Overcoming my Smart Phone Addiction

Overcoming my Smart Phone Addiction

All the Joy of Plaid

Recently I noticed my son starting to act out. He would walk over and smack our television, or snatch my phone out of my hand. At first, this really irritated me. Then I took a second to think about why he had developed these new behaviors, he was acting out because he felt like I was ignoring him.

I know that this is a touchy subject, and I know that there are people who will think I’m crazy because I (kind of) gave up the internet for five days. Trust me, I’m not one of those people that thinks technology is evil and is destroying the world as we know it. However, I do believe it can turn us into people that we don’t want to be. I know that technology, my phone, in particular, helps me fill empty space. It’s the first thing I reach for when I’m bored, feeling uncomfortable, or just don’t know what else I should be doing. Honestly, there are times I reach for my phone for no reason, I just picked it up to mindlessly scroll through Facebook. I’m not trying to say that it’s a problem for everyone, but for me, smart phone addiction was truly an issue. That’s why I decided to give it up for a week (a work week of course).

I’ll be honest, I didn’t give my phone up completely. I’m too much of a baby for that. I still allowed myself some screen time, although it was extremely limited. I told myself I could still text, or call people. Mainly because I have a son, and if something were to happen to him I’ll need to be reached quickly. And, because I have a full-blown addiction, and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to function without my phone at all. I also allowed myself to access Youtube. If you’ve read my post about my autistic burnout, you’ll know that I consider Youtube one of my stims. It’s extremely important for me to be able to deal with my anxiety in a healthy way, and watching Youtube videos helps me do that. So, I allowed myself to continue to watch YouTube but only under certain circumstances. I could only watch it if my son was asleep for the night, or I couldn’t control my anxiety with another form of stimming. Other than that, I had no access to my phone. Now I’m sure you guys are thinking “what the hell, she didn’t give up much!”, and you’re kind of right. I could still text and call people and I could still enjoy Youtube. However, I didn’t allow myself access to Facebook, Instagram, or another form of social media. Some may see that as a small victory, and that okay.

I do want to make it perfectly clear that I never intended to give up social media, or my phone forever. I wanted this experiment to be a learning experience for me, and it was just that. I learned a lot about myself over the last five days, and I’m incredibly proud and ashamed of myself all at the same time. I’m ashamed that I ever let my phone control so much of my life. I’m ashamed that I allowed my phone to change the way I interacted with my son. However, I’m proud that I was able to put my ego aside and realize when I had a problem. I’m also very proud that I didn’t slip up, not even for a second 😊. I’m hoping that some of you reading this will take my advice, and go on a technology detox yourselves. I think I could do us all some good, to step away from all our distractions for a little bit.

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So, here’s what I learned.

I can get a lot of Sh*t done without my phone.

This one actually surprised me a lot. I never realized how much time I spent staring at my phone. All this week I was able to get myself, my son ready, and be out the door ahead of schedule. That was something that never happened before. I would wake up, and immediately grab my phone and be stuck in a trance until about ten minutes before I had to leave. I would always complain about how I never had enough time to do anything when in reality I was just using my time to check my Instagram feed. If there’s one habit I keep from this past week, I’ll be not looking at my phone in the morning. Giving up my screen time in the morning alleviated a lot of the anxiety I felt throughout the day. I realized that having a smoother start to my day changed my entire attitude.

I Spend a lot of time curating moments.

Now I know I’m not the only guilty one here. How many of you find yourself trying to capture beautiful moments of your kid with your phone? Spoiler alert, the answer is all of you. OF course, you want to get that really cute picture of your kid, who doesn’t? You’re trying to capture a memory, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not telling you to stop taking pictures, or videos of moments you want to remember forever. I’m simply encouraging you to participate in some of those moments as well.  Let someone else take the pictures, or hell, get really wild and don’t take any photos at all. Be present. Live in the moment. Focus on the here and now.

I was able to make real connections with people again.

This is something that I really struggled with. I allowed my phone to put up a wall between me and other people. I’m socially awkward, and sometimes being around people makes me really uncomfortable. Therefore, I find it incredibly difficult to interact with people. Without knowing it, I used my phone to combat this issue Whenever I was uncomfortable or didn’t know what to say I would start scrolling on my phone. Not having my phone this week forced me to learn a new coping skill. I either interacted with the people around me or sat in awkward silence without using my phone as a crutch.

I had FOMO like a MOFO

This was honestly the thing I struggled with most. I’m a little embossed to admit that I actually had anxiety attacks because I was afraid of missing out. I no longer had that instant access to information the way I had before. It made me feel very disconnected from the world…at first. Then a realized that 99.9% of the crap I looked at on Facebook, or Instagram was pointless.

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I know that this isn’t for everyone, but I’m hoping some of you will decide to take back some of the power you’ve lost through your phone. I know that I’m going to make a conscious effect to keep my phone face down when I’m with others. I’m going to start making meaningful connections again, and I encourage you to do the same.

See ya next time!

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18 before 2018

18 before 2018

 

blogger-photo-2249560_960_720Hi my sweet sweet friends! I’m so glad to be back. First and foremost I’d like to thank everyone who checked on me during my break. For those of you who don’t know I took a much need break in July to focus on my family and our big move. We’ve finally settled into our new place ( a home tour coming soon) and things are much less hectic than before. Also, I took this time to do a little site revamp. I hope you noticed 😉

This post is inspired by the lovely Lisa Jacobs You can find her blog post here.

Anyway, Today I’m listing 18 goals I want to accomplish before 2018. I created my list by writing down everything I wanted/needed to get done before the year ended. Then I organized that into eighteen major goals I’d like to accomplish.

A few things you should keep in mind while making your list

  • Do you have any unfinished business to attend to so you can end this year on a good note?
  • What needs to happen in order for you to accomplish your goals?
  • Don’t stretch yourself too thin. The objective here is to work on goals that are actually achievable RIGHT NOW.
  • Some projects just need to be let go of, so you can focus more on the things you want in your life.

Here’s My 18 before 2018

  1.  Be Present

I made this the first thing on my list because it’s so important to me. So many of us are focused on things that just don’t matter in the long run. I’m letting go of that and channeling all of my energy into being 100% focused on the things that are important to me. My family, my friends, my self-care and all the little things in between.

2.  Start a Youtube Channel

This is something I’ve wanted to do for so long. Now it’s no longer on the back burner.

3. Monthly Dates with my partner

These have been practically nonexistent since we’ve had our son. Now I’m making them a priority.

4. Decorate for the holidays

This may sound silly to some, this will be the first year we’re in our own home as a family. I love homes decked out for the holidays, so this year I’m making it happen

5. Create a budget…and stick to it

This seems pretty self-explanatory.

6. Take more walks

I never spend enough time outside. I work full time, and more often than not I’m dead tired when I come home. Usually, the last thing I want to do is go for a walk, but spending time outside is so grounding and always relaxes me. So I’m planning to walk at least 15 minutes a day.

7. Reduce my mindless screen time

Recently I’ve noticed I’m spending a lot more time mindlessly scrolling on Instagram, or Facebook. I open the app to look one thing, and then 30 minutes go by and I’m still scrolling. I don’t allow my son to have screen time for this very reason. I didn’t want him to become addicted to it. Now I’m limiting my screen time, and spending more time doing the things I love.

8. Read a least one book

Again this might sound silly to some of you, but those of you with kids will understand. It can be incredibly difficult to find time for yourself, especially if you have a toddler like I do.

9. Start a bullet journal

Okay, if you have no idea what a bullet journal is, go google it now! One of my goals for 2017 was to get more organized. Well, that never happened, until now! Currently, I’m setting up my first spreads in my bullet journal, and I can’t wait for it to change my life 😉

10. Increase my content output

Blogging is something I’ve always wanted to do. I fell off the wagon for a while, but I’m excited to get things going again and to see where things take me.

11. Buy a coffee table for my living room

I mentioned this before, but we recently moved into our first family home. A super tiny one bedroom apartment. Just about all of our things were gifted to us, so buying a coffee table will be our first “big” purchase together.

12. De-clutter my wardrobe

Over the past year, I’ve been learning more and more about minimalism, and I’ve discovered that I have so many things I just don’t need. So the first major area I’m de-cluttering is my closet. If it doesn’t fit, I haven’t worn it in years, or it just doesn’t bring me joy I’m getting rid of it.

13. Take better care of myself

Becoming a mother is the greatest thing to ever happen to me. However, I feel like I lost myself to motherhood. I worried so much about my son I forgot about myself. My goal now is to take better care of myself whether that means I’m getting my nails done once a week, or just drinking a cup of coffee by myself. I’m making myself a priority again.

14. Listen to more podcasts

I LOVE PODCASTS! If you’ve never listened to a podcast seriously you’re missing out. The amount of information I’ve learned from podcasts is astounding. I’m absolutely obsessed.

15. Connect more to my faith

This is something I’ve struggled with a lot recently. I often make excuses for myself and say I don’t have time for faith. This lack of faith has directly affected my emotional well being and I’m ready for a change.

16. Create a gratitude log

I’ll admit, I’m a complainer. I often become hyper focused on the things going wrong in my life and it makes it impossible to see all the things that are going right. To combat this issue every day, I’m going to write down one thing I’m grateful for. At the end of the year, I’ll have an amazing list of all the good things in my life.

17. Spend more time with friends

I can be a pretty antisocial person. I find it hard to connect with people face to face and if I’m being honest people give me a great deal of anxiety. Because of this, I have a hard time showing my friends I actually care about them.

18. Gain at least 5 lbs

If you know me, you know for the last few months I’ve been struggling a lot with weight loss. I’ve started to feel really uncomfortable in my own skin, and in order to remedy this, I’ll be making a  conscious effect to track what I’m eating and to packing on the pounds 💪.

If I’m being honest I’m a little stressed about the sheer size of some of these goals. Nonetheless, I’m excited and ready for the challenge! What are some of the goals you’d like to accomplish before the new year? I’d love to hear about it in the comments or tag me on Instagram @theholisticbee

xoxo

Destiny

A Guide to Self-Compassion

A Guide to Self-Compassion

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Hi, my sweet, sweet friends! I’m sorry I’ve been MIA lately. I really needed some time to myself, to do some self-reflection and healing. If you’ve been following my blog at all you know I’m on a journey of self-discovery. You’d also know how strongly I feel about self-care. Because of that, I decided to take some time off to work on myself and to really focus on my family. Now that I’m feeling re-energized, I’m ready to get back to my regular posting schedule.

In this blog post, I wanted to share with you the knowledge I’ve gained throughout these few weeks of reflection. So, before I ramble on too much, here’s a guide to becoming the best “you” you can be.

LET GO OF NEGATIVITY 

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times! You must let go of your negative energy to grow as a person. Negativity can hold us back from a lot in life, especially happiness. Your mind creates your reality. If you’re always walking around with an attitude of ” nothing goes right in my life” than that’s what you’ll get in return. So, you’re probably wondering how you can stop being so negative. Don’t worry I have a few tips for you 🙂

  • Be grateful-  Take five minutes a day to write down everything you’re grateful for. When you start focusing on the positive things in your life, your whole mindset changes.
  • Stop complaining-  I know, this one is tough. I’ll be the first to admit that I complain A LOT. What I’ve been trying to remember lately is that complain doesn’t fix anything. Now I try to limit complaining to no more than five minutes. This helps me to mentally notice when I’m getting annoyed, so I’m able to take the right steps to calm myself down, rather than sweating the small stuff.
  • Focus on yourself- Usually negativity comes from a place of unhappiness. Start asking yourself what would you like to change? How can you make your life better? Do some self- reflection, and be open to making some changes.

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LIVE AUTHENTICALLY

It takes so long to be comfortable in your own skin. Once you’ve reached that place in your life, never apologize, or hide who you really are. Never strive to be like someone else. Be unique, be weird, be authentic, be YOU!

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LET GO OF SELF DOUBT 

I can’t stress this enough! How can you become your best self if you’re always doubting your abilities? Letting go of self-doubt is difficult, but it’s possible. Let go of the fear of failure, let go of other people’s opinions of you, let go of pre-conceived opinions about yourself. Know your self-worth, and never doubt it again. Like I said before this may not come easy, and it may take time. A great way to start is using positive affirmations. Every morning while you’re getting ready, look at yourself in the mirror and say something positive about yourself three times. Here are a few examples.

  • I am a beautiful and strong person. I can tackle anything that comes my way today.
  • I am a confident person.
  • I am going to be my best self today. I will stay positive and kind.
  • I am going to have an amazing day. Nothing will crush my positive mood.
  • My outfit is on point today. I feel confident and beautiful.

Trust me I know how cheesy this sounds, but trust me it works!

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INVEST IN YOURSELF

Investing in yourself is always a positive thing. It’s a way to learn about yourself regardless of the outcome. The more you discover about yourself, the easier it is to become the person you want to be. Self-investment can be as simple has taking a class, reading a good book, or even starting up that business you’ve always dreamed of.

Well guys, there you have it, a few tips to help you along your journey of self-compassion, and self-love. Even if you incorporate just one of these into your life, you will see a change in yourself and your life. I’d love to hear the ways you’re working on becoming a better you. Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

xoxo

Destiny

 

 

WHY WE BED SHARE

WHY WE BED SHARE

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Trust me I’ve heard it all, so if you have something negative to say about my family’s choice to bed-share, save it. I’m very confident in my parenting decisions, and I trust my instincts.

I would like to say that there is a correct way to bed share. There are do’s and don’ts, and a million and one things to learn, but after making the decision to bed share with your baby don’t waiver- trust your instincts and don’t let others make you feel bad for it.

Our son has slept in our bed since day one, and he will sleep with us until he’s old enough to not want to anymore. I know some of you think we’re crazy, but trust me this wasn’t always the plan. Before our son was born my partner and I planned on co-sleeping. Okay, so I’m sure some of you are confused because you thought co-sleeping meant having baby sleep in bed with you. Don’t worry you’re not completely wrong. Co-sleeping is an umbrella term which basically means sharing a sleeping environment with your baby.

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Like I said before our plan was to just co-sleep. We had a side-car sleeper set up right next to our bed and our son even slept in it ( for about 2 minutes). I hating seeing him in there. Every fiber of my being was telling me that he needed to be held and cuddled so that’s what we did, and we’ve never looked back. Bed sharing is just what works for our family, call us crazy if you want, but our son has slept through the night since day one 😉

So for those of you who still don’t understand why we bed share, or for those of you who are interested in bed sharing with your littler ones here are my top five reasons for bed sharing.

1.Safety and Peace of Mind 

Studies have shown that sleeping within arms reach of another person significantly improves baby’s heart rate and blood pressure. Sharing the same bed as your baby also helps to regulate their temperature. A mother’s body with cool, or heat to meet baby’s needs. This helps to prevent overheating, something that is very common in cribs.

Having my little one next to me at night also keeps me from worrying nonstop. Knowing my son is safe helps me sleep better at night, in fact, countries with the highest rates of bed-sharing have the lowest rates of infant mortality, including SIDS. ( This is not to say only babies in cribs die of SIDS. Babies in bed sharing environments can die of SIDS, it’s just rare)

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2.Happiness and Comfort 

Bed sharing with my son means we both get to have happier mornings. Nothing is better than waking up to baby snuggles. Plus the comfort he gets from being close to me at night means we rarely wakes at night (usually he only wakes to nurse), so we’re all able to get a full nights rest.

3.Bonding

I believe sharing a bed has helped develop a strong foundation for our family as well as for the relationship I have with my partner. A healthy, happy relationship can be hard to find once babies are introduced to the mix. After talking to both families that bed share, and crib sleep I’ve concluded that those of us sharing a bed with our little ones have the best sex life. Let’s face it bed sharing forces you to get creative.

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4. Creating REAL Independence 

The first thing people bring up when they hear that my partner and I bed share with our son is his future independence. Often people think that because we allow our son to sleep with us now that he’ll become a whiny, clingy little brat in the future. I personally don’t believe that’s true. Having our son close to us means that he feels our constant love and support, this includes night time. I don’t believe parenting ends when the sun goes down. In my opinion leaving your child to comfort, and support themselves overnight is cruel.

5.Laziness 

Honestly, this is one of the main reasons we bed share. I’m simply too lazy to get out of bed every time my son wakes up. It’s easier for both of us if I can just roll over and pop a boob in his mouth. This way he doesn’t have to wait, and I don’t have to open my eyes 😉

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Now I couldn’t make a post about co-sleeping/bed-sharing if I didn’t discuss how to do it safely. Here are a few rules you need to follow if you’re planning on bed-sharing with your little one.

  • Bed-sharing should NOT take place on unsafe surfaces such as couches, or water beds
  • A parent should NEVER share a bed if they’re intoxicated, taking sleeping medication, or a heavy smoker.
  • NEVER place baby on the edge of the bed without a side rail or bumper. Here is an example.

Every single bed-sharing death is tragic, however, these deaths should not be related to those who bed share safely. Just as the deaths that occur in cribs does not mean that crib sleeping is deadly and should be eliminated.

As always this post was not created to shame anyone who doesn’t bed-share or agree with the topics discussed on my blog. I’ve said this a thousand times, but I feel it’s important so I’ll say it again PARENTING IS HARD ENOUGH WE DON’T NEED TO MAKE IT HARDER BY BEING HATEFUL TO EACH OTHER.

Like always make sure you’re subscribed so you never miss when I post. Enter your email and you’ll be notified as soon as a new blog post goes live. If you’d like you’d like to see what I’m up to on a daily basis follow me on Instagram I post there almost daily.

xoxo

Destiny

PS. Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate!

An Open Letter to The Love of My Life

An Open Letter to The Love of My Life

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I’d like to take a moment to point out how difficult it will be to summarize the immense love I have for you, but I will try my hardest.

There are a million and one ways I could begin this letter, but I think the best place to start is by saying thank you. For everything.

Thank you for loving me, even when I think I’m unworthy of it.

Thank you for being my Dwayne Johnson.

Thank you for always allowing me to speak my mind even when I cut you off, or make you feel like I don’t value your opinion.

Thank you for holding me when I feel like I have the weight of the world on my Shoulders. More importantly, thank you for being willing to carry my burdens for me.

Thank you for reminding me it’s okay to laugh at myself.

Thank you for standing in the kitchen with me every night after work and letting me unload my frustrations on you.

Thank for you wiping my tears, and for the many forehead kisses.

Thank you embarking on this amazing journey with me.

Thank you for trusting me with our son, even when I didn’t trust myself.

Thank you for not thinking I was crazy when I told you I wanted to deliver our son at home.

Thank you for always being supportive of my choices even when you don’t always agree with them.

Thank you for respecting my body when I’m too tired, you offer a back rub with no motive.

Thank you for telling me my body is beautiful, and that it’s okay to have loose skin and stretch marks because I made a person.

Thank you for being patient with me when I freaking out for literally no reason at all.

Thank you for reminding me that it’s just a panic attack and that I’m not going to die.

Thank you for remaining loyal, and faithful to me.

Thank you for always making time for me even when I don’t make time for you.

Thank you for loving Jordan as much as I do. And thank you for helping me pick up the pieces when I almost lost her forever.

Thank you for pointing out when I’m being selfish, and unreasonable.

Thank you for supporting me in raising our son differently than how we were raised.

Thank you for doing the diaper laundry.

Thank you for being an amazing father, and a fantastic role model for our son.

Thank you for rearranging your school schedule to stay home with Walter after my mom’s surgery.

Thank you for always packing my lunch for work.

Thank you for being my best friend, and loving me even when I couldn’t love myself.

Thank you for the best two years of my life. I know we have many more trials, and tribulations to go, but I wouldn’t want to be on this journey with anyone else.

I hope you never question my love for you.

xoxo

Destiny

 

12 Tips for healthy eating

12 Tips for healthy eating

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EATING CLEAN ON A BUDGET
Written by Ariana Hamidi 4/1/17

If you’re anything like me, feeding your family healthy whole foods free of chemicals is a top priority. A lot of people think that many foods are out of reach, too expensive, and I am here to tell you it’s just not true! You can nourish your family organically and frugally, so I’ve created a list below of ideas on how to do that. The first piece of advice is: be committed! You may have to give up certain conveniences or treats; you may have to offer your time and labor, but your body will be healthier and your bank account will be fuller. Write a monthly amount to what you can spend on groceries and stick to it however you can. For me, it means using cash only. Other families might fare better with apps like Mint. Budgets are very personal and only you will know what works for your family. No matter what that number looks like, these tips can help you keep costs down while improving your health and well-being by feeding your family the very best you are able to give. In the case of our children, you are helping them grow and thrive into strong human beings with healthy immune systems. It’s worth it!
1. GROW YOUR OWN FOOD
This is the best piece of advice anyone can give. It is critical in today’s society to build community and work together to become as self-sustaining as possible. It’s also the best way to know exactly what you’re putting into your body. If you’re unsure where to start, ask friends, find a workshop, check out books from the library, read blogs. Lots of cities are establishing community gardens where you can rent space. If you’re in the suburbs or rural communities, chances are you have some lawn you could turn into a garden. If you rent, building a few raised beds with cheap wood can still produce a substantial amount of vegetables and is simple to break down when you move. Apartment living? A long as you have a porch, you can have a garden using only large pots. Start small, and build from there. Plant herbs for flavor and amazing health benefits. (Did you know parsley has more iron than a serving of meat?) Once you gain experience, expand if your housing allows it. Raise chickens or ducks for eggs, goats for dairy, plant an orchard, berry bushes, or whatever excites you. There’s really nothing more satisfying than getting your hands in the earth growing food that you pick from your porch or backyard, tastes delicious and is relatively free! Be sure to buy organic and non-GMO seeds, and use local soil whenever possible. Many landscape businesses will sell an organic mushroom blend by the yard. It is also a good idea to have your soil tested for lead and other contaminants. Many states provide that service for a small fee. We had the soil at our rental home tested for $15 when we moved to RVA last year before we established a large garden.

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2. EAT LOCAL
I am fortunate to live in a city that has a farmers market open almost every day of the week. The key to saving money at a farmers market is to shop around and avoid impulse buys. Compare the prices of each stand before purchasing. Make notes about how these foods compare to grocery store prices and quality. Sometimes I choose lesser quality produce from Kroger if it saves me a few dollars, other times I opt for the fresher ingredients. In the height of the spring/summer season it’s easy to find a good deal at the market, just avoid purchasing extras we often see like baked goods, hot foods, or artisan cheeses, as these items can break the bank.

Another way to eat locally is to do your own fruit picking. Last summer we went to Barry’s Berries, Pleasant Field Farms, and Newcastle Bee and Berry farm to pick blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. The cost and quality are fantastic in comparison to any berries offered at the grocery store, and you don’t have to worry about exploiting someone’s labor with the big brands like Driscoll’s. We always pick as much as we can handle (with three kids running around) take them home and freeze them. I was lucky enough to have a family member gift us a vacuum sealer and it has allowed us to enjoy fresh picked berries all winter long for the last several years. (Investing in a deep freeze is an essential element to this money saver).

3. TASTE THE RAINBOW
Diversify your plates. Eat fruits and veggies in season, as you are more likely to find a great deal. Stock up on asparagus and peas in spring, pumpkins, and squash in fall, greens in summer. Like they say, too much of a good thing is…too much? I think life would be pretty boring if we were to eat the same meals on repeat each day, and frankly, I have no interest in living that way. I am a frugal foodie and to do that I constantly push my palate to keep things interesting, whether it’s spending a whole week figuring out how to love kohlrabi or giving offal to my baby. My goal for my kids’ meals every day is that they will get the full rainbow of colors in their meals. A typical example of that for us would include red bell pepper, sweet potato, banana, kale, blueberries, and grapes. (Purple is the hardest one for me to achieve consistently). I like to think of it as my kid’s multivitamin, but that’s another post entirely! When that’s not possible, or when you have a very picky eater, (for some of us that might even be most days), do what you can. Make smoothies. Hide veggies in meatloaf, mashed potatoes, or spaghetti. Try to acquire variety based on shopping sales or plan your meals around your CSA haul.

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4. CSA or WORK SHARE
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is an opportunity to support local farmers while enjoying the benefits of homegrown organic foods. You pay for a half or full share up front, and each week you pick up whatever crops they have harvested that week (May-November). It typically comes out to $30-50/week for a nice variety of chemical free vegetables. Many CSAs also have fruits, eggs, dairy, and fresh bread. Check the web or social media for the names of various CSAs in your area, then write emails to them asking if they are accepting new members. They should be happy to tell you about their growing practices in detail and if they’re not, move on! When my family moved to RVA last year I tried one of the delivery box services (there are several) but I was disappointed in the quantity, quality, and price so I canceled. It was not worth the convenience for me but you may find that is a good fit for your family. I did find a CSA that was Certified Naturally Grown (Victory Farms), which seems to be the new standard since it’s becoming harder to trust the safety of organic pesticides in USDA Organic food. This year I found Willow Hill Family Farm in their second year of a CSA. They also offer a work share (check them out here), five hours of farm work in exchange for the CSA share. Since we have been missing our Pennsylvania homestead so much, I chose this option. They offer a variety of seasonal no-spray, non-GMO vegetables, pastured eggs, lamb, and pork. My family enjoys connecting to our food through harvesting and building relationships with farmers so I am very excited about this season!
5. BUY IN BULK
Pretty simple. Only buy what you need and skip the extra packaging altogether. Another instance of …good for the planet, good for your wallet. Natural grocers (like Ellwood Thompsons in RVA) will typically allow you to bring your own containers to fill. An example of the savings: I can buy three times the amount of organic rolled oats in bulk as I can packaged for the same price. The same is true for dried beans, rice, and flour.

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6. MEAT AND RAW DAIRY SHARE (Vegan friends look away!)
If you can front the cost, buying a ¼, ½ of a whole cow, lamb, or goat is a great way to eat local and save money. Although this way of purchasing is certainly more expensive than buying factory farmed meat, it is a better value for families who choose to eat grass-fed beef and other pastured livestock exclusively. This season I found someone to split a ¼ share with me from Fresh Branch Farms (they can be found on Facebook). I have bought beef from them several times and it’s simply amazing! I also feel good about supporting a young family like mine. Many farms also offer a raw dairy share, such as Avery’s Branch Farms, who deliver at various drop-off locations in RVA.

7. BARTERING
Just this week I had a friend offer to buy some pastured chickens from her neighbor in exchange for some of my homemade bone broth. I gladly accepted! Whenever I can barter labor or supplies and avoid the exchange of money I do. This is another way of building community. Ask your friends and acquaintances if they would be interested in this. Perhaps you have a neighbor who always has an abundance of tomatoes but can never find a sitter for her children, make an offer to barter! Be creative and outgoing as there’s so much to gain and really nothing to lose if they say no.

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8. START A CO-OP
Start your own co-op (or find an established one) so that your food is sourced locally and directly without the inconvenience of having to visit all the farms yourself each week. I have a friend who does this in Austin, TX with a group of parents committed to eating clean. The group was formed on Facebook and has almost 400 members. The process looks something like this: a member scopes out a food source and posts to the group to gauge interest. Once a source is voted on and chosen they negotiate with the farm to buy a large order each week. They use Google forms to manage the ordering. The food gets delivered to the main organizer’s house and she keeps it frozen, refrigerated, or in coolers until each member picks up what they bought. Some members pick up for rural members and establish secondary pickup locations. They buy everything from meat, poultry, pork products, broth, eggs, Elderberry syrup, local honey, seafood, fruits, vegetables, and certain pantry items. This is a unique way of tailoring your eating to both your budget and lifestyle. I hope to have a part in making this happen in Richmond!
9. SHOP MULTIPLE GROCERY STORES
I know I know busy parents don’t have time to shop different stores each week, so you’ll have to decide how much of a savings is worth the extra time. If you look at it over the course of a month, I’ve been able to save up to $80/month with this method. For much of the year when our CSA or garden is not producing, we do a Kroger trip once a week, and a trip to Whole Foods, Ellwood Thompsons, or Aldi 1-2 times a month. We have certain dietary restrictions and some items much be purchased at those grocers. Kroger has a great natural foods section as well as organic produce, Aldi has affordable pantry items, Whole Foods has a nice seafood counter, and Ellwood Thompsons has a great bulk section. Each place offers something. I know a lot of people enjoy Click List, the online ordering system that Kroger now offers. If you are someone who makes a lot of impulse purchases, this is a good option for you. Stick to your list for meals and avoid the budget bumps!

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10. STOP EATING OUT!
Seems obvious, but for some, this might be a tough sell. Dining out, even at casual restaurants, is expensive. As someone who has worked in the service industry for many years, I always tip at least 20% (as everyone should) and that really adds to the cost. Because my family is living on a strict budget, we almost never eat out. We limit ourselves to special occasions maybe 3-4 times a year. Additionally, restaurant food has a lot of added sugar and salt and even if you choose a spot that sources locally, you really can’t be sure where all the ingredients are coming from. If you have to eat out, limit yourself to one drink and skip the appetizers and desserts. Look for lunch specials or nightly happy hour deals.
11. AVOID PROCESSED FOOD
(As much as possible) Let’s get real, everyone loves junk food…. at least in theory. Momentary pleasures of salty or sweet are something most folks can relate to, not to mention the convenience factor packaged foods provide when you have kids! But in reality, these foods are not helping your body or your budget, even if they are “Organic junk food.” I’m not here to judge anyone’s choices in any way because I definitely indulge plenty, but you may need to make a few rules for yourself in order to keep the spending in check. I give myself a rule that if I decide to buy the kids some kind of convenience food; it has to be on sale. When I see a great deal on a processed food like organic rice cakes, I buy a few extras for my pantry. Today at the grocery store I avoided all of it because I did not see a good deal and these foods are not necessary to any of us.

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12. HOMEMADE IS BETTER
I grew up on junk food, but later taught myself how to cook and now I make everything from scratch. I like to experiment, take risks, and rarely use recipes. If you’re a novice cook, check some books out at the library or look online for ideas. You really don’t need every ingredient listed in a recipe. Cooking and baking at home not only tastes far superior to anything store-bought, but you can control the ingredients. No fillers, preservatives, stabilizers, or other things you can’t pronounce. Worried about time? Use the crockpot; get an InstaPot, freeze dishes, or do a little meal prep on the weekend. Find a few go-to dishes that you can whip up in 30 minutes or less. Cooking homemade is a major money saver. My favorite way to make meat stretch is with soup. I can feed my family of five plus several lunch leftovers with one pound of meat. I use bones and wilted veggies (I collect both in my freezer over time) to make my own broth, fill it with cheap nutritious vegetables like cabbage, kale, carrot, and potato, and I have 3 meals for under $15.
I hope some of these ideas help your family on the path to both wellness and financial freedom!

I’d like to give a very special thanks to Ariana Hamidi for writing this incredible post today 🙂 I’ve had family visiting so I wasn’t able to write a full post this week ( Prioritize what’s important to you my friends) If you’d like to check out what I’ve been up to this weekend follow me on Instagram I make new post there daily. If you haven’t subscribed yet make sure you enter you email so you never miss a post.

xoxo

Destiny

5 Tips for Minimalism with kids

5 Tips for Minimalism with kids

Hi there! If you haven’t seen part one STOP and click here to get caught up.

Like always I’m going to start by saying this post isn’t about bashing moms. Parenting is hard enough without all the added drama social media can bring. I’m a supportive person, and I try my hardest not to judge others on their parenting choices. Please keep that in mind while reading this post. If we want our children to grow up in a kinder world, we need to start being kinder to each other. ❤

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Now I know some of you are thinking I’m full of it. I only have a 7 month old, I don’t understand how difficult older children can be. Well, you’re right, I have no idea what that’s like. I’m not here to tell you to throw all your kid’s stuff away and move on. I know these kinds of transitions take time, so below you’ll find a few tips that I hope will make things a little easier.

  1. Speak openly to family members 

I want to give you my most valuable piece of information first. The biggest problem parents can face when they choose to do anything outside of the norm is their family. I hear all too often ” oh I can’t get rid of that, ____ got that for her.” Well, the easiest way to combat this problem is to let family members know your policy on gifts ahead of time. When doing this always be respectful, but firm. You’ll encounter some family members who don’t agree with your choice, and that okay. Try your hardest to explain what brought you to your decision. If you find that doesn’t help, just move on. You’re no required to argue with anyone.

To try and avoid hurt feelings as much a possible, my partner and I have decided to have a families and friends follow a few simple rules when getting gifts for our son.

  • We limit gift giving to special occasions ( I’ll touch more on this later)
  • The gift much be something he needs, something he wants, something he can read, or something he can wear
  • We prefer sustainable materials. This basically means no/ very little plastic

 

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2. Activities over possessions 

I know this one can seem kind of like a splurge but just stick with me. What’s more logical, buying a toy that will sit in box or room unused like the 4,000 other toys your kid has or buying an annual pass to a theme park you can use over and over again. Honestly, the choices are endless hear, find an activity your child is interested and do that instead of buying another toy.

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3. TEACH THEM TO GIVE 

I put this one is all caps because I wanted it to really stand out. This is something that I believe is incredibly important. It doesn’t matter how old your children are, it’s never too early to teach them to be generous. Something my partner and I plan on doing with our son when he’s older is allow him to go through his toys and decide what he wants to keep, and what he wants to give to another child. I personally don’t see the point in hanging on to things that aren’t being used.

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4. Only keep what they’re interested in

We all know kids go through phases. I’m sure all of you reading this could walk into your kid’s room and find something that hasn’t been played with in months. Why are you holding on to it? Find a few things that they’re loving at the moment, and donate everything else.

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5. Limit new possessions to special occasions 

How many times have you walked into a store and allowed your child to grab something off the shelf just to avoid a meltdown? Don’t be embarrassed everyone does it. The only problem with this is, it creates a habit. To avoid this try limiting getting new items to special occasions like birthdays.

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I can not stress this enough, this post is not able shaming parents who don’t follow this lifestyle. This is only a guide to help those who feel like they can’t rise above the chaos. My goal with this blog is to create a safe space for like-minded people, and show people it possible to live a life that’s focused on the things that matter.

xoxo

Destiny