDING

The stables is always a fun spot to check out horses and just take in the beautiful views. Pony rides are available for little ones and horseback riding trails are a must-do for those over 7 years old. Whether you have loads of experience with horses or are a first timer – there is a trail for you!

SUNRIVER MARINA

Just a couple minutes from the stables you will find the marina. There is a restaurant and shopping, but more importantly, you will find rentals for boats, kayaks and more. I recommend canoeing the Deschutes River for amazing views and a bit of exercise or rent a raft for the family to float.

SUNRIVER NATURE CENTER

A small fee gets you into the Sunriver Nature Center where hands on exhibits and nature exploration will get your kids involved! There are even day camps. Families are welcome to take walks through the Botanical Gardens.

Sunriver Oregon with kids, 10 Things to do in Sunriver Oregon during the summer

VISIT A NEARBY LAKE

The Cascade Lakes are right at your fingertips and they are beautiful! We spent a day at Cultus Lake just to relax and dip our toes into that clear water.

GOLF

My husband would argue that vacation is not complete without some golfing involved. There are a few golf courses around Sunriver but one is at the Sunriver Resort in the middle of town and has 7 day passes for individuals or families available.

LAVA RIVER CAVE

Explore a mile long lava tube in Central Oregon that is part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. It is an unique experience that only takes about an hour and costs $5 per person for entry. Bring a light and something to stay warm inside the cave because it is dark and is only at 40 odd degrees. Hiking shoes aren’t a bad idea either.

HIKING

Can you go to Oregon and not hike? There are just too many beautiful views and opportunities to see nature up close not to. There are dozens of trails in the Deschutes National Forest to pick from. The Todd Lake hike is great for beginner hikers and children. Plan on also doing a picnic!

Check out this clip below at Cultus Lake where the butterflies had taken over the shoreline!

 

Spiked Kiwi Strawberry Sparkling Ice Pops

#ad, Msg 4 21+, Spiked Kiwi Strawberry Sparkling Ice Pops, @SparklingIce, #GetFizzy, Skinny Cocktails, Sparkling Water, Sparkling Cocktails

Spiked Kiwi Strawberry Sparkling Ice Pops

This post is sponsored by Sparkling ICE but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Spiked Kiwi Strawberry Sparkling Ice Pops are made with vodka soaked strawberries and kiwis filled in a popsicle mold with Sparkling Ice Strawberry Kiwi and a bit more vodka for an adult ice pop guaranteed to cool you off this summer. Looking for something non alcoholic? Follow the recipe and leave out the vodka!

These Spiked Kiwi Strawberry Sparkling Ice Pops come from inspiration of a vodka spritzer which happens to be one of my favorite summer cocktails because they are so refreshing and lower calorie. This July heat has me in serious need of a cool off so the popsicle form really hits the spot and I think you will enjoy them just as much as I do!

I turn to Sparkling Ice to help make amazing, guilt free vodka spritzers, these Spiked Kiwi Strawberry Sparkling Ice Pops or to simply toss in my beach bag while laying out by the pool to stay hydrated.

Why choose Sparkling Ice

  • Zero sugar.
  • Zero calories.
  • Caffeine free.
  • Natural flavoring.
  • Contains vitamins and antioxidants.
  • The bubbly always rise to the top.

Find all 16 fruity sparkling water flavors from Sparking Ice on Amazon.

Click HERE!

Switch up your summer cocktail and spiked popsicles by trying all the flavors and incorporating various fruits. Sparkling Ice Lemon Lime with blackberries? Maybe Sparkling Ice Peach Nectarine with local peaches? This summer is going to be deliciously refreshing.

Spiked Kiwi Strawberry Sparkling Ice Pops

Recipe time! Spiked Kiwi Strawberry Sparkling Ice Pops are seriously fun and perfect for a pool party with friends or just as treat on a crazy hot summer day.

What you need: 

  • Sparkling Ice Kiwi Strawberry (you may swap for one of the other 15 Sparkling Ice flavors).
  • Popsicle molds set of 10.
  • Popsicle sticks.
  • Strawberries.
  • Kiwis.
  • Vodka (80 proof).
  • Friends to share with.

How to make Spiked Kiwi Strawberry Sparkling Ice Pops:

  • Slice the fruit.
  • Place the sliced fruit into vodka. Make sure to soak the fruit in a glass container for 2 hours. Stay away from plastic containers while soaking. This is an optional step to soak the fruit for a higher alcohol content.
  • Place the soaked fruit into the popsicle mold. Save the vodka for next step.
  • Use 3 ounces of vodka and 12 ounces of Sparkling Ice Kiwi Strawberry and mix in a bowl. The ratio has to be right for the ice pops to freeze properly so if you add extra vodka- you may not get an ice pop. Make sure to measure everything for this step. Also, look at alcohol content of the vodka. I used 80 proof! A higher alcohol content needs a lower freezing temperature so you would have to either adjust your freezer or use less vodka.
  • Place the sticks into ice pops and freeze for at least 4 hours.
  • Remove the ice pops from molds. I just set them on the container for a few minutes and then gently wiggle the sticks until it is released.
  • Time to enjoy your spiked ice pop and have a sparkling summer.
  • Check out the recipe card below for full instructions and ingredients.


5 from 1 reviews
Spiked Kiwi Strawberry Sparkling Ice Pops
 
Spiked Kiwi Strawberry Sparkling Ice Pops are made vodka soaked strawberries and kiwis filled in a popsicle mold with Sparkling Ice Strawberry Kiwi and a bit more vodka for an adult ice pop guaranteed to cool you off this summer. Recipe for readers 21 or older.
Author:
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces Sparkling Ice Kiwi Strawberry
  • 3 ounces vodka (80 proof), plus more to soak fruit
  • 3 kiwis
  • 10 strawberries
Instructions
  1. Wash fruit.
  2. Slice strawberries.
  3. Peel and slice kiwis.
  4. Place fruit slices into a glass container and pour vodka in. (optional step to soak fruit in vodka)
  5. Soak fruit in vodka for 2 hours.
  6. Place the soaked fruit into popsicle molds. Distribute the fruit evenly among the molds.
  7. Mix 3 ounces of the leftover vodka with 12 ounces of Sparkling Ice Kiwi Strawberry.
  8. Pour mixture into molds.
  9. Place popsicle sticks in center of each mold.
  10. Freeze for a minimum of 4 hours.
  11. Remove from molds.
  12. Serve.

 

How are you keeping cool all summer long? Let me know in the comments below and share your favorite Sparkling Ice flavor.

What To Do Before And After A Workout

#ad, What To Do Before And After A Workout, movement, active protection, #SavingStyleAtWM, @DegreeWomen’s UltraClear Black+White Dry Spray Deodorant

What to do Before and After a Workout

This post is sponsored by Degree Women but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

No matter what type of exercise you are committed to, we all have some sort of pre and post-workout routine. Shouldn’t it be a routine that counts and makes the most of your exercise? I am sharing What to do Before and After a Workout so you can be 100% everyday and that includes incorporating Degree’s UltraClear Black+White Dry Spray Deodorant so you can worry less about sweat and body odor and focus more on fitness.

I have been on a mission lately- a mission to get back in shape and get back to the bod I had before kids. Easier said than done but with a daily exercise plan and a pre and post workout routine that work- I am on the right track and I must say that it feels fantastic!

What to do Before and After a Workout

BEFORE Your Workout

Get a good nights sleep. Your body does a lot of work when asleep like rebuilding muscles so a good night sleep is important to be able to optimize your workout daily.

Hydrate. Drink water to hydrate before a workout. Water helps lubricate joints and regulate body temperature. A glass of water 10 minutes before a workout is beneficial.

Small snack. You need fuel in your body so eat some protein and carbs before you put your body to work. If you have just eaten a full meal, wait 60 minutes.

Have an exercise plan. Your workouts should be planned and focused. Write down everything you plan on doing with a list, pop in a workout DVD or keep an eye on your watch as you run miles. Don’t just wander into the gym and wing it- have a plan!

Dynamic stretches to warm up. Dynamic stretching is where you stretch as you move. Lunges, kicks, squats… are a few dynamic exercises you can do to warm up. Focus on the areas of the body you plan on working out that day. This warm up should last around 10 minutes while slowly raising your heart rate.

Degree’s UltraClear Black+White Dry Spray Deodorant. The right deodorant is essential pre-workout to keep you dry. Degree’s UltraClear Black+White Dry Spray Deodorant contains Degrees innovative MotionSense technology for long last protection against sweat and odor. To use Degree’s UltraClear Black+White Dry Spray Deodorant: Shake well before each use. Apply to underarms only holding the can 6 inches from underarm and spray and workout in confidence.

I grab my Degree’s UltraClear Black+White Dry Spray Deodorant at Walmart with the deodorants and antiperspirants.

Why use Degree’s UltraClear Black+White Dry Spray Deodorant as part of your pre-workout routine? 

  • Amazing fragrance with notes of fruity green apple, pineapple, and crisp wood.
  • Anti-yellow stains on light clothes. Anti-white marks on dark clothes.
  • Features Degree MOTIONSENSE technology that keeps you fresh.
  • All-day fresh and airy fragrance with a clean feel.
  • 48h protection against sweat and body odor.
  • Dermatologist tested and alcohol free.
  • Sprays on instantly dry for a cleaner feel.

Click HERE to get $1.50 cash back on Degree’s UltraClear Black+White Dry Spray Deodorant with Checkout 51!

AFTER Your Workout

Cool down and stretch. Cool down after workout until your heart rate is back to normal and begin to stretch. Stretching helps reduce muscle soreness and the best time to improve flexibility is when the body is warm so never miss that post-workout stretch.

Record progress. You should have a system in place for tracking your workouts (how long you worked out and what you accomplished) to stay consistent, achieve new fitness goals and keep you motivated.

Protein shake. I like to drink a protein shake 30 minutes after working out. This helps get protein to my muscles quickly and supply my body with other essential nutrients. Plus, it helps me stay fuller longer before my next meal.

Hydrate some more. Your body needs to replenish itself after a workout so drink at least 8 glasses of water daily and one glass should be within 30 minutes post workout. Muscles cramps, dizziness or lack of sweating during a can be signs you are not hydrated enough so pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you and stay hydrated.

Cold shower. If you had a hard strength training day, a cold shower can help reduce muscle soreness.

Change clothes. Obviously, right? Okay, I will admit I have been guilty of not always changing my clothes. Mom life gets in the way and when the kids start screaming .002 seconds after your workout, it can be difficult. Make sure to change clothes so you are not trapping moisture against your body.

Is there anything in YOUR pre or post-workout routine not mentioned above? Share in the comments below. 

36 Delicious Pineapple Recipes

36 Delicious Pineapple Recipes

36 Delicious Pineapple Recipes

Summer time and pineapple goes together like sunshine and flip-flops. I just cannot get enough! Pineapple Salsa is one of my go-to summer toppings but today, I have gathered 36 Delicious Pineapple Recipes that you must try this season from smoothies to sloppy joes. Which recipe will you be putting on this weeks menu plan first?

Breakfast & Smoothies

Pineapple Smoothie Recipe with Jalapeno from Healing Tomato. A pineapple smoothie with a kick with added mint to cool the heat.

Pineapple Mango Green Smoothie from Daily Smoothie.

Pineapple Coffee Cake from Bunny’s Warm Oven.

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes from For the Love of Food.

Pineapple Rum French Toast from Daily Dish Recipes.

Pina Colada Smoothie from VegAnnie.

Hawaiian Tropical Smoothie from Wondermom Wannabe.

Pineapple Cream Cheese Sweet Rolls from Baking a Moment.

Pineapple Coconut Chia Pudding from Natalie’s Happy Health.

Pineapple Strawberry Banana Smoothie from Brooklyn Farm Girl.

Lunch & Dinner

Pan-Seared Mahi-Mahi with Pineapple Salsa from The Rising Spoon. Easy, healthy and dinner in under 30 minutes.

Gluten-free Pineapple Fried Rice from Strength and Sunshine.

Instant Pot Hawaiian Sloppy Joes from One Happy Housewife.

Slow Cooker Pineapple Pulled Pork Tacos from Evolving Table.

Jalapeno Pineapple Sticky Wings from Certified Pastry Aficionado.

Easy Pineapple Chicken from The Typical Mom.

Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich from The Cookware Geek.

Thai Pineapple Chicken Curry from Fun Food and Frolic.

Pineapple Shrimp Skewers Recipe from Salt and Lavender.

Instant Pot Pulled Pork with Fresh Pineapple from April Golightly.

My Favorite Fruity Cold Pineapple Soup from Fearless Dining.

Desserts

Pineapple Upside Down Cake from Baking a Moment. A moist butter cake with fresh pineapple and cherries and a brown sugar glaze.

No-Bake Pineapple Cream Cheesecake from Tuxedo Cats and Coffee.

Copycat Dole Pineapple Whip from Cincy Shopper.

Easy Pineapple Orange Fluff from Small Town Woman.

Pina Colada Poke Cake from Tikkido.

Pineapple Pie from Simply Stacie.

Pineapple Lemon Bars from Plated Pixels.

Grilled Pineapple with Brown Sugar Rum Glaze from Curry Trail. 

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes from Spaceships and Laser Beams.

Drinks

Pineapple Infused Water from Happy Foods Tube will help keep the body hydrated and get rid of toxins in the body.

Pineapple and Gin Cocktail from Emma Eats and Explores.

Spiced Frozen Pineapple Margarita from Dash of Evans.

Spring Gin and Tonic with Passionfruit and Pineapple from Little Sugar Snaps.

Pineapple Mojito with Mint from Masala Herb.

Pineapple Lemonade Recipe from Know Your Produce.

 

7 Steps to a Healthier Family

#ad @natrol @natrolofficial #natrolgummies , Natrol Gummies, Steps to a Healthier Family

7 Steps to a Healthier Family

This post is sponsored by Natrol Gummies but the content and opinions expressed here are my own. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any diseases.

Nothing is more important than the health of your family. Today, I have 7 Steps to a Healthier Family so you can start building the habits necessary for a lifetime of good health for yourself and children. These 7 steps promote better eating habits and a more active lifestyle as we also talk about how to incorporate great tasting Natrol Gummies into your daily routine.

Family Dinners

Every single night strive to have a sit down family dinner around the table. There are many reasons for family dinner and making your family healthier is just the start!

Family Dinners give you:

  • Family bonding time.
  • The opportunity to chat with your kids about school, activities and anything on their mind or anything they want to share about their day.
  • Eating at your table dinner promotes cooking at home oppose to fast food. Get your family in the habit of eating at home and learning to cook whole foods that are nutrient dense.
  • Use the time to educate your family on the nutritional value of the foods on the table. What is high protein, offers fiber, or should be eaten in moderation because of the high fat or sugar content? Educate yourself on the foods you are serving so you can share that knowledge. This is knowledge your kids will benefit from their WHOLE life to stay healthy.

Read this article on How to Build a Stronger Bond with Your Children which includes family dinners.

Try New Foods

Your children cannot live off of macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets. They will sure try so it is up to YOU to lead them in the right direction and offer many different foods.

Some great way to get your child to try new foods:

  • Allow them to pick out anything in the produce section at the grocery store. If they pick it, they are more likely to eat and enjoy that food. If you don’t know where to start- tell our child to find a fuzzy fruit (kiwi) and something red (strawberries) and make a game out of grocery shopping.
  • Have them help you plant a vegetable garden. Taking care of a vegetable is hard work so if they help you with all that work, they will be excited when it is finally time to pick it from the garden and eat.
  • The three bite rule. Not everyone may be on board with this but my kids have to try at least 3 bites of everything on their plate. Sure, there are some nights with tears and pouting over 3 bites of broccoli because it is “too green” or the “potatoes are too spicy”… we seriously just had a spicy mashed potato meltdown. And no they were not spicy at all. If you are consistent with this rule, 95% of the time, dinner is smooth sailing and everyone tries new foods. A diet with a huge variety of foods helps ensure complete nutrition.

Try this Garlic Ginger Chicken for dinner with a side of roasted broccoli and rice.

#ad @natrol @natrolofficial #natrolgummies , Natrol Gummies, Steps to a Healthier Family

Start Every Morning with Natrol Gummies

Delivering the nutrients your entire family needs daily is a must. Start each morning with a balanced breakfast and Natrol Gummies. By beginning every day with good health in mind, you set up your family to continue the day being active and eating healthy. Natrol makes gummies specifically designed for each person in the family from Men’s Multi Vitamin to Prenatal to Hair and Nails or Kid’s.

Why choose Natrol Gummies for your family: 

  • Made with organic ingredients of the highest quality.
  • Non-GMO. No worry of genetically modified ingredients in these gummies.
  • Gelatin-free. Made of fruit pectin, not gelatin.
  • Vegetarian. No animal by-products here.
  • Made with 26 fruits and vegetables and free of artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners and preservatives. Packed with nutrients from organic blueberries, kale and more.

See all the benefits that Natrol Gummies by clicking HERE and look for the vitamins with the purple top!

Workout Daily

You should workout daily. A 30 minute walk, some yoga when you get home from work and a full blown 60 minutes of strength intervals…. whatever it may be, you need to lead the family and let them see you take fitness seriously. Teach the family how to take care of themselves from leading by example. I do Pilates daily and my daughter gets in her workout gear when she sees me in mine and does stretches and lunges beside me. The goal is to teach your family working out is part of living a healthy lifestyle.

Try this 12 Minute Workout for Busy Moms to get you back into a fitness routine.

Play Together

Be active with your family. I know life is tiring after cleaning the house, making dinner, working, running the kids around and everything else. Playing together is too important to put to the side or at the bottom of the to-do list. Get healthier and play together!

Here are some ways to play together:

  • Go to the park and play follow the leader on the playground through the monkey bars and tip-toeing on the balance beam. A contest to see who can go the highest on the swing set is always fun too.
  • Shoot some hoops.
  • Go on a nature hike.
  • Go swimming.
  • Ride bikes around the neighborhood.
  • Have a water balloon fight outside.
  • Turn on some music and have a family dance off (maybe you can even get some cleaning done during).

Put the Tech Away

This is the hardest rule in my home to stick to in the 7 Steps to a Healthier Family but put the tech away! We have everything at the house to entertain us all for days from tablets, laptops, game systems, phones but there needs to be a limit. My rule for this summer has been NO TECH when it is light outside. Let’s face it- childhood memories are not made sitting on the couch playing Xbox. Force everyone to put the gadgets down and get off their rumps to ride bikes, run through the sprinkler or do chalk artwork in the driveway.

Cut the Sugar

We all consume way too much sugar in our diets. Be aware of your families sugar intake and adjust your diets to cut back. The two biggest areas for high sugar consumption are snacks and drinks. Read labels before snack time and try to reach for whole foods as much as possible if not always. What do I mean whole foods? An apple is always going to be a better choice than a fruit snack for example. When it comes to drinks, get your family used to drinking water. Just water…morning, day and night. Soda, juice, sports drinks…. need to be limited and put into the “treat” category in your families diet.

Try this kid-friendly Avocado Hummus for a healthier snacking option.

Besides these 7 Steps to a Healthier Family, what are some ways you promote health in your own families? Share in the comments below and make sure to visit Natrol Gummies for more information on how to deliver the nutrients your family needs in a tasty gummy vitamin.

Overnight No Heat Beach Waves

#ad, @Dove #DoveRealBeauty #Walmart, Overnight No Heat Beach Waves, easy summer hairstyle

Overnight No Heat Beach Waves

This post is sponsored by Dove Hair Care but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Overnight No Heat Beach Waves are so easy to create with two simple french braids, a good night sleep and the right products!

To create these Overnight No Heat Beach Waves easy-peasy, starting with the right products! Today, I used:

These amazing Dove products are for more than beach waves. Try them for your daily hair routine as follows:

Your local Walmart is the go-to place to find all these amazing Dove products, plus more! Just head to the Personal Care area to Beauty and Dove will be with the hair care items.

Overnight No Heat Beach Waves

Ready for some Overnight No Heat Beach Waves? I love this hairstyle for so many reasons starting with the simplicity and fact that I don’t have to blow dry or put any heat on my head because the last thing I want to do on a hot summer day is blow dry all this hair! These beach waves are my go-to summer hairstyle for any occasion or outfit. 

Steps to Overnight No Heat Beach Waves

STEP 1

Beautiful hair starts in the shower and Dove Thickening Ritual Shampoo and Conditioner. Apply Dove Thickening Ritual Shampoo to wet hair, lather while enjoying the lavender aroma and rinse. Once the shampoo is rinsed, apply the Dove Thickening Ritual Conditioner massaging throughout hair and rinse well.

STEP 2

Once out the shower, dry hair well with a towel and brush.

STEP 3

Let the hair air dry until damp. 30 minutes outside on the deck in this hot Cincinnati weather is all my hair takes to dry enough for the next step.

STEP 4

Part your hair down the middle and french braid each side. Your part does not have to be perfect and the braid can be completely sloppy. Perfection is not needed for these french braids!

How to french braid:

  1. Take some hair at the top of the sectioned hair and separate it into three equal sections left, middle and right.
  2. Take the left section, cross it over the middle one and combine it with the right section.
  3. Take right section, cross it over the middle and combine it with the left section.
  4. Repeat until you are at the nape of your neck.
  5. Once you reach the nape of your neck, bring your hair to one side and finish off with a three strand braid.
  6. Secure with small hair ties.

If you have hair down to your booty or barely past your shoulders, you can do this hairstyle! As long as you can get the hair into french braids (even just messy loose ones), YOU can totally pull this simple hairstyle off.

STEP 5

Once the french braids are complete, you can pull the strands out a bit to loosen. A tight french braid will give you a tighter wave, a loose french braid will give you larger waves. I go somewhere in the middle so this where you get to decide the look you are going for and make those braids as tight or loose as you want.

STEP 6

Go to bed and let the hair dry completely.

You can also do these braids in the morning and make them neat and not so sloppy while hanging out at the pool all day or running errands. Come back home, put some make up on, take those french braids out and you can be ready for date night in a snap!

STEP 7

Take the braids out and shake your hair to loosen. Don’t use a brush but instead use your fingers to part the hair and untangle any spots needed.

STEP 8

Grab the Dove Compressed Flexible Hold Hairspray and spray evenly over hair holding the can 8-10 inches from hair. As you spray, scrunch the bottom of the hair using your hands and shake your hair out a bit leaving you with those beautiful Overnight No Heat Beach Waves that look natural and scream summertime!

Now, I just need a one-way ticket to the beach. Let me know about your summer plans in the comments below and how these Overnight No Heat Beach Waves will fit into your summer style.

DIY Donut Cart Plus 10 Ways to Celebrate a Birthday

DIY Donut Cart

Plus 10 Ways to Celebrate a Birthday

Deciding what to do for your child’s Birthday can be difficult and planning can be expensive! We have 10 Ways to Celebrate a Birthday today with ideas of all budgets for various ages, including a DIY Donut Cart to help out with those plans.

April is full of birthday parties for us, including my daughters who just turned three! Every week is full of Birthday activities from in-home parties to a gymnastics center but we wanted to keep my daughters party low key this year with a DIY Donut Cart. There doesn’t have to be 100 people around for a fun time. Get the kids up in the morning while still in pajamas, gorge on donuts (hey, it is okay once a year), and open a few gifts for a fun way to start the morning!

What you need for the Donut Cart:

  • A bar or storage cart. I bought this cart awhile back from IKEA with 3 tiers.
  • Donuts for the family. You can pick out fun colors and sprinkles.
  • Cake stands to place the donuts on.
  • A glass for each child with a sprinkle rim and milk inside.
  • Plates.
  • Napkins.
  • Flowers to freshen up the area and give color.
  • A fun banner tied onto the cart or in the background.
  • Balloons.
  • Presents.

Presents, treats, balloons. All checked off the Birthday wish list and honestly, what more does a person need? Not much. We decided to also take the kids to Build-A-Bear where my daughter made a unicorn and it was an all-around successful third Birthday. You could get ready after donuts and hang out at the park, walk around the zoo or even just stay in pajamas all day and watch movies. Okay, maybe the staying in pajamas all day is on my own personal Birthday wish list but your child really does not need anything extravagant to be happy.

9 More Ways to Celebrate a Birthday

The Donut Cart is just the beginning! Here are 9 more ways to celebrate a Birthday.

Birthday Party in Your Home

Pick a theme and invite everyone you know! You can keep it simple and affordable with grilling hot dogs and a cake from Costco or all go out with tons of decorations, a photo booth, games, prizes and custom desserts.

Birthday Party on Location

Skating rinks, parks, gymnastic centers, Build-A-Bear, city pools, Chuck E. Cheese’s, rock climbing, indoor bounce house…. the list goes on. Think about what your child’s interests are at the moment and call around to see if party packages are offered or if large groups can be accommodated.

Lunch and Activity

Go to your kids favorite restaurant or make a nice lunch at home, followed by an activity. Invite the family and maybe a couple of friends to join. The activity could be anything from hanging out at the lake, a mini shopping spree at their favorite store, a visit to the aquarium or mini golf.

Movie Theatre

You can host Birthday parties at most movie theatres to invite all your friends for cake, ice cream and a movie by contacting your local theatre and renting the party room. But you don’t need the party room, just have some friends and family meet you at the theatre (daytime hours better than night) and let your kid pick a movie and maybe grab some ice cream after- that is if you all didn’t fill up on popcorn and candy.

Amusement Park

We have celebrated my sons Birthday in the past by spending the day at King’s Island. He was able to bring one friend with us. We ate lunch there and ran around the park until everyone was worn out. Amusement Parks can get expensive but it is worth the price for a really great day with the whole family. Plus, I don’t know a single kid who doesn’t love roller coasters.

Dinner

Have a family and closest friends meet at your kids favorite restaurant for a nice dinner and dessert. Make sure to call ahead and reserve a table if possible and ask how they celebrate Birthdays. Some places will sing or bring out a dessert. Any restaurant will work! From McDonalds to Olive Garden to your favorite spot for Mexican food to a hibachi grill.

Spa Day

Most salons have pedicure chairs for kids and some spas are even specially designed just for kids. You can take just the family for some mani/pedis or invite all your kids friends. Contact your salon for details on large parties and to schedule a time.

Slumber Party

The slumber party is a right of passage through childhood. Every child needs to attend a few and host at least one huge slumber party! I think 11-13 is a good age for this… they aren’t too mischievous yet but all the kids are old enough to entertain themselves.  Decide if you are feeding the kids dinner or breakfast and what type of snacks will be offered. Pizza for dinner and morning donuts? Gather some games, cards, movies and music. We had slumber parties in tents set up in the backyard or with sleeping bags spread out on the trampoline when I was younger. Each kids needs pajamas, change of clothes, pillow, and blanket. Make sure to let parents know what the plans are for the night and pick up/drop off times. Also, get all the parents cell numbers in case of an emergency.

Concert

Take your child and one of their closest friends to their first concert! The appropriate age for this ranges for the type of music they like and the venue. Some concerts or venues have age restrictions so make sure to double check and make the choice as the parent for what is appropriate for your own child. My first real concert was at 13 or so for Blink 182. A concert is something your child will remember for years and a great way to bond.

Do you have any other great party ideas? Let me know about them in the comments below.