Cloth Diapering 101 Update

I did a post a few months ago talking about my plans for cloth diapering.  Turns out, I had done enough research that most of it has worked pretty well!  Now, I’ve answered all the questions again (and added a couple) for all my bloggy friends who are thinking about cloth diapering.  By no means am I suggesting that I’m an expert after a few of weeks of CDing (although I’ve changed quite a few diapers in those few weeks), but if y’all have any questions that I haven’t answered, I’ll be happy to try!

Why did we decide to cloth diaper?

The reason I started to think about cloth diapering was because we’ve (okay, I’ve) been looking for ways to make our household a little more green. I made our own laundry detergent and household cleaners in Washington, make everything from scratch, have a garden, etc. I’m planning on making some unpaper towels to use in our kitchen over the next few weeks. So, cloth diapering just made sense when I thought about making our household more green.

I’d be lying if I said that the fact that we’ll save between $1000 and $1500 PER KID didn’t factor into our decision. That’s huge! Even if we never did it again, it would be worth it, but we’re both hoping for at least a couple more kids which will save us a ton.

It also helps that cloth diapered butts are pretty much the cutest thing ever! I mean, really. Matthew could be running around in a t-shirt and cloth diaper and it won’t bug me nearly as much because at least it’s cute. I’m definitely that mom that insists her kids look cute (kind of like how my mom did all three girls’ long hair EVERY DAY… crazy woman!) and I’m totally good with that!

What does my stash consist of?

We have:

  • 14 FuzziBunz One-Size ELITE Diapers (snap)
  • 9 bumGenius 4.0 One-Size Diapers (snap)
  • 2 medium Planet Wise wet bags
  • 2 large Planet Wise wet bags
  • 48 cloth wipes

We’ll add swim diapers to our stash when we get closer to summertime and know what size he’ll be over the summer. I’m using the two medium wet bags for in our diaper bag for dirty diapers and dirty clothes. The two large wet bags get hung in a hamper in his room for dirty diapers/liners.  I think I’m going to add another loop on the opposite side so that it hangs all the way across, instead of dangling by a corner. He has another hamper in his room for all of his dirty clothes. I also bought 48 baby washcloths (2 packs of 24 from Ross) to use as cloth wipes.  They’re the small, super thin kind that (in my opinion) would be useless for actually washing him but are AMAZING for wiping his butt.

Diaper Hamper

Diaper Hamper

How did I build our stash?

I bought all of our diapers off of Kelly’s Closet. After checking out a bunch of different websites, this seemed like the cheapest way to do it. The diapers are all reasonably priced (about the same or cheaper than other websites I had found). And not only did I get three free Fuzzibunz diapers by breaking up my purchases into multiple orders, but you also get rewards points for every dollar you spend, which can then be used towards more diapers! Plus, when you sign up for their newsletter, you get a 10% off coupon, too. Yay!

If I were considering trying more types, I probably would have gone with Craig’s List or something similar, but I decided we definitely wanted to do pocket diapers, and those were the top two brands recommended by pretty much everyone so I felt comfortable making our stash out of FuzziBunz and bumGenius. I thought trying too many would not only be a lot more work (and make me a lot less likely to keep cloth diapering) but also super overwhelming when we tried to figure out which ones we actually liked best.

What do the diapers actually look like?

One of the things I had a hard time seeing was what the diapers actually look like.  All the websites just have the cute pictures of babies in them or them completely closed up.  Well, here are what ours look like!

The Fuzzibunz are a little thinner than the Bumgenius when you have the BGs set up to be a size small or medium (because the material doubles up when you snap them to that size) but I love both!  The BGs work really, really well for overnight since the pad is doubled up in the front right now, and therefore has more fabric for absorbing his pee (the kid pees a TON at night).  We haven’t had either one leak yet, though, *knock on wood*.  I’m definitely glad we went with the snaps over the velcro because it gives us the option to use a different snap for the legs than we do the waist, which is awesome for our tall, skinny little boy.

Fuzzibunz Diaper

bumGenius Diaper

What are we using with cloth diapers?

We’ve ended up not using any disposable diapers.  We will when we go on trips, but otherwise, it’s cloth diapers all the way.  I’ll probably always use disposable wipes when we’re out and about, simply because spraying a cloth wipe with the mixture while we’re out just isn’t practical for us.

I’m planning to use coconut oil instead of a diaper rash cream since most creams aren’t cloth diaper-safe, but also because I’d rather use something natural on him as much as possible. We haven’t had to try it out yet, thankfully.  If it doesn’t work for him, we’ll use a cloth diaper-safe butt cream, of course, but I’d rather try this first!

We decided to go ahead and use cloth wipes at home as well.  Since they can be thrown in the wash with the diapers, it saves us money on disposable wipes (although we still use those when we go out!).  We just didn’t see the point in using cloth diapers but not cloth wipes when it won’t be much more work at all!  I got the super thin washcloths from Ross and they work SO well.  I use one of them on messes that I would normally have to use three disposable wipes, and they smell great with the tee tree oil.

For the cloth wipe solution, I use a mixture of water and a little tea tree oil.  Some babies have a bad reaction to it, but Matthew has done great. I have them in a jar that I found at TJ Maxx for ten bucks and filled it with the solution to keep them wet. Then, when I have a dirty one, it just gets tossed in with the diapers in one of the wet bags and washed along with them.

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I decided against a diaper sprayer for now, simply because we’re exclusively breastfeeding, and EBF baby poop is totally water soluble (which means no worrying about some on the diaper when I go to wash it!). We may invest in one later, but we’ll just have to see how it goes!

What’s my plan for laundering?

Let me start this part off with a confession.  I. Hate. Laundry.  With a passion.  Like, Ryan and I used to run out of underwear before I could convince myself to do it.  So if I’m willing to do the laundry to cloth diaper, clearly it can’t be THAT bad, right?  We bought enough diapers that we could probably wash every other day, but I’ve just made it part of my routine in the morning to throw a load in so that I don’t have a ton to stuff every night.  I much prefer to do 10 at a time instead of 20.  So, I throw them into the wash after his first diaper change in the morning, throw them into the dryer after my shower, and then stuff them while I watch TV that night. I have my washer set to do a cold soak and then a hot wash. I haven’t gotten to line dry them yet (but I’m certainly not arguing with the wonderful thunderstorms we’ve had!), but I’m sure I’ll have plenty of chances to do that this summer. I’m using Charlie’s Soap for washing Matthew’s diapers, mostly because it was recommended by my cousin and also because it was recommended on a BUNCH of the blogs I read.  It’s working super well!  The diapers are clean without any residue and staying white.

How do I have them organized?

Anyone who knows me knows I loooove organizing so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that they’re organized by color in the drawer.  The left drawer has all of his diapers (this isn’t all of them, since there are always a few dirty!) and the right drawer has the extra smaller inserts (which will get used at night once he starts peeing enough to need extra padding), coconut oil, extra disposable wipes, and his little socks (because it makes more sense to put them there than in the drawers with his clothes that are organized by size).

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Left drawer

Left drawer

Right drawer

Right drawer

I think that about covers it!  Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll be happy to try to answer them.  I by no means think I’m an expert, but just thought I’d share what we’ve been doing to help out all my friends who are considering cloth diapering soon!

What are my favorite resources?

Cloth Diapering Q&A and Organization – My favorite blog post about cloth diapering!

The Undomestic Mommy’s (Unofficial) Guide to Cloth Diapering – Goes through everything really thoroughly

Cloth Diaper Dictionary – Because there are just so. many. terms!

Amazing Cloth Diapering Organization – Great tips, and LOVE her dresser organization

Matthew Ryan – 2 Months

*I actually wrote this last week, on his two month birthday, but failed to edit the pictures until now!*

Dear Matthew,

You’re two months old today and I cannot believe how big you are!  It’s been a month of hanging out with your Air Force Aunt Kim,  exploring our new home, and getting it all ready to go for you.  You’re such a happy baby almost all of the time, and when you’re not, it’s usually for a good reason.

April 8, 2013

April 8, 2013

This month had your first Easter.  Your Easter basket had some fun toys, a sun hat, bunny ears, bow ties (to make your daddy happy) and a few books.  You’re doing amazingly every time we take you to church, sleeping through the whole thing in your car seat, and Easter was no exception.  Then we all went to the O Club for brunch with your Air Force Aunt Lisa.

"Whatcha doin', Daddy?"

You started cloth diapers on Easter and you LOVE them.  You smile at me every time I lay you down on the changing table.  I’m sure you’re thinking they’re nice and soft and cozy!  Plus, you love to be stylin’ with your matching diapers and outfits.

Cutest butt ever!

You’re 13 pounds, 4 ounces and 23 inches long.  Apparently you really like Mama’s milk!  You fit in all 0 to 3 month clothes, and even some 3 to 6 months!  We’ve needed to go shopping for new outfits for you to wear this summer, and will probably need to do it again before we’re even halfway through.  Luckily, you love the sunshine so it’s been good to have short sleeve onesies for you to lay in outside.

Smiles

You’ve been sleeping about 4 hours at a time, sometimes as long as 5, which has been great for Mama’s sanity, especially since Daddy started flying and needs his rest, too!  Even when you wake up, it’s mostly just for a snack and a diaper change and then you go right back to sleep.  There haven’t been any all-nighters this month!  We’ve started having you nap in your crib, in preparation for you to sleep in it overnight starting tonight.  Mama isn’t ready for you to be this big, but Mama and Daddy both need to get better sleep while you sleep.

Naptime

You’re so smiley now!  You smile at me when I come get you from the swing, car seat or crib and it’s absolutely the most incredible feeling.  You also think you’re absolutely hilarious when you’re looking at yourself in the mirror on the swing or on your playmat and give us some of the best looks!

Quite the Look

Moose guards you wherever you’re laying, and even Chewie has decided you’re pretty okay.  Moose has gotten a couple of full-face licks in, but you don’t seem to mind.  Chewie will come up and sniff at you and you just grin at him.  I can’t wait to see the two of you playing together!

It’s only been two months, my little buddy, but I can’t remember what life was like before you.  You’re the most amazing thing to happen to me since your daddy, and we’re both head-over-heels in love with you in a way that I hope you get to experience in your life (in another 30 years…).

Dress

Love,

Mama

Weekly What?

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I’m linking up with Jenn, Ricci, and Allie and sharing all about what I blogged about this week!  So if you missed anything, now’s your chance to catch up!

So, what was I up to this week?

Monday

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Well, Monday was 5 for Five!  Check it out to see how I did on my goals!

Tuesday

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Tuesday was the start of my Meal Planning 101 mini-series!  I talked about how I keep my meal planning HEALTHY on Tuesday.

Wednesday

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On Wednesday, I talked about how I keep our meal planning SIMPLE!

More importantly, I paid tribute to an American hero, Capt. James Steel, who died protecting you (yes, you) last week.

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Thursday

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Thursday was all about how I keep our meal planning CHEAP!

Friday

Recipe Tabs

Friday, I shared how I organize my recipes to make it easier to plan out our meals.

Recipe Binder

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Tuesday was all about how I keep meal planning healthy.  Then Wednesday, I talked about how I keep it easy. Yesterday was all about how I keep it cheap!  Today, I’ll detail how I organize my recipes which makes for faster, easier meal planning!Recipe Binder

For my sister’s birthday, I made a recipe binder for her with all of our family’s favorites from my mom, grandma, and a bunch that I’ve found.  While I was typing up and printing all of them, I decided I may as well finally make one for myself (something that had been on my to do list for a VERY long time).  They turned out really well!  The super pretty cover page came from Prudent Baby.

I made a whole bunch of tabs for them, mostly because I’m OCD and it makes me feel better, but also because it makes it easier to quickly find a recipe.  The tabs I made were:

  • Bread/Muffins
  • Dips/Appetizers
  • Sauces/Marinades/Dressings
  • Soups
  • Salads/Veggies
  • Sides
  • Pasta/Grains
  • Beef
  • Poultry
  • Pork/Lamb
  • Seafood
  • Dessert
  • Crockpot
  • Beverages
  • Other

Recipe Tabs

I also included a conversion chart (courtesy of The Carolina Clipper) because I’m just really bad at math and this will save me from messing up a recipe!

Conversions Page

I used a recipe page from NewBee Homeschooler that I found on Pinterest.  It’s super cute and let me type everything in.  I also LOVE that it has the oven temperature and time the recipe takes at the bottom for easy reading.

Recipe

Because I put all of the recipes in plastic sleeves (keeps them from ripping out accidentally or getting spilled on), I added extra sleeves at the front to add to sections as needed.  This lets me put magazine clippings of recipes I like in easily, without having to tear them up, type them up, etc.

Magazine Page

Meal Planning 101: How I Keep It Cheap

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Tuesday was all about how I keep meal planning healthy.  Then yesterday, I talked about how I keep it easy. Today will be all about how I keep it cheap  (we spent $47 this week, not including the meat we already had)!  Lastly, tomorrow, I’ll detail how I organize my recipes which makes for faster, easier meal planning!

Even though we definitely aren’t hurting financially, it’s not like we’re raking it in either, and with a new baby that we’re saving for college for, money just got a little tighter, so keeping our grocery budget small is important to us, but so is eating healthy, safe foods.  The good news is, eating food made from scratch is really not as expensive as people think, and definitely cheaper than eating out, no matter where you eat!  Our meals are typically less than $5 for both of us, with leftovers.  You can’t even eat at McDonald’s for that!  I budget $100 a week for groceries.  That includes all the toilet paper, cleaning products (I don’t buy many, but I include vinegar, baking soda, essential oils, etc. in that category), paper towels, and other random items you buy at the grocery store.  I usually end up spending about $75 on fruit, veggies, and ingredients every week.  The other $25 gets saved and spent on the random items and our once-a-month Sam’s Club trip for meat, cheese, quinoa, toilet paper, etc.

There are two ways that I make our grocery budget smaller.  The way I save the most is by using Sam’s Club.  I buy meat and cheese in bulk, including chicken breasts, pork chops, steak, fish, etc.  I then come home, wrap each in plastic wrap individually, label what it is, and freeze it in my deep freezer.  It’s like having my own mini butcher shop!  I go out to get whatever meat I want for dinner that night and let it thaw throughout the day.  The meat is typically about 2/3 the price or less than it would be at the commissary or grocery store, even on sale.  It also saves on paper products, grains (like quinoa), nuts (which are super expensive otherwise!), and sauces like Worcestershire or soy.  The other thing I do buy at Sam’s is canned tomatoes.  I’ll buy a huge thing of pureed tomatoes and diced tomatoes, make them into a big batch of spaghetti sauce or chili, and freeze them for super cheap, super easy meals later on.

The second way is by shopping for seasonal fruit and veggies makes for a much cheaper grocery bill as well.  Now, I realize you can’t always buy in season, but you’re more likely to get produce that is better for you AND your budget if you buy in season.  You’re going to get fruit and veggies from closer to you (not Chile, Argentina, Australia, wherever) which means fewer chemicals on your produce.  In addition, it means you can buy it at your local farmers market or through a co-op, so you’re supporting your local farmers AND getting delicious, healthy food all at the same time!  Shopping at the farmers market tends to end up cheaper for us, too.

Meal planning means that I’m not buying more than we need for the week, which means we aren’t wasting food and we aren’t buying stuff that will just end up going bad.  It takes a little practice to buy the right amount of everything, especially when you don’t know exactly how much you’ll be snacking on if you normally snack on other things, but you’ll get there and you’ll feel great when you don’t have food being wasted and are eating foods that are much better for you and your family than the processed stuff the grocery store is filled with.

A Toast… to Capt. James Steel

On April 3rd, America lost one of its heroes.  Capt. James Steel was an F-16 pilot, fighting for our freedom in Afghanistan.  His plane crashed that day, and he was unable to eject.  The Air Force is so small it makes my head spin sometimes.  His twin brother, Jon, is one of our dear friends from McChord.  One of my friends, Kristen’s, husband was in James’ squadron.  James graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2006, which means he was a classmate of many, many of our friends.
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      I’ll be the first to admit that I cried when I found out who the pilot was that passed away.  It’s an emotional thing to hear of any pilot’s death because, as every military wife can attest, you’re immediately thinking of your own pilot.  You’re thinking of how your world would come crashing down if that were to happen to him, and just as quickly, thinking of how another family is hurting in a way you can only imagine.  You want to reach out and make it okay, knowing there’s absolutely no way that family will ever be the same again.  But this one… This one was personal.  He was someone I had heard about for three years. He was the brother that my friend was so excited to see last summer when he FINALLY got leave and they went to the beach with their family in South Carolina.
      To hear of a pilot dying is unusual, to say the least.  Pilots aren’t supposed to die.  They fly high above the danger, only dropping down to help the guys on the ground, whether that be air combat support like fighters provide, or food/shelter/ammo/vehicles/etc. support like the cargo world provides.  You don’t hear about pilots dying, which lets so many of us fall into the illusion that it just doesn’t happen, so when it does, and especially to someone near us, it’s a harsh snap to reality that what they do really is dangerous.
      The Steels’ mother is one of my heroes.  She has sent not only her husband, but four of her five children, to war, and has stood by them as they all made the decision to fight for our country.  I pray I can be as strong if/when our children choose to follow their own dad’s footsteps and go to the Academy, perhaps to become pilots.  I cannot imagine the pain that their family is feeling.  Ryan and I immediately messaged Jon, expressing our condolences and telling him that we love him and would be there if he needs anything at all.  It’s just not enough, though, and yet, it’s all we can do.
      His family is missing their son, their brother, their best friend.  His squadron is missing their wingman, their buddy.  The Air Force is truly a family, and I know that James’ family is being surrounded by all of us, there to ensure that if there IS anything we can do to make the pain just a little less, it’ll happen.  There’s a toast at the end of the speeches at every dining in, ball, etc. that always makes me tear up, and reading it today, in reference to Capt. James “Mano” Steel was no exception.
So, a toast…
We toast our hearty comrades who have fallen from the skies, and were gently caught by God’s own hands to be with him on high.
To dwell among the soaring clouds they’ve known so well before, from victory roll to tail chase at heavens very door.
And as we fly among them there we’re sure to hear their plea, “Take care my friend, watch your six, and do one more roll for me.”
A couple of articles about James:

Meal Planning 101: How I Keep It Simple

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Yesterday was all about how I keep it healthy.  Today is all about how I keep it easy. Thursday will be all about how I keep it cheap  (we spent $47 this week, not including the meat we already had!)!  Friday, I’ll detail how I organize my recipes which makes for faster, easier meal planning!

Let’s be honest.  If it’s not easy, I’m not going to do it, especially with a new baby, two dogs, a husband that’s working 12 hour days, and a house to take care of.  Oh, and maybe squeezing in a social life in there somewhere.  I bet you’re the same way.  And yet, I meal plan every week.  That must mean it’s easy and quick!

First, I find an hour or so on Saturday after we’ve been to the farmer’s market (or Sunday morning if it’s not farmer’s market season) to figure out what I can make out of what I’ve already bought from the local farmers.  We tend to use the same veggies every week, mixing up HOW we use them, which not only makes for faster planning, but also means that I can buy them at the farmer’s market without having to plan what we’re making ahead of time.  Any extra fruit or veggies that we need that either weren’t at the farmers market or I forgot to/didn’t buy, I just pick up at the store on Sunday.  I much prefer to buy whatever the farmers market has and then plan around that, but it WOULD be simpler to plan ahead and then go to a grocery store, so if you’re pressed for time, don’t have a farmers market, or would prefer to buy from a larger chain, skip this part entirely!

To plan our meals, I scroll through Pinterest, I flip through my recipe binder (post on Friday about that!), and I think about what spices we have in the pantry and fridge to throw on the veggies.  Once I find recipes I think we’ll like, I pull out one of my notepads.  On that notepad, I write down Monday through Sunday, with lunch and dinner written under each.  I think about our week and fill in where we’ll be eating out or wanting to do leftovers (you might do this on a soccer practice day, or do brunch out after church).  Then, I start filling in the recipe ideas.  Even though I put them on a certain day, they don’t necessarily get made that day.  It’s moreso just so I know how many meals I actually need.  I usually make a breakfasts and snacks list separate, rather than under each day, since we rotate the same three breakfasts all week, and typically do the same snacks every week.

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Part of keeping it simple means using veggies to multitask.  For example, I buy bell peppers every week (at least until mine start producing some in my garden!).  I come home on Saturday or Sunday, wash them, slice them into sticks, and throw them in a tupperware container.  Then, I used them for snacking (bell pepper plain is one of my favorites!), diced into the egg cups, diced into the Southwestern quinoa salad, and into green salads off and on all week.  It took me 30 seconds to pull out a handful of the sticks and dice them up into whatever I was making that day, instead of having to seed and slice and then dice on a weeknight when I’m pressed for time as it is.  Do this with all your veggies and it’ll save you a TON of time, especially since you’ll already be in slicing and dicing mode.  It takes me about half an hour to do all of the celery, bell peppers, carrots, etc. that I buy every week.  This also gives me easy things to throw into Ryan’s lunches, since he changes his mind all the time about what he wants.  I already have everything prepped and ready to go so he can change his mind all he wants and it doesn’t take me any more time in the mornings.

For even simpler meal planning, we tend to do a grilled meat (grilled chicken, grilled fish, grilled pork chops, grilled steak, etc.) with some sort of veggie or salad.  This gives a lot of flavor without any additional work.  Sometimes I’ll marinate the meat or add a sauce, but honestly, we enjoy the grilled flavor and don’t feel the need to add the salt or calories that come with those options most nights.  That means that the only work that really goes into our dinners is the veggie or salad and gives me more time to make a more elaborate veggie or salad.  The perk of making a grilled meat is, we do grilled chicken early in the week (Sunday or Monday night), grill a couple of extra chicken breasts, and then I have them for various chicken salads for lunches later in the week!

My other “shortcut” for making meals throughout the week has to do with making things in bulk.  For example, I make a huge batch of spaghetti sauce from scratch and freeze it in 2 and 4 cup servings.  I use some for spaghetti later, others for ziti or lasagna.  I also make soups and chili in large batches and freeze them for quick and easy meals.  It doesn’t take any longer to make a big batch than it does a small one (other than maybe a little more chopping and dicing) when I’m planning that meal anyway and it saves me a TON of time later on.

Once I’m done planning everything, I go through the recipes and make a list of everything I need for them.  Then, I go through our fridge and pantry and cross off what I already have. I’ve found that this is faster than trying to make the list while checking the fridge and pantry.  After the list is made, I pack up the kid and head to the store to get everything I need for that week.

I head home, throw all the fruit and veggies into a sink of water with a cup of white vinegar (it gets all the wax off the apples and cleans everything super well without any work), and put away everything else while the veggies are getting clean.  By the time I’m done putting everything else away (there isn’t much, to be honest), I pull the fruit and veggies out of the sink, put them on a towel to dry, and start slicing and chopping everything up and put it into tupperware and into the fridge so it’s ready to go for the week!

Meal Planning 101: How I Keep It Healthy

I’ve started making everything from scratch, and many of you have asked how on earth I pull that off, so I thought I’d do a mini-series about it!  I’ve been doing most things for quite some time, but sort of fell off the wagon in San Antonio when I had a tiny kitchen, 1/4 of my kitchen gadgets, no mixer, and no energy.  Now that we’re settled into our house, though, we’ve eaten through all the boxed and packaged stuff and are eating entirely from scratch!  I know this sounds incredibly daunting, but I promise, I only spend a few more minutes a week making our food from scratch than I did from boxes, and it’s so much tastier and healthier AND cheaper (we spent $47 this week, not including the meat we already had!)!  I don’t think I ever spend more than 20 minutes making dinner (unless you count waiting on something to bake, I suppose), and frankly, even if I HAD the time, I wouldn’t want to!  It’s all about planning ahead, and I’m going to help you do that this week with a series of posts.

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Today is all about how I keep it healthy.  Tomorrow will be all about how I keep it easy.  And Thursday will be all about how I keep it cheap!  Friday, I’ll detail how I organize my recipes which makes for faster, easier meal planning!

Breakfast

The most important meal of the day!  Even on mornings that I’m exhausted (let’s be honest, what morning am I NOT exhausted anymore?), I manage to make sure that we’re all eating a healthy, filling breakfast.  For the dogs and Matthew, that’s kind of a given.  For Ryan and myself, notsomuch.  So, how do I do it?

For starters, we aren’t picky about variety for breakfast.  Give us a couple of different options for the week, and we’re good.

I find recipes I can make on Sunday afternoon, like these delicious egg cups!  Then, all I have to do is heat it up in the microwave for 30 seconds, top with a little salsa (or ketchup if you’re Ryan… gross.), and eat.  I found a great recipe for fridge oatmeal.  It doesn’t require ANY cooking (just assembly!) and it’s delicious for summer breakfasts.  I make things on Sunday afternoon to go with my quick meals that I can just heat up, like sausage patties or bacon.

I also have some quick and easy go-to meals for mornings when I have 10 minutes or less to cook.  Real oatmeal (not any of this instant, sugar-filled nonsense) takes me about 7 minutes to make and it’s super filling, you can control the amount of sugar and salt, and you can make it any flavor you want!  Scrambled eggs take all of three minutes to make on the stove.  I also do yogurt with fruit and nuts in it, which takes about 30 seconds and is just as filling!

Lunch

Lunches for us typically consist of an easy, make ahead salad that has protein and greens in it, or leftovers from earlier dinners.  I love to send salads with Ryan because they don’t require heating up and typically only need one or two tupperware containers (I like to keep the wet ingredients separate from the greens so that it’s still tasty and fresh when he goes to eat it six hours later).  They’re also easy for him to eat while he’s briefing for a flight, since all he needs is the tupperware container and a fork.  Some of our favorites include Southwestern Quinoa Salad, Leftover Chicken Chopped Salad, Cherry Bacon Spinach Salad, and Strawberry Salad.

Dinner

Dinners are almost always a protein, veggie/salad, and maybe a small amount of starch.  We fill up our plates with veggies and/or salad, and add a palm-sized amount of protein (normally a lean protein like grilled chicken, fish, or ground turkey, but we do love our steak, too!).  The important thing is to vary your salad dressing (SUPER easy to make from scratch) and your veggies.  Even if you use the same veggies every night, there are so many great ways to vary the way they taste, by choosing different seasonings and marinades.  One of our favorites is to grill up yellow squash, zucchini, mushrooms, onion, and garlic after all of it has been marinating in

  • 3/4 c soy sauce
  • 1/4 c Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 1/4 c yellow mustard
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • black pepper

Snacks

Everyone knows that snacks can be one of the worst culprits for unhealthy eating.  It’s so easy to grab a sugar-filled cookie, granola bar, or yogurt.  How do we keep ourselves from eating that stuff?  We just don’t buy it!  You can’t eat it if it isn’t in the house, after all.  I’ve made our own granola bars (although I use half the sugar that this recipe calls for, and I use my own granola that has barely any sweetener), dips, etc.  I wash and chop up fruit and veggies (bell peppers, carrots, celery, apples, strawberries, melons, etc.) on Sunday afternoon, when I get home from buying them, and keep them in tupperware containers so that we can see the pretty colors (science has shown that you’re more likely to eat something if it looks pretty) when we’re wanting to snack.  I also keep easy options around, like celery and peanut butter.  For when we want something a little salty and definitely crunchy, I go for kale chips.

For more healthy, from-scratch meal and snack ideas, follow my Eating From Scratch board on Pinterest!

This Week’s Meal Plan!

Starting off a week of meal planning tips, I thought I’d share what we’re eating this week (tip: it cost us $47, not including the meat that I already had in our freezer!).  Tuesday will be all about how I keep meal planning healthy.  Then Wednesday, I’ll talk about how I keep it easy. Thursday will be all about how I keep it cheap!  Lastly, Friday, I’ll detail how I organize my recipes which makes for faster, easier meal planning!

I’m also linking up with Lisa at Sorority Life Army Wife for Meal Plan Monday!

Meal Plan Monday

So, what’re we having this week?  All of these and SO many more ideas can be found on my Eating From Scratch Pinterest Board!  Come follow me over there!

Like last week, we’ll be snacking on a bunch of cut up veggies, and eating eggs/bacon/sausage/oatmeal/fruit for breakfast.  For lunches, the husband has requested the Southwestern Quinoa Salad again and we’re trying out a Pineapple Pecan Chicken Salad.

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For dinners, we’re doing an Asian spinach salad with salmon, edamame, and a soy ginger vinaigrette.  Another night will be grilled chicken and broccoli salad (made with Greek yogurt instead of mayo).  We’ll also have grilled pork chops with sautéed caramelized onion and green beans. Tuesday night will be tacos (guac, pico, seasoning, etc. completely made from scratch) with homemade Spanish rice because my friend Rachel is coming over for dinner for the first time!  Yay!  The other night will be our all-time favorite salad, a spinach salad with a warm cherry bacon vinaigrette.  It’s AMAZING!

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Cherry Bacon Vinaigrette Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese and Grilled Chicken

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Rice Cooker Spanish Rice

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Asian Spinach Salad

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Broccoli Salad

What are you making this week for you and your family?

Weekly What?

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I’m linking up with Jenn, Ricci, and Allie and sharing all about what I blogged about this week!  So if you missed anything, now’s your chance to catch up!

So, what was I up to this week?

Monday

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Well, Monday was 5 for Five!  I pulled off 3 out of 5 last week, but planned on making this week 5 for Five!

Tuesday

"Whatcha doin', Daddy?"

Tuesday, I shared pictures of our Easter Sunday, including the start of cloth diapering!

Wednesday

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Wednesday, I shared some of my planned meals with Oh, How Pinteresting!  I also gave y’all a preview of my mini-series that I’ll be sharing next week: Meal Planning 101, including how to make it 1) healthy, 2) simple, and 3) cheap!

Thursday

Baby

Thursday, I talked all about how awesome my twin is and how much fun her visit was!

Friday

Preparing For A Little One

Friday, I shared my Top 10 Baby Must-Haves and linked up with Kaitlyn over at Wifessionalsl