I’ve been trying to perfect making lattes at home, partially because they’re so expensive at coffee shops, but also because I can add whatever I want to make them healthier (coconut oil, anyone?). I save my daily latte for an afternoon treat, and usually make it when Jeff is napping. Last year I ventured into making pumpkin spice lattes at home and have whittled it down to this process. It’s not exactly like Starbucks, but without any sugar added (I use maple syrup instead) it’s a pretty decent healthy version—and it even has real pumpkin in it (unlike Starbucks!). Let me know if you have any substitutes or suggestions, I’m still working to perfect this recipe.
The interesting thing is that I've been trying to be positive, remain hopeful, and overall be thankful this pregnancy. I relish in each symptom, every kick and can't wait to meet the baby growing within me. But try as I may, fear has taken root in my heart. I thought I had outsmarted it with my thankfulness and faith, but this morning I woke with anxiety so strong, I wasn't sure how to differentiate my dream from reality.
French comedian Gad Elmaleh . He has officially made his debut into doing his comedy in English, and he is hysterical. He has a great comedy special on Netflix called “American Dream” and also has one in French “Gad Gone Wild”. I had the pleasure of seeing his last Tuesday night in Boston with my dad, it was incredible.
Really, I can't believe it. 10 months after miscarrying it had become normal to me not to be pregnant. Every passing month wasn't necessarily easy, but it was what life had brought my way and I adapted. Two weeks ago, on a drive up North to close on our condo, I realized I had a still small voice in my head, telling me I couldn't do it. I couldn't get pregnant, and I wouldn't. It was on that drive that I decided to stop that thought, to rebuttal back with "I can and I will!". It was hard to change my mentality, after so many months of accepting that I wasn't pregnant and wasn't holding my baby, it was difficult to even think those little words, but I tried. And maybe it was all for a reason, because maybe my body was already in process of being pregnant.
I've always gone to a drug store to get my passport pictures done, "professionally". I was worried that I wouldn't be able to have the right size, spacing or focus to be accepted by the Department of State's Guidelines and that would set me back in the process. But looking over their website I realized that they never specified it had to be a $14.99 photo from Walgreen's, but rather the specifications were mostly regarding size, having a white background and not smiling.
So, in order to make the process easier (and cheaper!) on myself and my son, I decided to try to do it at home. I quickly grabbed my son one morning, put a fleece on him and zipped it up (he was still in his pajamas lol) and told him that we were going to take a picture so he could go on an airplane. Since he is a toddler boy and obsessed with all moving vehicles, that was enough incentive for my normally camera shy kid. I sat him on a stool adjacent to our kitchen oven and snapped a few shots:
Making my own cleaning products always appealed to me, but I got the final push the day I saw my toddler son actually lick the countertop on our kitchen island. All I could think about was what he might get in his system as my husband had recently purchased a Clorox cleaner, and I had used it! I tend to buy cleaner products such as 7th generation and method, but having vinegar and oils on hand already it seemed like the easier and more cost effective option. I buy big bottles of vinegar for under $2.50 at Aldi, which is far less expensive than natural cleaning sprays, and with far less ingredients.
I'm not a fan of synthetically scented things, perfumes, candles and sprays like febreeze often give me headaches. So when I tried Poo Pourri I was not only impressed with it's natural ingredients but also it's efficacy in our sole bathroom. When I realized I already owned the esential oils in the original citrus scent Poo Pourri, I simply purchased small glass spray bottles and can refill on demand at a fraction of the cost!
As much as I enjoyed learning, I loathed the schedule. The very schedule I thought would be perfect for a mom, working part time on alternate days. It was hard to keep up with the schedule, I taught in the afternoons, arriving at school around noon. Some weeks it was Monday, Wednesday & Friday and others it was Tuesday & Thursday. I never caught on. Was I a stay at home mom? Or was I a working mom? Basically I was both and I felt like I couldn't keep up with either job description. Projects, grocery shopping and general housekeeping fell to the wayside as I squeezed in as many mom-like activities with my son on my days off. Other days I rushed out the door frazzled, trying to squeeze in grading, prepping, photocopying and meetings.
The wonderful thing about Aldi is it's price point on organic goods. I've been shopping at Aldi for about a year, and avoid going to the "regular" grocery store as often as I can, for fear of spending more on the same items I could buy at Aldi. People have asked me what it is exactly that I buy there, and how much cheaper is it, really? Throughout my time of shopping at Aldi, I discovered that I typically spend about $20-30 less per visit than at other grocery stores, all while buying many of the same items I would typically buy at any other store. In fact, I find that I am more apt to buy all organic at Aldi, whereas at another store I might skimp because of cost.
The reason Aldi is so much cheaper and concise is that they don't use brands for food. The foods they offer may very well be from a certain brand, but they are labeled with Aldi brands, similar to Trader Joe's (they are, by the way, owned by the same company as Trader Joe's). So, for example, you can buy Kind brand granola bars at Target for $3.09, but you can buy the same granola bar branded as an Elevation bar for $2.99. Or Organic Milk for example, a half gallon can be up to $5.49 at my local grocery store, whereas at Aldi, it comes at a price of $2.95. It makes eating organic affordable.
Healthy living, simplified.