My Meal Planning Process & Grocery Haul

I've been loving seeing people's grocery hauls on InstaStories, and it's made me a lot more conscious about my own process, so I figured I'd share what a random week looks like for our family.

Lately, no two weeks have been the same, so I can't really tell you that we spend X every week, or that I cook 5 times a week 100% of the time, because it just is so sporadic week to week lately, but last week was a pretty accurate look at how things go. 

I meal planned on a Wednesday morning - right around 7am, and planned out 3 dinners.  


Tuna Pasta Salad (this was a new one for us - and it's easy as could be. I added peas to ours)

Besides needing everything for those recipes, I needed some standards too - milk, eggs, yogurt, butter, gold fish....you know - the necessities.  

My grocery bill was $130 for the below - and I would say that's pretty fair.


The same as above, but just split with better lighting. 

Most weeks, I end up going to the grocery store twice. Once during the week and then once during the weekend once we've decided we want to grill out, makes pizzas with friends, or do a double batch of chili to freeze. 

On produce groceries (not including target or alcohol), for the entire week I bet we average close to $180/$200 a week. About once a month I also go to Trader Joe's to stock up on items that I prefer from there (peanut butter, sauces, waffles, snacks, frozen fruit, etc.) Joel and I both eat lunch at home or work most everyday, and I would say that covers about 4.5 cooked meals. 

We eat fairly healthy, don't have tons of processed foods,  and feel like we eat the food we buy and don't waste tons - but it's still a LOT of money to be spending on consumables every single week.

I know a lot of bloggers feel like they've made significant savings by shopping at Aldi - but I'd love feedback as to how groceries and meal planning and eating at home looks at your house too.

Start shopping home decor on Keep to make your home totally fab!


Bumpdate: 26 weeks

How Far Along? 26w6d

Gender: GIRL

Weight Gain: 14.5 - thanking my cold for the little loss

Maternity Clothes:  Same....in maternity pants and select normal shirts for the most part.

Nursery: Nothing.....eek! I'm planning on getting it done in October/November.

Movement: YES - and lots - through clothes now too. She's hard to miss honestly and is starting to feel bigger.

Symptoms: The weather has been nuts here, and I'm blaming it for my cold/allergies going on. I'm really congested which isn't fun when you don't feel like you can breathe normal in the first place. Thankfully I'm getting some relief with a Claritin, but its not fun. I also don't have a lot of patience and cannot stand being outside in this +95 degree weather. It instantly makes me want to cry - drama, I know!

Sleep: For the most part, ok but the cold has been rough for my sleeping through the night.

Joel:  He is so helpful and really, if it weren't for him being so on it when he was at home, I would be in trouble. He tries to seriously give me a break whenever he can, doesn't complain when I drag him to the grocery store, sleep in on the weekends, and am just generally off. He is a good, good catch with a LOT of patience.

Workouts:  Got to the gym twice but have been missing my walks a LOT. Working out really helps keep me happy and relaxed, so I felt the effects of missing my walks a bit this week. On Sunday we took a short bike ride and swam in the lake a bit, and just that little burst of activity really helped. The weather should cool down soon here and I'm going to try and make up it!

Mood/Mental State: So, the hot weather makes me really, really angry, but I have a better handle on my anxiety this week which is good. A long talk with Joel, my therapist, and working on a few new things (visualizing and writing in my journal) have been helping.  Just trying to take this last chunk week by week, appointment by appointment and not go overboard.

Cravings: Nothing and since I'm stuffy this week, not much has tasted great either.

What I Miss: Dayquil. I always miss that when I get colds while I'm pregnant!

Random Things: Leo turned TWO this week! We had so much fun celebrating him this weekend and he has had a really great week with lots of new toys, seeing family and friends and lots and lots of cake!

Best Moment of the Week:  Leo's birthday - the whole day I kept thinking about where we were two years ago, how amazing this ride has been with Leo and being a mom, and how lucky and blessed I am for my healthy, growing family.

Looking Forward To: The weather cooling off a bit and getting our 28 week appointment in the books. I'm looking forward to have the Glucoa test behind me! I go next Monday so I'm ready to cross that off the list.


Birthday weekend celebrations!

On Friday, Leo's school had a field trip to a farm. When I first got the letter in the mail about the field trip, I anticipated a cool fall day, picking pumpkins and having apple cider donuts with hot coffee and just running around having a great time. 

I was not so much expecting temperatures to get up to 100 degrees, buttttt they did, and so we tried hard to make the best of it. 

Thankfully my mom came with us so I didn't totally drop down but we did decide to leave early, because it really was a hot one. 

Saturday we spent the day at home as a family - and it was needed. Joel got majorly caught up on house tasks and I stayed inside in the A/C mainly laying low. The heat seems to drain me more than anything during this pregnancy, so I just decided to relax and let it go - especially since Sunday was such a big day for us. We picked up pizzas, watched football, and snuggled our one year old one more time.....

because somehow, come Sunday, little Leo turned TWO!!!!!

I wanted the day to be spent filled with everything he loved, and honestly, it was just that. We started the morning off with a little bike ride and then made our way out onto the lake for a boat ride and swim.

If it's going to hot on your birthday at the end of September, you may as well enjoy it. 

Leo (and I!) could have stayed swimming in the lake for hours. We had so much fun being out there - it was the perfect birthday morning activity. 

After lunch, I snuck away to watch my Grandma's (who is 88, mind you) tap dance show. She does one every year and she loves for all of her family to be there - she did great and I was really glad I was there to see it. 

After the dance show, we came back to our house for a dinner with my sisters, parents, and Joel's parents. 

Leo was literally spoiled rotten and had the best night playing with new toys, getting loved on by his favorite people, and eating a HUGE slice of cake.


It was the perfect weekend celebrating our sweet boy!  




Weight: 25.0lbs (15%) and she didn't tell me your height but said it was 75% (which I don't believe). You were really wiggly for the measurement but it doesn't matter much - she said your growth curve is perfect.

Nicknames: LeeLee and WeeWhoa, but we often call you Leo John as well.

Clothes: 24mth/2T, 6 shoe, 5 diapers
Sleep:  You're a great sleeper although you've been putting up some nap fights where it can take you up to an hour and a half to fall asleep. You don't cry, but you sing, talk, play and move around in your crib which makes your mama crazy.

7:45: up - and if you're not, I wake up you (in order to help avoid some of our napping issues)
8:00am Breakfast-  we go right to breakfast now and you have your milk in your sippy cup.
9-12am play
11:30am/12pmish- lunch
1:15 pm nap
3:30pm snack 50% of the time & playtime
6:00pm dinner with a cup of milk
7:30 pm  bed

Health: A 3/4 day light cold this month but otherwise nothing. You are a healthy boy and we are so thankful for that.

Crying: Oh you sweet boy....if you fall or something happens, before you crack, your bottom lip will quiver and you will repeatedly say "Hi". It's like you're trying to compose yourself. It absolutely breaks my heart.
Feeding:  Buddy - best month ever! You've been awesome! You've been enjoying deli turkey in quesadillas or in turkey roll ups, have had shredded chicken in some pasta dishes, and even ate a good amount of meatballs this past week. You've also been a great fruit and veggie eater this month and have had a total surge in your eating habits as well.

Likes: The same remains. You like everything. You find joy and excitement in everything we do, which makes doing life with you just wonderful. Honestly, the list of what you like is so long I don't even know where to start. You love people, adventures, being outside, animals, new activities, music, toys, food, bubble baths, nap time.....You like life!
Not Liking: See above.

Milestones: You started school this month which has been a ton of fun! You are the youngest in your class, since we are starting you early (since you'll be the oldest in your actual class come Kindergarten), but let me tell you - you are fooling a lot of us! You hang with the two year olds VERY well and you make your parents very proud! 

You talk all day long, we are constantly impressed with your sentences (we are stringing together lots of 4 word sentences), and you will parrot anything we say....which means we have to be really careful around you!

You have loved puzzles this month, you know lots of your shapes, some of your colors, you know how old you are and your memory is outstanding. You have also impressed me with some conceptual understanding that I think (Biased mom, party of 1) is way above your age, and overall we pretty much think you're the smartest and cutest 2 year old there ever was.
Places You’ve Gone: We went up to Lake Geneva this past month to watch your dad accomplish a 50k race, but otherwise I think we've been around home. We have a really busy fall schedule...you do story time, a music class, and "school", and then spend two mornings a week for about an hour at the gym day care as well. We've also had lots of fun play dates and I've loved watching you make friends.

Roscoe: You are obsessed, ask him to come into your playroom 10x a day, want to kiss him 20x a day, and basically think he's the funniest thing you've ever seen.

Leo John, it is truly the joy of my life being your mom. Your dad and I could spend every waking moment with you, you are our whole world. You bring us such happiness and laughter and our lives are forever changed because of you. 
You are the biggest gift we've ever been given and we love you more than words could ever describe.
Happy 2nd birthday my sweet boy. 


Birthday Party Planning

For Leo's second birthday, we're keeping things pretty low key. We're having family and a few close friends pop by on a Saturday for a little "Fall Brunch". 

In my mind - it will sort of look like this. Lots of DIY decorations, backyard activities, pumpkins, cool air, friends and family....

2e38f3b455874fdc8843c29e9ca97213.jpg (640×640) 

Farm Animals Birthday Party Ideas | Photo 1 of 18 | Catch My Party "Little Pumpkin" Fall Picnic Birthday Party on Kara's Party Ideas | KarasPartyIdeas.com (30)

Pumpkin Tic-Tac-Toe. Perfect for Halloween or Fall Festival parties. 
I'm hoping to serve donuts, coffee, mimosas, bagels, quiche, and fruit salad before cupcakes for the birthday boy! 

13 Healthy Halloween Treats | The Beachbody Blog 

An easy breakfast buffet with lots of outside time and mingling...and that's it! 

Fall birthday party/ pumpkin smash cake                                                                                                                                                     More


Bumpdate: 25 weeks

following along: weeks 5-12 , weeks 13-16  , weeks 17-19 , weeks 20-22, week 23 , week 24

How Far Along? 25w6d

Gender: GIRL

Weight Gain: 16lbs

Maternity Clothes:  Same....in maternity pants and select normal shirts for the most part.

Nursery: Nothing.....eek! I'm planning on getting it done in October/November.

Movement: YES - and lots - through clothes now too. 

Symptoms: Really nothing new this week....a very low key week for the most part.

Sleep: Still sleeping well. A great night of sleep for me is getting up only once in the night to use the bathroom.

Joel: Ran a 50k this past weekend which is nuts. He ran one right before Leo was born too, he basically knows that the year following a new baby it's tough to get out of the house and put in lots of hours working out or training, so he set this goal this past spring and accomplished it with 3 months before baby girl comes and rocks his workout schedule!

Workouts:  With our fall schedule, I can really only get to the gym 2x/week. I do classes both of those days (a yoga and kickboxing class) that I really enjoy. I've also been trying to get 2-3 walks in the afternoons for about an hour. I really like walking from 4-5pm, it's a little cooler, and it's a nice time of day to be out of the house.

Mood: So sad to report - but SO anxious. It's my worst pregnancy complaint, but I battle with anxiety and it really seems to get me while I'm pregnant, since a lot of my anxiety is health based. I start to panic and obsess about things going wrong, my time in the hospital (something I dread), the c-section, worst case scenarios, nurses, doctors, etc. etc. etc. It's a major trigger area for me and this week it's taken a hold of my mind big time.

Cravings: Nothing specific this week that I can remember.

What I Miss: My energy, my motivation to do things, and my calm state of mind (but I'm working pretty hard at getting that back).

Random Things: Nothing noteworthy

Best Moment of the Week:  Seeing Joel cross the finish line at his race.

Looking Forward To: Celebrating Leo turning TWO this weekend!!!!!!


50ks, Funks, & Fall

On Saturday, Joel tackled his fourth 50k. 

And that's 31 miles for all of us non "k" speakers. After 10k, it just sounds like a lot - and it was. The race he ran was sponosored by North Face and was about 90 minutes from our house, just a little north of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. 

Joel did amazing, but the race landed on a supppper hot day in September and that was not fun for anyone. His mental strength truly amazes me and I cannot believe he walks away from these insane ultra running experiences unscathed! 

 I was so thankful to have his parents with us at the race. I was a worried mess waiting for him to cross the finish line, and Leo was totally entertained by his grandparents which made it so much easier for me! 


After his race, we decided to celebrate his accomplishment and his mom's birthday with lunch and ice cream in Lake Geneva, before heading home to watch a pretty intense UT football game. 


I've been lacking so much motivation and creative energy in all aspects of my life, and it's really been frustrating. Things I really enjoy - decorating, shopping, blogging, birthday party planning.....I'm very "blah" about all of them. I don't know if it's just a lack of energy all around, but this blog is sparse, the nursery is BEYOND sparse, Leo's birthday party is going to get thrown together....and it just is what it is.

I'm blaming pregnancy, and an active almost two year old (!!!) and really, even though I'm kind of just forcing myself to go through the motions of it all, I think that's about it good as it can get.. It's a weird little funk I'm in and have been since March. 


And lastly.......HELLO FALL, WHERE ARE YOU???? It's been a HOT September here, and while we had a week or so of a beautiful preview, this week has been high 80's and then end is not really in sight. I'm desperate for some cool temps around here!  

A Country Farmhouse. That would be lovely in a thatched roof cottage in the country!


Random Life Ramblings

::: Thanks for everyone's suggestions on baby girls nursery. I think for the most part, it's going to end up being pretty neutral with pops of navy and blush pink, but I legit haven't done anything for it, so I guess we'll have to see what the stores are offering next month and go from there!

::: This pregnancy is flying by in such an insane way, I can't even get my head around it. Some days do feel long, no doubt, but when I start to look at our calendar, and keep ripping months off, it hits me that baby time is sooner than later. My good friend back in California had her son a week before I had Leo, and is having another baby today (!!!) so I'm very excited (and nervous) to watch how her journey goes knowing mine isn't far behind.

::: Life in Illinois has been really good to us lately. I've welcomed our busy fall schedule with open arms, and have really been having fun with all of our activities, outings, and new friend groups. It's still a slow process building new friendships like the ones I had in California, but I can see that the foundation is being laid and that has been really fun.

::: The other day as I woke up, I truly was hit by gratitude that I'm living the life I always wanted to. I'm feeling very lucky and thankful to be staying home with Leo right now, there is really nothing else I would rather be doing and my days feel full and content lately, which is a really nice feeling. 

::: Tonight I'm going to see the new Reese Witherspoon movie "Home Again", and I'm so excited. I'm going to my mom, my girlfriend, and her mom, and can't wait to have a low key girls night in the middle of the week.

::: Joel is running a 50k this weekend. He has been training all summer, so I'm excited to see him accomplish his goal, but will be relieved when it's over too. It's a long distance that makes me a little nervous, but I know he's in tip top shape and will do a great job......but it's still a lot!

::: I think we've officially decided on Leo's Halloween costume: A Fireman! He has these darling yellow boots that he has no need to wear, and there just too cute to never be worn, so I'm literally doing his entire costume around a yellow pair of rain boots. I also think having the fireman's jacket will keep him warm, and he'll get use out of some khaki overalls all year long - so it's pretty practical as well, if I do say so myself!

::: Home improvements have kind of been the bane of my existence lately.  Things that should be easy and cheap - like putting in a screen door - just simply aren't. I've had one final screen door guy come look at our patio door, and he pretty much told me there is little hope unless I want to exchange the entire door frame (which I don't). I also really wanted to put all of our main lights onto dimmers....thinking, Joel and his dad can handle that......well four hours later......Joel (and his dad, I'm sure) wanted to kill me. They were able to get one but there are still a few that would be nice that we may have to just give up on.

The list for other things (fake logs for our fireplace, organized closet systems, changing out door knobs/handles, etc. etc. etc.) just doesn't end!

::: We booked a mini babymoon for the first weekend in November and I'm so excited. We are going to spend the weekend up in Kohler, Wisconsin at the American Club. They have an amazing spa, and the hotel is so pretty in the fall/winter, so I'm really looking forward to a weekend of just relaxing, reading, and enjoying the calm before the storm!

::: I used to be religious about getting mani/pedis. In LA, before Leo, I would go every two weeks without a doubt. Sometimes I would just get a polish change which was fast and easy (and cheap, like $5 or 8 bucks), but here, it's so much more of an ordeal I've been so bad about it. In LA, they do your feet and hands at the same time, so you are in and out in 45 minutes, but I haven't found a place that operates like that here, so I basically have to find 90 minutes in my week to get it down, and that's been hard lately! I finally think I'm going to get a chance this Friday but it's been bugging me for weeks.

::: The weather here last week totally threw me, it was lovely fall like temps and now we're back to getting warm. I know that the winter will be long and that I should just enjoy this perfect weather lately, but the forecast for the next 15 days is all over +72 degrees, and I'm realllllly ready to retire summer and get fall in motion!

Ok, I have about 4 loads of laundry that is waiting for some attention. Hope you have a great Thursday! 

"It is in the littlest things of life we may find real and true joy." | Monday Words: This Littlest Things Bring Joy | the Fresh Exchange


Bumpdate: 24 weeks


you're following along: weeks 5-12 , weeks 13-16  , weeks 17-19 , weeks 20-22, week 23

How Far Along? 24w5d

Gender: GIRL

Weight Gain: 14lbs

Maternity Clothes:  Still getting by with only pants but I did find a hole in one of my workout tanks, so I may need to get a few workout tops for the remainder of the pregnancy so I don't ruin all of my normal clothes.

Nursery: No....still not feeling that pressure and plan to wait until October to start going at it. I'm sure I'm crazy but the urgency just isn't there like it was with Baby #1!

Movement: YES - and lots - but I really don't get that 1-on-1 time like I did with Leo. It hasn't lost its luster by any means, but it's typically after 8pm when I can lay down and just enjoy the kick show she puts on about 23 hours a day!

Symptoms: I have a feeling that I'm just not getting my full energy back until the pregnancy is over, and that Is going to have to be ok. Most afternoons I feel like I've been kicked in the head and fall asleep from 1-2:30pm. For whatever reason, that almost embarrasses me to say that, that I legit need a nap almost every day, but I do and the exhaustion is straight up real. I would also say I noticed my hunger increase a bit this week.

Sleep: Great I just need a ton of it.  

Joel: Ok, maybe I should be embarrassed about this story......Joel took the last cookie (actually he took the last 3 and didn't even leave 1 for me!) from our pantry without really even thinking and I fffffrrrreeeakkkeeddd out at him. At first, he laughed, and then he realized I really wasn't kidding!

Workouts: Made it to the gym twice last week again, I really love the kickboxing class I'm taking on Thursdays and I'm going to try a new class this week called Strong. I don't love having back to back workout classes but the only days I can get to the gym during the week are W/Tr, so I'm hoping I like the class and can stick with it for another 10 weeks or more.

Mood: Happy this week.

Cravings: Something sweet after lunch and dinner! It's not a good habit so I'm trying to break the lunch one, but for the most part, I kind of give in.

What I Miss: My energy

Random Things: Leo started school this past week which was really fun, and our fall schedule is just jam packed. I keep booking classes and what not for 8 weeks....in which I'll be 32 weeks pregnant....and then again for the next session....in which I'll have a baby! Time is flying.

Best Moment of the Week: A normal, healthy, fun, fall, family filled week.

Looking Forward To: Another week like this one.


Five on Friday

 Image result for smidge of this five on friday blog button

::: 1 :::
Last weekend Joel's brother's family was in from Iowa and we decided to take all of the kids to a train museum not too far from our house. The museum itself is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but it's a nice destination if you have kids who are into trains. 

Nowadays, we're pretty much game to do anything Leo-centric, just because we get such joy watching the excitement through his eyes. 

Plus, it was a great activity for a nice day, with a pretty big group of kids, that kept everyone busy and happy! 

::: 2 ::: 

I know I talked about adding a new chair to my living room, and when I posted it about it here, I was envisioning a leather club chair, but for right now, we have a placeholder in the form of one of my parents chairs. They're moving next month, and a lot of their furniture isn't making the cut to the new house, so I have so graciously offered to "store" it here for them (i.e. steal it for life). I'm so obsessed with this new little corner and it really completes the living room. Plus, I added another lamp which we needed so it's been win-win!

::: 3 :::
An update from yesterday's post. The Chicken Ceaser Sliders were SO good. The recipe could not be easier, it's literally a level 1, and it will be making a repeat appearance very often around here.

Only difference is that I did not use a full bottle of the ceaser dressing and the chicken was plenty flavorful.

::: 4 :::
15 FALL DECOR IDEAS - Place Of My Taste
I would go totally overboard with holiday decor spending, so I try to give myself a $50-$100 budget each year (per holiday!) to add to my collection (Joel tries to tell me that includes candles for the season, but....it really doesn't). This year I know I want to put a good amount of that money on some outside fun to spruce up the entry.
 Christmas Red Berry Black & White Burlap Ribbon Monogram Letter S Grapevine Wreath Door Decor Holidays

For Fall -Burlap table runner with bow (cute and easy!)

::: 5 :::
 We have a pretty low key weekend on deck and I'm excited for it.....staying in both Friday and Saturday night, doing some freezer stocking on Saturday and making a good amount of Chicken Pot Pies, going to try and get out on the lake for a paddle boarding session, and maybe even try and sneak in a movie or mani/pedi. One of our slower weekends for a while so I'm going to try and soak it up.

Mama Always Said... | Happy #MothersDay | SouthernLiving.com