Healthy Lunch on a Budget

I went to Sprouts on Saturday and decided to get something for healthy but budget friendly for lunch so I’m going to share the details.

I love zucchini noodles. I eat a lot of pasta so when I want pasta without the carbs I usually do frozen zucchini noodles or I buy the fresh ones I really should just buy a spiralizer and make my own. Since there was salt already added to these noodles I just added crushed red pepper and basil.

This is the first time I’ve had this pasta sauce and it’s so good. I like spicy food and I needed new pasta sauce because I had bought some regular marinara sauce from Publix a week ago didn’t check the label and there was milk in it. At some point I’d like to also make my own pasta sauces too.

I’ve bought the regular naan sprouts brand plenty of times but wanted to try the garlic and I’m glad I did it was really good it had a earthy flavor to it. I’m really in love with bread and have been trying to cut back on how much I eat but with a low calorie meal like this I knew I needed something to fill me so I wouldn’t be hungry in 30 minutes it’s all about balance.

I had saved my receipt so I could take a photo of it and upload it so y’all could see how affordable this meal was but of course my daughter likes to play with the pouch I keep all my receipts in and when I found it in her play kitchen open the sprouts receipt was nowhere to be found.

Everything I used in this lunch was the Sprouts brand.

Zucchini noodles $2.99

Garlic naan $1.99

Arrabbiata pasta sauce $2.29

Total: $7.27

And the noodles had a nice texture they look mushy but they weren’t they still had some bite and crunch to them. After I finished my bowel I wanted to eat it all over again and that’s how I know when I really like a meal.

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Dry Brushing

I’ve never had difficult skin and in the past two years the little problems I had I cleared up from being vegan, drinking enough water, and dry brushing. I get comments all the time on how smooth and soft my skin is and I know these 3 things are what help me maintain smooth skin. I know a diet change is a big thing and drinking water doesn’t solve everything so that leaves dry brushing a small self-care practice that everyone can do. I started dry brushing during my pregnancy but wasn’t very consistent with it. I dry brush every day now before I shower. I know people do it after a shower then apply oil but I find doing it before my shower more helpful for me. And I do apply oil after I shower. I usually use almond oil but any oil with skin benefits can be used.

I bought my dry brush from target I don’t remember how much it was but I know it was less than $15 cause I’m cheap. It works perfectly fine so don’t think you need an expensive dry brush to get smooth soft skin. You only need a natural bristle brush. I do recommend however that you have a separate dry brush for your face that’s just my preference my skin on my face is really sensitive and I just don’t want to mix the two. (I never use the same face cloth for my face and body too).

Dry Brushing is beneficial for a number of reasons. It exfoliates your skin while giving it a massage. You’re supposed to dry brush slowly in circular motions. And you are only supposed to do it 3 times a week according to some people but I’m not good at routines that aren’t everyday so I do it every night.

I do wash or clean my brush once a week with Dr.Bronners baby castille soap just to get rid of dead skin and whatever might be on the bristles.

  • Benefits of dry brushing:
    • It sheds dead skin cells
      Results in smoother brighter skin
      Helps with ingrown hairs
    • stimulates nervous system
    • Increases blood circulation
    • It is said but not proved to help with cellulite and aid in digestion

    I personally noticed how much smoother my skin is when I consistently dry brush. Also my skin seems brighter. And I just feel better because I’m going the extra mile taking care of my skin and my body.

    The firmness of the bristles from a natural brush don’t hurt or bother my sensitive skin but I’ve seen some people say it bothers theirs so keep this in mind if your skin is really sensitive. Make sure that you do moisturize after your shower because dry brushing can lead to dry skin.

    What do you do that’s a self-care indulgent but simple routine? Let me know and let me know if you have any questions about dry brushing or if you try it.

    Here’s a video of me demonstrating slow circular motions when dry brushing. Doing my whole body does usually take 7-10 minutes but you don’t have to go as slow.

    An Introduction to Astrology

    If you pay attention to my posts you’ll have noticed that I mention my sign or Sage’s sign sometimes even for minor things. So, I thought let’s do an intro to astrology post for those who don’t know a lot about astrology or feel like it’s not for them.

    I’m just going to do a little back history and cover the very basics of astrology. The sun sign, moon sign, and rising sign. I’ll talk about my own. What astrology books I read who I follow on social media that has the best astrology advice and even tackle mercury retrograde which goes direct today.

    Sun sign:

    the sign that the sun was in at the time of your birth is your sun sign. The sun is the most important “planet” to earth. It sustains us. It is also the most important influence in your zodiac or birth chart. And in many ways determines how others see you. It is the very surface layer of who you are in terms of signs. Your external self.

    Moon sign:

    In the most basic terms your moon sign is your emotions. It’s where the moon was in the sky at the time of your birth. The Moon is the part of you that you see. The moon is your personality. It is your subconscious. The you that reacts. Your instinct. In many ways your moon personality is what you keep hidden from others.

    Rising sign:

    Your ascendent or rising sign is a very important part of your horoscope. The rising sign is the sign that reflects your outward demeanor and to determined how the outside world looks at you. This sign represents your outer personality. Your “image”. The rising and sun sign usually blend together giving a unique outward personality which is why some people of the same sun sign can be totally different as the rising sign is crucial to the personality. Your rising sign is the sign that was rising over the eastern horizon at the time of your birth.

    That explains the gist of the signs that I find to be the most important in a birth chart but the Venus (love) and the Mercury (communication) signs are very important too in my opinion (maybe a second introduction post next month).

    I am a Gemini sun-Scorpio rising-Capricorn moon. And I’ll talk about these signs a bit because I think these 3 signs are some of the most misunderstood of the zodiac.

    As a Gemini I know the stereotypes are that we’re flighty, two faced, wishy-washy. But I think Gemini’s are the misunderstood sign because we want to be understood so much by our peers. We wrap so much of our worth into this feeling of being understood by others we forget to understand and learn ourselves. I honestly think Gemini’s are the child of the zodiac they (we) need so much reassurance, love, support and connection from those we love. Y’all know the problematic Gemini’s but some other famous gems are: Prince and Bob Dylan.

    Scorpio’s I know are seen as secretive, the whole sex thing, and mysterious these qualities aren’t necessarily bad but explain very little about the Scorpio. Who is very self-conscious and afraid of being hurt so keeps people at distance (secretive) afraid of showing their real selves. Some famous Scorpio risings are Prince (again) and Diana Ross.

    Capricorn’s like most earth signs I know are said to be practical and emotionless even boring (rolls eyes) but this is way far from the truth. As a Capricorn moon I’m insecure, I overthink everything, I analyze everything. I make everything emotional even when it’s not. Some famous Capricorn moons are: Anais Nin and Ernest Hemingway.

    That’s my little insight on those signs so if you are one of these 3 there ya go.

    On to the history of astrology for y’all who don’t believe it’s real.

    Astrology has been studied for the past 5,000 years. Greek philosophers formulated the theory of Man in Microcosm that is, the human being is a miniature version of the cosmos. According to this concept everything in nature has a parallel in human beings, and thus humankind and the universe are linked together in a system of correlations. The study of the Sun, Moon and stars began well before recorded history. Ancient astrologers charted the movement of planets and stars and made predictions about eclipses, upheavals, famine and fortune. In ancient societies religion and astrology were linked. Astrologers were usually priests. Most ancient societies studied astrology like the Egyptians, Babylonians, and the Greek and Roman empires. After the fall of Rome astrology went into decline. And didn’t recover until after A.D. 1200. Astrology became very linked with superstition during the Roman era where Christianity was becoming widespread and astrology was thought of as the work of the devil. Though astrology wasn’t practiced in Europe during this time it was still practiced and remained a serious science in other countries. During the Renaissance there was a resurgence of astrology. And throughout history it has declined and bloomed again and again as times and people have changed.

    Now astrology an old practice is becoming even more popular mainstream where they’re are astrologers working even on social media (as I’ll list below)

    Mercury retrograde. Mercury is the planet of communication, intelligence, perception and intellectual energy. Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo. When a planet is in retrograde it is the backward motion of a planet traveling through the zodiac. During mercury retrograde things dealing with communication, perception and intelligence can be thrown off. And can turn into deceit, coldness, and argumentativeness.

    Mercury was in retrograde but is now direct starting today. So, if any issues arose for you during this last retrograde of the year look for the lesson and if you can mend what can be fixed. (November 16-December 6).

    So, that’s a lot of information to process and I think that’s all I’m going to talk about in this first introduction of astrology. I was into zodiacs before astrology. And would read my horoscope everyday in middle and high school. It wasn’t until maybe 3-4 years ago I learned of birth charts and all the other signs that we each are that astrology and zodiacs and horoscopes started to make more sense. As a introverted sometimes shy Gemini just reading my sun sign doesn’t really relate to me. Plus there’s way more insight in horoscopes and astrology now than there was 10 years ago and it’s not just you’ll meet someone new today stuff.

    I probably will do a follow up post on Venus and Mercury signs and also talk about the houses and why they are important in understanding the birth chart.

    Some astrologers that I follow on Instagram are: @jaliessasipress , @thehoodwitch , and @thevoluptuouswitch.

    And on Twitter @audrykitching and @mysticxlipstick

    This is the astrology book where I get most of my information on charts and understanding the signs.

    Potty Training

    I began potty training Sage over the summer but I’m not going to lie I wasn’t consistent at all. Between work and other things potty-training wasn’t a priority on my list of daily things to do. We transitioned to pull-ups with no fuss. Then started sitting her on the potty to get her used to it. And it kind of became a game for her. She liked sitting on the toilet and saying she had to go potty (even though she wasn’t yet) and she liked feeling a sense of independence and saying “I do it”. She did get really interested in her female parts during this time too and would ask me what things were down there for the first time.This led to print out coloring sheets with labeled body parts.

    So, potty training is just an overall learning experience I wasn’t prepared for. My sister suggested (because she did this with my niece) that I should give Sage a reward like candy for using the bathroom in the toilet but I didn’t really like the idea so I never started it. Sage found it enjoyable without the “treat” and is now telling me when she has to go potty on her own without me asking her.

    She still wears pull-ups to bed (haven’t figured this one out yet) but during the day she doesn’t (this includes during naps) and she hasn’t had many accidents once she got the hang of it. In the beginning she did have a couple accidents and wet herself while wearing underwear but she fully understands now and can feel the difference between her pull-up and undies- and if she’s wearing undies will say she has to go potty.

    We got to this stage of understanding by having talks after she would have accidents me telling her I wasn’t mad at her and reminding her to tell me when she had to go potty. I also just started taking her to the bathroom every hour when she had on undies. This got her in the habit of knowing okay when I feel the urge to go I need to go to the bathroom. Talking and explaining things to Sage repeatedly really helped her to understand and get the concept of using the bathroom.

    Getting her to use the bathroom to go poo I knew would be hard I don’t know about other toddlers but Sage would always go to the same spot squat down and poo then tell me she had. But the transition to her using the toilet and pooping really wasn’t that bad.

    Every time Sage uses the bathroom in the potty she exclaims “I did it” so it is fun for her she likes knowing she can do something with her body on her own. Still working on the wiping but I’m so proud of my baby. Sage does use a separate like booster toilet seat because she’s dramatic and swears she’ll fall in the toilet without it. So, if you’re having trouble getting your little one to be comfortable sitting on the toilet seat I suggest purchasing a kiddie one.

    I’m going to leave some tips that I found helpful and links.

    1. You should definitely purchase toddler flushable wipes. These were a game changer because Sage would go through the motions using so much tissue when she didn’t even use the bathroom. Also it helps them be able to wipe themselves more efficiently. I get mine from target they’re the up and up brand and super affordable.

    2. Like I said I suggest getting a training seat for an actual toilet but there also are those toddler/baby toilets that could be helpful in the very beginning with just helping your child get used to the act of sitting on a potty. You can also let your child personalize this mini toilet with stickers, paint, etc.

    3. Help your child get comfortable with the toilet. So, whatever they need to feel comfortable using the bathroom do it.

    4. Kids learn by imitation so having an open door policy is a good start to showing your child how to use the bathroom and correctly wipe. I did this even before potty training because I’m usually the only one home with my daughter and need to be able to keep an eye on her even when nature calls.

    5. Let your child pick out their underwear Sage has trolls and poppy and of course that motivated her to want to wear undies instead of her pull-ups. The little things will help your child get used to this change smoothly.

    Here’s some links I used while potty training with more tips to help ya potty train your little one.

    https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a548953/potty-training-for-girls

    https://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/potty-training/tips/potty-training-tips/

    3 Ways I Manage Stress with a 2 year old

    Not going to lie my patience sometimes is at 0 with my daughter. As a single working mom I’m stressed more than I’d like to be. This of course causes me to be less patient with my high strung toddler and tense. Here’s 3 Ways I destress and find a lil selfcare for myself throughout the day.

    1. Yoga

    And I’m not talking about yoga as an exercise. I’ve learned quite a few poses over the years (when it was an exercise for me) and in the morning I sometimes put on nature or meditation music and just allow myself to sit and flow from pose to pose for however long I feel. Being aware of my breaths. And getting out of my head a little.

    2. Showers

    I’ve always had this weird gravitational pull to water (I’m not a water sign so this is why I say weird). Water calms me all the way down. And if my daughters particularly intense one day I will either make her take a midday bath or I’ll take one myself for some me time or we’ll take one together if we both need to chill out. For some extra relaxation I sometimes add epsom salt and oils to the bath too.

    3. Listening to Music

    When my daughter was a newborn I had a record player and one of the ways I’d get her out of a crying fit was to play records. I even had made a playlist called Sage’s Morning on my SoundCloud. Music chills me out cause it again gets me out of my head space. And for Sage she likes to dance so it keeps her occupied even if only for 5 minutes.

    What are your tips for keeping cool and calm through the day with your toddlers? (or kids) let me know in the comments!

    How I Breastfed for 2 Years and Tips

    This is my breastfeeding 101 post. I have nursed my two year old Sage for 2 years. I didn’t go into breastfeeding knowing much of anything. I didn’t do any research on it or take a breastfeeding class prior to giving birth so I kind of just went with it. I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right at first but I had almost no issues besides cracked nipples in the beginning. I did have trouble getting Sage into a position that was comfortable for the both of us (since I had a c-section birth) and was given a pamphlet on the different holding positions like the “football”. We eventually got the hang of it. I say this to say you can get the hang of it too if breastfeeding your baby is what you really want to do. Yes, it requires time and effort and waking up in the middle of the night to nurse and sometimes your baby might cluster-feed for hours and you’ll get irritated and want to quit from cracked (sometimes even bleeding) nipples but its worth it for you and your baby.

    There are so many resources on breastfeeding and ill link a few of my favs down below. Because I know it can get easy to get lost in the sea of information just from googling a topic as vast as this.

    I still breastfeed my daughter and despite curious glances and people (family included) saying I’m crazy and giving me weird looks I think she still benefits from it. My daughter is vegetarian like I’ve stated in previous posts however she’s a picky eater and I do worry if she’s getting enough nutrients. She hardly eats any fruits, veggies, or beans which means she’s mainly eating starches like pasta and bread. Also I have noticed the change in her nursing is only about twice a day now so my supply is really low and I think soon my milk is just going to stop. Until then ill continue to breastfeed her
    while I can.

    Also let me just say that my experience with breastfeeding isn’t the norm. I know that a lot of women struggle with breastfeeding even if they are dedicated and want to breastfeed. Its hard doing it consistently feeling like some sort of milk machine or dealing with Post Partum Stress and nursing. Whatever your situation may be. I feel for you. Breast is defiantly not best. A fed baby is what is best. Saying things like this is so inclusive of mother’s who can’t breastfeed, don’t have the support, or who just don’t want to do it. If you do want to breastfeed your baby but can’t there are milk donors out there who would love to help mom’s in need and ill link some options below.

    If you want to breastfeed though don’t let anyone talk you out of it not your doctor not your spouse not your friends. No one. If you’re determined to breastfeed your child and you’re able – DO IT.
    Breastfeeding Benefits:

    For your babe:

    • Bonding – this one actually benefits you both. I know some people have babies and instantly feel connected and in love. But I also know some don’t feel that connection instantly breastfeeding (if its an option for you) will help create and solidify a bond.
      There are many sources and ill link one or two that say that breastfeeding babes get sick less than formula fed babes and are less likely to die. Which very well may be true (I’m sure it is) but I’m not trying to scare anyone into breastfeeding like I said a fed baby is best and its inclusive to assume that every mother can, wants or should breastfeed. But there are plenty of health benefits for your baby if you choose to breastfeed.
    • Normal weight gain
    • Healthy digestion less constipation diarrhea or upset stomach
    • Can protect against allergies and asthma

    For you:

    • If you eat right because breastfeeding burns extra calories than the body normally does you can shed those pregnancy pounds quicker if that’s what you want.
    • Breastmilk is essentially free (minus buying or renting a pump) but the cost doesn’t add up to the cost that formula is which will keep your pockets full.
    • Reduces the risk of Postpartum Stress Disorder
    • Can help protect against breast and ovarian cancers
      There are other benefits these are just the ones I highlighted.

    Helpful Tips to Keep Up Milk Supply:

    1. Don’t supplement with formula unless you absolutely have to – even then try to find a place where they are giving breastmilk from another mother away. Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand so the more you nurse the more milk your body will produce.
    2. Eat Oats: whole oats not those instant Quaker oats. Whole oats are great for helping you keep up your milk supply.
    3. Drink Plenty of Water: if you don’t like water switch it up by adding fruit but staying properly hydrated while nursing is both good for you and your baby.
    4. If you have the money and are struggling but want to breastfeed and don’t have support. Hire a professional. A lactation will coach you through breastfeeding till both you and your baby are comfortable and will give you tips, advice and the support you need to continue.
    5. Don’t Stress: stress will have your body in a tense mode which will lead to not having a good milk supply. I know this is easier said than done especially right after having a baby and all the demands that come with new parenthood. But stress will mess with the flow of your milk coming out through the nipple. When the body is tense everything is tense so the let down of milk that’s needed can’t happen as freely.
    6. Eat Whole Foods like fruits and veggies. You burn more calories than average during the day when you breastfeed. Eating healthy foods filled with nutrients and not empty calories will keep you satisfied and healthy so your body can produce adequate milk.
    7. Lactation Cookies! These saved my life when my supply got a little wonky from work and school. I got mine from Babies R US but you can also order them offline or make your own their are recipes online and ill link one below
      Pumping:
      If you have to return to work or school or just need a few hours away for your own sanity, then pumping will become your best friend. Now with pumping get a pump that best suits you there are double pumps, single pumps, hands free pumps you name it. Invest in one I know they’re costly. Some hospitals will let you rent one or you can see if your insurance covers some of the cost. With pumping you need a established schedule because a pump is different than breastfeeding the first couple of times can be difficult and you might not get a lot of milk. Keep at it everyday at the same time. Then you can freeze your milk for whenever your away from your baby.

    Links:

    Mother’s Milk Tea: which I have tried and it worked well:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0009F3POY/ref=mp_s_a_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1526183885&sr=8-1&keywords=mothers+milks+tea&dpPl=1&dpID=51r0C9y71QL&ref=plSrch

    Vegan Lactation Cookie Recipe:
    https://www.tasteslovely.com/dairy-free-lactation-cookies/

    Milk Makers Lemon Lactation Cookies: these are the cookies I used in the beginning and during rough patches:
    https://www.amazon.com/Milkmakers-Lactation-Cookies-Bag-Lemon/dp/B00L5LHPEM

    These are Milk Makers Lactation Bars which I never tried but thought a bar would be cool so mother’s could eat it with breakfast in the morning: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0792PD9H9/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1526182953&sr=8-1-spons&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=lactation+cookies&psc=1

    Milk Makers also has a lactation tea if you want to stay in one brand. I just searched on amazon.com for these links and in no way am sponsored by either of these companies. I just shared what worked for me.
    Also try fenugreek the herb too if you hit rough patches established supply and none of these other options work for you.

    More Info on health Benefits and other Benefits of Breastfeeding:
    http://www.oregon.gov/oha/ph/HealthyPeopleFamilies/Babies/Breastfeeding/Pages/benefits.aspx

    Milk Bank to Donate Milk:
    https://www.hmbana.org/

    Where you can donate and receive milk:
    https://milkbankne.org/receive/

    Also there are many support Facebook groups.

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