Calf exercises 2 and 3 for weeks 2 and 3

Hello all my fabulous readers! I am still nursing this shoulder injury, but at least today I can type. I did not realize that I did not share move 2 for week 2 of the May Health Challenge which is to strengthen the calfs. So, this week I am posting both exercise 2 and 3. These exercises have helped me immensely on my run days. If you remember I am prone to shin splint type pains and cramping in the calf area when running. Only one day did I still have cramping and I am not sure why. I do the exercise before running on the treadmill. This post may contain affiliate links.

Are you working on your calfs? Leave me a comment and let me know how it is going.

So, move two is toe raises. I do them with the seated calf raises and then I do pulses of just toe raises. This is a fabulous exercise for targeting the Soleus muscle which is my main nemesis when running.

Exercise 3 is walking on the tiptoes. I used to work a lady that had the hottest legs ever. She wore high heels everywhere, except to work of course. Nurses don’t generally work in high heels, lol. If you would rather wear high heels then walk on your tippy toes, that would work too.

Don’t forget to check out my new 30 day coaching plan. If you are on my Mailchimp mailing list you can claim a free 60 minute coaching session related to Blood Pressure. If you are not yet on my mailing list sign up below and you too can claim a free session. Find a sponsor for your web siteGet paid for your great content. shareasale.com.

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fully vaccinated and exposed: What are the protocols?

Happy Tuesday! It has been stressful lately around my life. Speaking of Stress, that is the topic for this months coaching giveaway. Be sure and come back tomorrow as I lay out the details. In the meantime you can watch my short video at the end of this post to learn how a Health Coach can help you with Stress management.

My husband, my daughter and I have basically been having very limited exposure to people during the last year and a bit. I have CKD and am at increased risk if I were to get Covid. I have taken care of sick Covid patients, and gone all this time with no issue. I have been fully vaccinated for almost a month and a half, as has my husband. That means there is still a 6% chance we could catch Covid. We wear masks and all that good stuff still to this day. On Easter we were invited to a small outdoor gathering, with extended family. We had been avoiding these types of activities since last August when my son was married. We decided to go and it was a lovely day for an outdoor gathering. There was only about 10 of us. Yesterday, I went to work as scheduled, I wear masks and follow all protocols. Today, I was contacted as two members of my extended family tested positive today, and started feeling unwell yesterday. So, what exactly are the protocols in such a situation?

According to the CDC anyone who has had two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, and two weeks have passed are considered fully vaccinated. The protocol for exposure to a known positive case for Covid positive people is as follows: Fully vaccinated people can refrain from testing and quarantine following a known exposure as long as they are asymptomatic. Remember the symptoms for Covid are a fever, muscle aches, fatigue, new loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, and coughing. We will check our temps for the next 14 days every day. I will get tested, my job is actually requiring it, and I will have my daughter tested 5 days past our known exposure which would be Friday. I will encourage my husband to get tested and he has to make his job aware, though he mostly works from home. I have notified the two people we were with today so they can be tested to be safe. Of course I will continue to disinfect my house and all other precautions we normally follow. There is very low risk to me or my husband, but my daughter is not vaccinated, nor is my son. He also has already had to quarantine even though he tested negative three times his job still made him quarantine. So, he may have to again, which of course puts a financial burden on him and his wife. His wife is vaccinated. I am still waiting to see if my job is requiring me to quarantine, even though the protocols say I don’t have to, nor should I have to be tested. But, I understand their need to be cautious. Just because I am vaccinated Does Not mean I can not get it. It means I should not get critically ill should I get it, and they say they don’t think vaccinated people can transmit the Covid Virus.

Come back tomorrow to read about my coaching giveaway. Are you doing the April Health Challenge? Read about it here. If you would like to learn about my Health Coaching services, use the contact form to message me or check out my new 30 day coaching plan.

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invest in your health!

Is today the day you will invest in your Health?

Way back on January 1st we decided we were going to do a year of spending down our debt and increasing savings. We also discussed buying a treadmill for all 3 of us to use. At that time it didn’t seem feasible with what our goals actually were for the year. But, then the government decided to give out stimulus checks, again. We paid off another large bill, put a bunch in savings, and then started to think about the treadmill, again. We decided it was a good investment for all of our Health, so we bought one. We bought it from Amazon and it is a Sunny brand. It was in the price range we set for ourselves and it had everything we all agreed we would like. My husband wanted an automatic incline and my daughter wanted to have Bluetooth. I didn’t care much, but I do have to say the automatic incline is a nice feature. I just wanted something sturdy with good reviews, and was a good quality machine. We have had it for 3 days and we have all used it 3 days. My son even got on it when he came to visit. I have been walking for several years as exercise, but the treadmill offers much more than regular walking. I do have to be mindful of my heart rate, due to kidney disease, more on that in a future post.

If you would like a more in depth look at what I eat and how I exercise, for weight loss, sign up for my Losing Weight With Melissa, monthly subscription plan.

I had a crazy week this week and did not get nearly as much done as I wanted in relation to this blog. But, hopefully next week I will have more time for the longer more in depth blog posts. I will be posting an April Challenge hopefully by Monday. You can join in at any time during the month and it is absolutely free. I also hope to get out to my favorite park and do a walk through video for my mailing list subscribers. If you are interested in that kind of more personal content, join my Mailchimp mailing list below. I think I have a guest blogger post coming up within the next couple of weeks. That is always fun, and will by my first one for this blog.

We are coming to the end of National Kidney Month, but you can still get in on my coaching session giveaway that is all about Kidney Disease. Click to learn more. You can sign up right until the 31st of March for your free session. Be sure and watch my video below on how a Health Coach can help you manage your Kidney Disease.

I have already announced the topic for my April free coaching session giveaway. If you are on my Mailchimp mailing list then you already know what it is. I will be giving away 10 free sessions, and my mailing list gets first come first serve. So, be sure and sign up for my Mailchimp mailing list to get early access to deals and content. I will be announcing the details of that freebie on April 2nd.

Check out my updated Walking Buddy Plan.

Check out the pic of our great new treadmill below. Don’t mind the messy garage room it is in. I have not done Spring cleaning out there yet. We store so much stuff in that room and I feel like I am constantly cleaning it and organizing it. Easter is next Sunday. I don’t think we are doing much of anything this year. My son and his wife will be elsewhere. So it will just be the 3 of us. I am not sure how much I will post here, but my newsletter will have recipes and decorating ideas. I have been trying to update at least 2 old posts a day. Most days I only get to one, lol.

I do have to work this weekend but I will try to get pictures of my Spring Fairy Garden posted. I finally took out the Christmas stuff and cleaned it up.

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Gift idea #10 for people with Ckd and this week’s dollar tree food item challenge

I did an audio recording of my food challenge with images, but I don’t know it wouldn’t upload. I probably don’t have the proper upgrade or something. I will try to keep messing with it, but it is 72 outdoors today and I am not feeling this indoor stuff. I just came back in from checking my gardens for damage from all of the cold nights we have been having. It wasn’t horrible and I cut back a lot of stuff. My carrots and potatoes do not mind the cold, lol. Did you know you could freeze mashed potatoes? Me neither. I had purchased a bag of sweet potatoes and put them in the Instapot. But, then it became apparent we were not going to eat them right away, so I froze them. I froze them in two servings per bag, because my daughter won’t eat them. I wrapped them in aluminum foil first, before putting them in a Ziploc bag to prevent freezer burn. I did the same thing with all of the pancakes we made last night. I had mentioned this before, but one of the best things we ever got was a small chest freezer. It saves us a ton of money. We do have to be careful in hurricane season as that would really stink to lose a freezer full of food.

My Dollar Tree Challenges are a bit different than ones you may have read elsewhere. I may decide in the new year to do some videos, but eh I don’t know. My challenges focus on the nutrition of the food vs the value of the food, plus of course if it tastes good. I actually bought 3 items, so I had one for each of the coming weeks. I went to a Dollar Tree in a larger city, and I was not impressed at all. My Dollar Tree closer to my home is so much nicer. This one was messy, cluttered and just not nice. At any rate today I am testing out the Tombstone cheese stick shown in the images below. You can see all of the images from the review below. First off it is only 3 ounces and would be more of a snack than a meal. A very high calorie snack, but still a snack. The wrapper claims it is a good source of protein at 5 grams. Yeah, I am not thinking 5 grams is a lot of protein, plus the protein is coming from all of the fake cheese in it. Look at the ingredients list. It is a mile long. I read the word Phosphate at least 5 times. That means this tiny 3 oz stick has a ton of added Phosphorus. This would be an incredibly unhealthy choice for anyone with Kidney Disease, like me. Plus, it has 510mg of Sodium in that whopping 3 oz stick. 6 grams of fat, no fiber, and 29 carbs. Totally not a good choice. The can of peas I reviewed a few weeks ago is a better value than this pizza stick. This is not a healthy food option for anyone in my opinion. The package said to microwave it. I don’t own a microwave so I put it in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes and it was fine. As for taste, I tried a tiny piece and it was gross. It tasted like baked chemicals. I am not a food snob. I love junk food sometimes too, but I can’t stand the taste of chemicals in food. My daughter like it, of course, lol, and dipped it in Marinara Sauce. She was still hungry after.

Today’s gift idea has to do with fluids and Kidney Disease. Your loved one may be on fluid restrictions, or may even be told to drink more. Making sure you get enough, or not to much is vital to maintaining healthy kidneys for anyone. These water infuser bottles are multi purpose. You can infuse fruit and herbs into your water to add flavor without calories. Plus, it has the markings on the side so you know exactly how much you have or need to drink. This is a great and inexpensive gift for anyone with CKD, or anyone at all for that matter. Below, is a video about fluid restrictions and Kidney Disease. Being educated and informed is the best way to manage your CKD. Water is always the best option when choosing a drink.

Also below find my walking stats for yesterday, and my next pick for favorite Christmas music. Hint, I love Josh Groban.

If you would like to learn more about my Health Coaching Services, you can use the contact form after all of the images to message me.

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Herb Of The Month, This Week’s Food Challenge And Gift Idea #2 For CKD

If you have been following along then you know each month I am picking a new herb to try for the whole month. I tend to always cook with onions, garlic, salt, and pepper. For October it was Turmeric. I really like Turmeric on meat. For November it was Rosemary. If you are serious about limiting your sodium intake, give Rosemary a try. You only need a little bit and it adds a ton of flavor, especially to soups and boring veggies. For the month of December I have chosen Dill. Everyone knows about dill pickles. But, there are so many other beneficial ways to use dill in cooking and seasoning. I have already found some recipes to try. Be sure to come back and check for those in future posts. Below there is a video about the health benefits of dill, and a link to read. I include the link because the video does not explain that in order to reap those benefits you would need to consume a cup of fresh dill. I don’t know anyone who eats that much dill. But, again, if you are trying to decrease your sodium intake, as a herb it will add a ton of flavor, I hope.

This week’s food challenge is a little bit different. Today, I compared Barilla Lentil Pasta, to regular white pasta. You can see the images below with all of the information from the box. Like other pasta, 2oz dry pasta is a serving size, with 180 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, no sodium at all, 24 grams of carbs but with 6 grams of fiber that makes 18 net grams of carbs, 13 grams of protein, 2% of RDA for Calcium, 15% RDA for Iron- that is spectacular btw, and 10% RDA of potassium. I discovered this pasta the week I went completely meatless. I didn’t try it though, until today. The nutrition profile is very good and it only has one ingredient, red lentils. I don’t care for lentils so I thought this would be a good try. So, what do I think? It is ok, a good meatless substitute. I think I will have to cook it a little longer because aldente just doesn’t work for this pasta. 2 oz definitely did not fill me up either, and I would have veggies or a large salad with it. As far as taste, it was a little different than regular pasta, but once I added a smidge of butter and some lemon pepper seasoning it was delicious. I would buy this again. However, I do not think I am going to convince my family to eat this, and at 3 dollars a box it might not be economical. Although If I am the only one eating it, it will last me several meals. Overall this was a good, healthy purchase.

My second gift idea for people with CKD, or any Chronic Disease is some lovely house slippers. I found the Cardinal ones from Landsend and I loved them. But, when I clicked the link the cardinals were gone. They had other lovely options though. There are some lovely, and not so pricey choices at Amazon. People with CKD and other chronic diseases are often cold. A lovely pair of slippers would make a wonderful gift. Slip-resistant slippers, and or indoor-outdoor slippers are also wonderful gifts.

Remember, you can always give the gift of a Health Coach, like me. Check out my Walking Plan! Contact me for more information!

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14 days of gratitude: Day 14 Happy thanksgiving and meal prep low carb

Updated 11/20/2021: I will be Black Friday shopping for the first time in 2021. I have shopped on Thanksgiving eve before, but this year the Bills are playing and most stores are closed, I think. My daughter wants to do it this year to get her gifts picked. I won’t do Door Busters, or 5 AM type shopping, though. I don’t think she will even be out of bed if she wanted to.

Happy Thanksgiving! Today, I am grateful for so many things. I woke up, the weather is cool enough to have the windows open to keep it well ventilated in the house. I am grateful for all of you, my readers, who read my posts. My traffic and followers have exploded this year. I just started paid advertising on Facebook and had my first lead yesterday. I am so grateful for that. Even though the potential client needed something I could not offer it was great to have a lead. I get leads from Pinterest too, but they are nonsense, just men looking for something other than coaching. They kind of waste my time, but I am grateful for the practice of the communication. I am grateful for my job, my husband’s job, and my son and his new wife are still employed. So many people are not and they are having it hard this holiday. Long food lines of people need food and other items just to sustain themselves and their families. If you can help a family in need I implore you to do so. We have donated to a few food groups this year and will continue to do so. There is always a need, but this year it is so much more. Don’t forget about furry family members too. When money is tight they often can go hungry too. Please read my reminder tips below to stay safe and healthy today. These are simple things we are doing to be together and be safe.

First, as I promised I will share the homemade cream of mushroom condensed soup for the green bean casserole. I actually didn’t get to it until this morning, but it was super fast and easy. Plus, it is so delicious, I mean super delicious. This is not low carb, but really it uses only a minimal amount of flour, and you could use coconut or almond flour. My husband hates almond flour, and I do not have coconut flour on hand. If you choose to use either of those be sure and research how the consistency will come out. I used this recipe, and modified it as follows. I did not have onion powder so I just added fresh minced onions. I use canned mushrooms because I prefer them. I also had no celery salt. I thought I had celery seeds, but apparently, my daughter disposed of them and did not tell me. So, I just left that out. I also used chicken stock instead of vegetable broth because that is what I had. I added less salt than the recipe called for and more pepper. This is so much lower in sodium than the canned stuff. I simply put it in the fridge until I am ready for it. Be sure to drain and rinse your mushrooms if you choose to use canned like I did. You could literally use this same recipe to make condensed cream of anything soups and it would be so much healthier. I could probably use it for sausage and gravy too.

Last evening I started watching some Keto videos on Youtube. Now, I am not Keto, I am 70-100 grams of carbs per day. I don’t want to be Keto, either. I don’t want all of that fat. However, they had some really good tips on following a low carb lifestyle. Diabetics and people who are obese probably are already trying to live a low-carb lifestyle. I will share a video from each of them, and you could check them out at your leisure. The first woman, I really liked how she made sweet potato casserole using butternut squash and cauliflower. I wish I had seen this video a week ago.

If you don’t have an Instapot, they are awesome! I did so much of my prep last night which will save me a ton of time today. I put my peeled potatoes, and one carrot in there. The potatoes will be for mashed potatoes for my family, and the carrot will be mixed with a quarter cup of sweet potatoes for me. I do not make sweet potato casserole with all of the marshmallows. No one likes it that way. I just add butter and some brown sugar and that is it. I also put a whole head of cauliflower in the Instapot and then mashed it all up. This will be my mashed potatoes. At first, it was just blah, but I added a little butter, garlic, lemon pepper seasoning, and the kicker was a tablespoon of ranch-flavored sour cream. The sour cream is what made it creamy just like mashed potatoes. It was so good I wanted to eat it last night. A whole head of cauliflower has quite a bit of potassium and protein, plus phosphorus. So, be sure and limit it to a half-cup serving at a time. I also cooked my macaroni, for the mac n cheese. I set aside a 1 cup portion for me and I will use coconut milk and cheese in mine. Everyone else’s will have evaporated milk and cheese. This is literally everyone’s favorite dish. I add seasonings to taste. I will be making homemade gravy this year to save on sodium. My husband decided to cook his mom’s homemade stuffing. He puts it in the bird, and I don’t like stuffing like that. He did leave me a little to bake for myself. My apple pie and ice cream definitely won’t be low carb, nor will the Hawaiian rolls. But, the second Keto lady I like on Youtube has some awesome low-carb biscuits that I will definitely try in the future. I noticed Keto people eat a lot of beef. This will not be me. I prefer to not consume too much red meat. I am a chicken and turkey kind of girl,

My safety tips for Covid and Thanksgiving:

1- Check temps of anyone who comes over

2- Limit the size of people gathering to 10 or less even.

3- Have the windows open, fans on and keep the home well ventilated, or eat outdoors plus outdoor activities.

4- No hugging, kissing, or handshaking. I know this one is hard.

5- Keep 6 feet a part as much as possible and don’t eat close together.

6- Say your prayer without holding hands.

7- I have gloves that everyone will wear when plating their food, then the gloves are removed and hands sanitized before eating. If seconds are needed new gloves are to be worn and follow the same procedure.

8- Limit the amount of people in the kitchen.

9- Wear masks if you can’t be outside, or socially distanced.

10- Disinfect before company arrives, after they leave, and in between as needed, especially high touched surfaces.

11- This last one is the most difficult. Don’t travel if you can avoid it this year, consider having elderly relatives not attend, or anyone with a compromised immune system. The Covid is especially dangerous for them. If you have a baby less than 30 days old, it might be a good idea to stay away from that family member as well.

I hope everyone will be safe and healthy. These are just suggestions and things we will be doing. I am in no way saying that it means you or your loved ones will not get sick. But, I am saying it helps.

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14 days of gratitude: day 13 and Low carb thanksgiving options

Happy almost Turkey Day! The weather is still amazing here in Florida with warm days and cool nights. Today, I am grateful for awesome friends who enjoy nature as much as me. This morning I drove almost an hour to visit Payne’s Prairie, which is a Florida state park just outside of Gainesville. I had never been to this one before, and was so happy I went. See the images below. I only shared pics of me as I did not get approval for children or other adults with us. At the observation tower you could see the Bison and Wild Horses, but we didn’t get close enough on the trail we chose to get good pics of them. I will definitely visit this park again, maybe over Christmas break and one of the trails with more wildlife viewing. It was still a 4 mile walk total, and a great way to start a Wednesday.

I am not going to get my food prep done for Thanksgiving to share the results in this post, so I will share either tomorrow evening, or Friday. My husband has agreed to try some low carb options to lose weight, so I am very happy for that. But, not until after Thanksgiving. He doesn’t really eat a lot of pasta, or rice, but he does love bread. Remember, low carb is not keto. I won’t do keto. So, here are the low carb side options I will be making for myself or anyone who wants to get them a whirl. All of these recipes were found on Pinterest, or Google search. 1- mashed cauliflower, and 2- macaroni and cheese. I probably will have a small amount of sweet potatoes, as they are very easy to count how many carbs I will get. I don’t eat stuffing, so that is not a problem for me. There are lots of low carb stuffing recipes out there, though. The mashed cauliflower will replace mashed potatoes for me, and for the macaroni and cheese I will just set aside a serving of macaroni for me and prepare it the same as the larger batch, but in a much smaller serving. This also allows me to control how much cheese, and evaporated milk I am consuming. I will have a piece of my homemade apple pie, as it is my first time making it homemade. I will also have ice cream with it. Turkey is already low carb, lol. The green bean casserole will have homemade cream of mushroom condensed soup and I am excited to see how that comes out. We will not be having all of the appetizers we would normally have just because of Covid and too many hands touching it. I am fine with that too, lol.

We are having a very small gathering with just us 3 and my son and his wife. We have masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant, gloves for serving, and most importantly we can social distance and will have good ventilation with the windows open and fans in the windows. It might rain, but other than that it will be cool and comfortable for windows to be open. We will all decorate the Christmas tree after dinner. Decorating the tree, after dinner, is the only tradition I have honestly ever stuck to, We were invited to dessert at my son’s in-laws, but honestly it didn’t feel safe with too many people in one building. So, we chose to decline for this year.

My weekly food menu ends Friday with leftovers. So, I will be working on a new one for next week. I have 33 dollars in the budget and honestly the only thing I think I need is vegetables, and maybe coffee creamer. OMG, I almost forgot. A while ago I posted about coffee creamer and the amount of carbs I was getting in my creamer, especially in my iced coffees. The week that I went meatless for the whole week, Publix had Orgain plant-based protein powder buy one get one free. So, I picked up the Vanilla Bean flavor, and I love it. This morning I put it in my coffee, and did not need any creamer at all. I did add just a smidge of coconut milk to give it the creamy color. A serving size is 2 scoops. However, I only use 1/4 of one scoop, which is equal to about 2 grams of protein. If I have 2 cups of coffee I am consuming 4 grams of protein, and not all the carbs of the creamer. I can do that! I was afraid it would be gritty, but it was not. I have not tried it in ice coffee yet, but I hope it blends up just as nice. I track my protein intake, carbs intake, and fat intake on my Fitbit app. I have limits I have set for each. The fat limit, on low carb is the hardest to get exactly where I want it. I will share the link to the Orgain website. Buying it there is way cheaper than what I payed at Publix, and I can have it delivered on subscription.

Below, also see my low carb dinner last night. That is a 3 oz burger with ranch sour cream on top, in place of catsup. Then I had a large romaine lettuce salad, with cheese, pepperoni, green onions, and a tomato. That is a basic salad for me, minus the pepperoni, that was just a treat. I use only 8 slices, cut up small. The little thing with roots on my plate is the bulb of the green onion. Honestly, you guys, I plant these and I get free green onions. Every time you cut some off the plant, it just regrows. So easy! Now, I did have popcorn for a snack, and a banana for breakfast. So, as I stated I am low carb, not keto.

Message me for a free meet and greet via email, if you have Health Goals you would like to meet.

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14 days of Gratitude: Day 12, Plus My Dollar tree food challenge and a few updates

Updated 11/20/2021: We are almost to Thanksgiving 2021. Have you been practicing being Grateful? I have!

Welcome to Tuesday! I hope everyone is having an amazing day. I am so loving the weather in Florida right now. 70’s during the day, and 50s at night. Windows can be open, fans in the window. I love it!

Thanksgiving is 2 days away, and it will be much different this year, but I will post more about that on Thanksgiving. But, I am doing so food prep today. This year I am making homemade stuffing, check back Thursday to see how that went, homemade apple pie, again check back, and I am making homemade cream of mushroom condensed soup. It is super easy, and I am hoping super delicious. That of course will be for the green bean casserole. I am making that later today, and will share the recipe and results tomorrow.

Today, I am grateful for my car. For many years, like 15, we had only one vehicle to save money. I worked night shift, and my husband worked the day shift. It was hard, but it worked and it saved us a ton of money. It allowed me to work less and homeschool my kids, basically on one income, and a quarter. I was so happy, though, when we were able to buy a second car. I do not take my car for granted, and I protect it like it is gold. Because in a lot of regards it is. I hate working the night shift and I never want to do it again. I can shop, or take my daughter places without issues. I am so very grateful for that. If you live where you can access the bus or an Uber, then a car might not be important. We are very rural and have no access to any of those options.

Today, is Dollar Tree Food Challenge Day. You may have seen some of these on Youtube from other people. Mine is different. I am not going to buy 20 dollars worth of Dollar Tree food and then try to make meals out of it. But, each week, or so, I will buy two items and then compare them to each other, and taste them. Some I even eat completely. This week I chose Baker’s Best soft pretzels and Arctic Classic Cookies N Cream.

First, the pretzels. You can put these in a microwave, but since I don’t own one we baked them. You can see the ingredients below, but honestly I was impressed by the ingredients list. They have less than 1 gram of sugars and added sugars. That is impressive. I left the salt off of one pretzel for me, because I knew these were going to be salty. These were delicious and exactly what I expected a soft baked pretzel to taste like. There are six in a box, for a dollar, and to me, this is a steal of an item from the Dollar Tree. My daughter and husband love these. My daughter dips them in melted butter, and my husband dips them in mustard. I don’t dip, lol.

Now, for the Arctic Classic Cookies N Cream. On the label it says it is a frozen dairy dessert. I grew up in the ’80s and this tastes like Ice Milk that we used to get. It honestly was not awful, but definitely not like ice cream. I only ate a few teaspoons, because if you look at the ingredients the second ingredient is High Fructose Corn Syrup. So, I simply was not going to eat this. It was only a dollar so I don’t feel horrible throwing it away, but my husband might not mind the HFCS. I left it to see if he wanted it. I guess I could put it in very small amounts in a smoothie, but I honestly don’t even think I would do that.

You can see both product pics below.

I have a couple more updates. My Rosemary Challenge is almost over. I am so thrilled that I added this herb to my cooking skills. I do find I do not care for it on meats, but it really adds awesome flavor to veggies. In the image below is what I ate for dinner last night. I added Rosemary and Lemon Pepper seasoning to the steamed veggies and it was so delicious. Check out that adorable plate I found at Hobby Lobby. I bought the whole set. I don’t switch out for the seasons, we just use them all year. I can’t afford that kind of nonsense, and even if I could I wouldn’t bother. That plate is 8 inches across. I try to always eat on those as it keeps my portions in check. There are large ones, too. The mashed potato serving is only 1/4 of a cup, keeping my carbs in check, and the chicken thigh was 3 ounces even. I weigh all of my meats, and try to eat 2-4 ounce portion sizes. This keeps my protein in check and allows me to still eat low-carb and not get too much protein for my kidneys. I have been really bad about my carbs lately. I have not gained any weight, and have maintained the 11 pounds lost. But, I need to lose more, so I need to pay more attention. Remember I eat 70-100 mg of Carbs per day. That is Low Carb, not Keto. Keto can be very dangerous for anyone with Kidney Disease. I eat a ton of veggies. Update 11/20/2021: Since this post, I have lost 20 pounds and have managed to maintain plus or minus 2 pounds.

If you would like to work with a Health Coach to learn more about eating Low Carb, making meals to fit into your needs, or any other Health needs, please use the contact form after all of the images to message me.

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14 Days of gratitude: days 9 and 10 plus some food and a video

Updated 11/19/2021: I am really grateful for Grammarly as I update my posts and see the mistakes I made, lol.

My internet would not cooperate yesterday, so I have to do days 9 and 10 today.

Yesterday, I was grateful for my husband. While not perfect, none of us are, he is a good man and a good husband. He works hard, likes to laugh, and loves his children. As a wife, those are the things I am most grateful for. But, before I was his wife, I could tell he was kind, smart, driven, a great friend, loyal, and family was important to him. I am grateful to him every day.

Today, I am grateful for my children. I have a boy and a girl. I have homeschooled my children ever since 2007. I have graduated one and the other is almost there. That chapter in my life will soon be over. Even though I have been their teacher all these years, they have taught me so much. I am grateful I was blessed with the gift of motherhood.

If you have been following along then you know a lot of my gratitude has been about Nature. I found this old TedX talk on Youtube about gratitude and nature. I encourage you to watch it.

Yesterday, I made the Hillbilly Casserole. It was good and definitely affordable. Not especially healthy, though. Come back tomorrow and I will share the very easy recipe.

Today, my family is having cheeseburgers and the box of mac n cheese that didn’t get eaten last week. There is still salad in there if they choose to have it, or other veggies. We also have some homemade pizza left from Friday. I will share that easy recipe also, tomorrow. It was also definitely affordable. I will be taking some of the leftover pork and beans I made last week, along with Hillbilly Casserole to work. I think the pork and beans will add a little more health to the Hillbilly Casserole.

I hope everyone has a blessed Sunday. Has anyone started Christmas shopping yet? I have. I don’t want to be in the stores with a ton of shoppers during Covid.

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14 days of gratitude: Day 8 and my 50 dollar food budget

Updated 11/12/2021: In January of 2021 we sat down and figured out our budget the Dave Ramsey way. Our budget is $528 dollars per month for groceries using that method. Some months it doesn’t go so well. Still working at it, lol. I have to say the easiest way to save money on groceries is to use the pickup option. I order online and then pick it up. There is no impulse buying and teenagers picking up things we don’t need. Now, sometimes I actually have to go inside a store.

Yay, Friday! I am happy you are here. Before I get to the two things annoying me today I will write what I am grateful for, LOL. I truly am a grateful person and do not like to complain, but I may not always show my gratefulness which I assume would apply to most people. Today’s prompt is, name one thing I learned from my mother that I am grateful for. I hate these one thing prompts. There are so many things I have learned from my mom. But, since I have to pick one it would be how to be frugal. Now, that does not mean I have always listened very well, lol. As you will see below going back to a strict budget is proving not so easy for me and my family. We have always lived on a budget, but when you have more money you spend more money, and we are no exception to that rule. But, I grew up fairly poor, and my mom was excellent at being frugal, finding deals, stretching a dollar, and saving even with meager amounts of money. I am so grateful all of that information is stored in my brain and I truly want to teach my daughter how to be more frugal and buy what you need and save for what you want. It is so hard, especially for a teenager.

So, my 50 dollar for a week of groceries did not go well for this next week, and I can blame Thanksgiving for that. Now, with that said a lot of the stuff I bought can be carried over into the second week of the budget, as we get paid every two weeks, mainly because there will be a ton of leftovers from Thanksgiving. So, I am hoping it will even out.

I have a few gripes today in reference to things that were supposed to save me money. First Amazon Prime Pantry. We signed up for this and pay for a reason, two day shipping. I made my list the other day and this morning went to place the order. My items, a lot that I needed for Thanksgiving were not going to arrive until probably the day after Thanksgiving. Even if they came on Wednesday that is 5 days to delivery, not 2. I do not appreciate paying for a service and then I don’t get to receive the benefits of the service I am paying for. So, I had to take all of those items out of my cart, and left only the items for the second week of my budget. Amazon is in my not happy bucket today. Now, I could see if it was a true emergency, but Thanksgiving is the same day every year, and Covid has been here for 9 months, so I am not accepting those lame excuses. My second complaint today is for Ibotta. They were offering a free refund on Thanksgiving items that I intended to purchase and donate. But, of course, Ibotta would not load yesterday, or today, so I didn’t get to take advantage of that either. I have stopped using Ibotta before due to it not working properly and well that may happen again. There, now I am done complaining.

My first week menu starts tomorrow, 11/21, and goes until 11/27. I also purchased my two Dollar Tree items for my challenge next week. For this first week, I spent 83.68, and yes that is obviously over 50 dollars, but like I said a lot of the items will roll over into the second week in leftovers. For the second week, I have already spent 17.71 Save A Lot had the better deals, but not by a whole lot over Walmart. Just a few cents difference for most items and Save A Lot does not always have everything I need. Remember, my 50 dollar a week food budget is for food items only. It does not include non-food items. After Christmas, I hope to be able to sit down and make a budget for non-food items we use.

I wanted to share a recipe I made yesterday that was very affordable and will feed me and my husband for several meals. I had leftover pork ribs from Wednesday’s meal. You guys that was such a bargain, We have already had the ribs for 2 meals and lunch, and I was able to freeze 3 of the ribs for the next time I make this bean recipe. So, while the ribs were 10 dollars when you get several meals and then some out of the meat it really was a steal. In my crockpot, I put a can of black beans rinsed, and a can of Cannellini beans rinsed. Now, you don’t have to rinse them, but it gets rid of some of the sodium and I don’t generally like the sauce. Then I added about a 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce and a 1/2 cup of Italian dressing. I also threw in some pearl onions because I needed to use them up. Plus, one of the ribs that were leftover, bone and all. Then I put it on low for 8 hours. You guys this was so delicious. My husband loved it and had it again for lunch. If you have CKD like me be sure and not to eat the sauce, or as little as possible. Slow cooking your food helps decrease the phosphorus in the foods and releases it into the juices. I only eat a 1/4 cup at a time, and I put it over a 1/2 cup of masked potatoes. I had a simple side salad of lettuce, green onions, and some sunflower seeds. Try this delicious, simple, affordable recipe. The cans of beans were less than 80 cents apiece and I already had the other ingredients on hand. Eating beans is a great way to reduce your meat budget and still get protein.

Below you will see everything I bought for this weeks menu plan. I could have saved at least 10 dollars by using the stuffing I had already purchased, but my husband wanted me to make his mother’s homemade stuffing. So, I had to buy all of those ingredients. Plus, the pure maple syrup for the turkey was 7 dollars. So, that is actually 17 dollars I could have saved. But, my husband likes to make his turkey that way. I thought we still had some but did not. Sorry, my clean dishes are in a part of the shot. I wanted to get everything in one shot and my teen still hadn’t put dishes away.

Menu for 11/21-11/27/2020:

Saturday: Leftover homemade pizza for lunch and Hillbilly Casserole for dinner. Come back Monday and I will tell you how we liked both of those.

Sunday: Cheeseburgers and a side, probably Mac n cheese, fruit, or a veggie.

Monday: Chicken and broccoli. I think I have a jar of Alfredo sauce so we could have that over pasta. Or, it could be a completely low carb meal.

Tuesday: Tuesday is our busiest day of the week, every week. So, I like something fast and simple. I am sure there will still be the homemade pork and beans, or we could have grilled cheese and tomato soup, or breakfast for dinner.

Wednesday: Cheese ravioli, bread and butter and a side salad

Thursday: Thanksgiving, yay gobble til you wobble.

Friday: Leftovers of course

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