September 30, 2015

September 2015 Update

Here's what happened in September. tLG and I finished out our beach trip with Mom and Rex. We had so much fun. I just love the beach! I also love traveling with this kid and her best buddy Carl. We've done the airport together about a billion times now and we can totally rock it from checkin to security to boarding.

Now we are back home and settling into real life. Our little family has been back together for 2 months but in some ways we are still learning to live together again. We are in that mode of figuring out what works and what doesn't, what our new systems and routines are, rebuilding trust and faith in each other, defining our goals and developing our communication skills. Basically, being intentional about marriage, parenting, and family is hard. But I just can't go back to going through the motions again. We almost lost it all that way.

The Lord has been so good to provide for us since I left my job last month. It has been a huge confirmation that it was time for me to step away from that company. I have 3 new virtual assistant clients who have committed to a block of hours each month and a few others that I've been helping with small projects. I was also called to do some backup postpartum work and I'm booked through the end of the year with doula clients. Right now I really only have an opening for 1 more VA client. For doula clients, I have an opening in January - early Feb and then I'm basically booked until summer. It's just so exciting to see how the Lord is providing. I literally had no plan B. I totally walked away with nothing more than His peace to do so. He has been so faithful and I am much happier!
We went to the fair with friends this year and it was probably the best fair trip ever. We also went on a Monday night so it wasn't crowded at all. We just had so much fun. I didn't ride a single ride but had a blast watching my kiddo. Turns out we have somehow managed to go to the fair on the same night for the last four years. I thought that was pretty cool.
Praise Jesus that college football is back and we've been having regular get togethers with friends to watch each other's games. I even broke my no cable rule to sign up for Sling TV so that we can have the sports channels. It's not full cable but it's a good compromise to get us through January. Bama isn't looking to hot this year and neither is Auburn but I will always love the SEC. Plus, getting together with friends means good food and that's what football season is really about. Haha! All of our children love football too so we are raising them right!
Homeschool is going well. We are really in a good grove now and things are getting faster and easier. We school in the morning and I have "office hours" in the afternoon. We also had an opportunity to help campaign for a friend of ours running for council, which was a blast and really helped tLG become even more interested in politics. Plus, she's got some legit sign flipping skills.

My Redneck Garden is coming right along. I still have a few things growing but we are starting to prepare for fall & winter. Notable moments this month included our swallowtail butterflies hatching and gigantic carrots. I'm also quite tickled to report that a beautiful garden spider has finally joined us again. I had one last year and enjoyed her so. They make beautiful webs!

I've been reading For The Love by Jen Hatmaker on my Kindle. This book is totally rocking my world. This is my kind of parenting. My kind of relationships. My kind of life living. And I am soaking up every word. It's also hilarious (the audioversion, OMG!). I now want to buy the hard copy and basically highlight the entire thing. It's helping me to simplify and make some good, but hard, choices about what's important. Not just important, but life-giving and vital for me. Okay, okay. I just convinced myself that this book needs a blog post all on it's own. If you haven't read it yet, put it on your list right now.

Speaking of simplifying and life-giving, I am in LOVE with Hello Fresh. This service has changed my world. I've written about it twice already (here and here) and probably will again. It has freed up so much space in my brain and there are no words to explain how beneficial that is.


Last night Skylar got to experience her first Pred's game. Mike loves hockey so our girl already knew many of the players just by listening and watching on TV with him. We had a blast!
 That's it for this month. Check back in October. We have a camping trip planned and tLG is going on a week-long adventure with Mike's parents. Until next time you can view more September photos here. 

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September 2015 in Pictures

For the full update, click here.

Panama City Beach 2015
Taking these two cuties to the beach!
It's hard to say who adores who more. 
 2nd runner up for World's Best Traveler goes to Carl
 #markcoleforcouncil
 Fair Memories
Love my people and this photo at the fair!
 You can call me Mr. McGregor
 One of our beautiful swallowtails that emerged.
My 2015 garden spider. She's so pretty! 
 tLG's first Pred's game. 
Also, family selfies are practically impossible with these two. 
 All of our kiddo watching football and wearing their team shirts. So cute!!
 HelloFresh.com has changed my world. 
Helping out in the TDF kitchen. So thankful Ms. Joni lets us join her. 
Field Trip Friday
Loving my new logo I made! 


September 15, 2015

Hello Fresh vs. Publix (Save $40 with code NSCFW3)

HELLO FRESH...     It's a   grocery / meal planning / life   game changer!  Trust me.

Personally, I love the convenience of Hello Fresh. It's Farmer's Market meets Amazon. It's Pinterest meets simplicity. They deliver fresh ingredients. To. My. Door. complete with recipe cards. Basically, it's amazing!

But, several of you (including myself) are curious... Does this save money? 

Over the weekend, I did a little price comparison at my local Publix and I was shocked (in a good way) at the results. These are all of the items that were in my last box.

Note: I went through the trouble of selecting produce similar in size to what I received and weighing it to calculate the exact price. 

Blackened Catfish & Blistered Summer Vegetables ($23.10 before tax)


Catfish - 7.99
Yukon Potatoes - 3.99
Green Beans - 2.00
Onion - 0.50
Blackening Seasoning - 2.99
Red Pepper - 2.00
Garlic - 0.89
Cilantro - 1.99
Lemon - 0.75


Chicken Fajitas with Homemade Guac and Pico ($19.32 before tax)


Chicken Breasts - 5.99
Onion - 1.25
Bell Pepper - 2.00
Sour Cream - 1.50
Cilantro - 1.99
Tomato - 2.00
Lime - 0.50
Avocado - 2.00
Tortillas - 1.99
Jalapeno - 0.10

Seared Steak & Charred Nectarine Salad with Feta ($30.32 before tax)


Sirloin Steak - 6.99
Lettuce - 3.99
Nectarines - 1.99
Feta Cheese - 5.19
Pecans - 4.89
Red Wine Vinegar - 3.39
Basil - 1.99
Challot - 1.89

Total for all items at Publix would have been $72.74. After calculating the sales tax in my area, I would have paid close to $80. Plus, I would have used a gallon of gas to go to the store. My out of pocket expense would have easily been $80+. 

Hello Fresh price? Only $69!!!    So, YES, using Hello Fresh does save money!

The BEST part is that I don't have to spend the time to find recipes, make a list, go to the store, shop, come home, and put it away. No thanks. Time is a commodity I can't get back. These little boxes are delivered in a refrigerated container and I simply put the 3 meal boxes right into my fridge. Easy peasy. Done!

Another perk of Hello Fresh is zero waste. You literally use every single thing in the box. I don't end up with half an onion, part of a container of cheese, and a random bottle of seasoning left over. This also saves time when you are cooking. I don't have to go to the pantry and the fridge and the seasoning cabinet. Everything is all squared away together.

If you are curious to try it out use code NSCFW3 to save $40 off your first delivery at HelloFresh.com. That means your first box is only $29! In looking at the prices above, you really can't beat $10 per meal.

For more details about Hello Fresh and how the service works, check out my original blog post here.

Happy Cooking!

September 10, 2015

Hello Fresh - Save $40 with code NSCFW3



Back in 2012, I made a resolution to "simplify" except that I feel like I'm just now getting a handle on what that actually means. We started by homeschooling, which I actually thought was going to make things crazy, but it has simplified our lives quite a bit. Up next is the tiny house (not.even.kidding) but we've got to find land first. In the meantime, I'm trying to purge stuff and simplify the daily logistics of our lives.

My friend Michelle introduced me to Hello Fresh and my world will never be the same. They delivered farm-fresh ingredients.... wait for it.... to my front door. Everything for an entire meal comes packaged in a cute little box. In fact, each Hello Fresh delivery includes THREE cute little boxes that happen to fit just perfectly in my fridge. It was meant to be.

I was delighted to see how well-packaged everything was. I missed the delivery and made it home 4 or 5 hours later and the outer box was still cool to the touch. When I opened it, it felt like opening a fridge. There was insulation and an entire layer of frozen gel packs. The meat was underneath and the veggies were on top so all of my ingredients were at the perfect temperature. I was so impressed!

I was so tickled at all of the fresh veggies, herbs and free-range chicken. It was like Farmer's Market meets Amazon. There were perfect little packs of garlic, feta cheese and sour cream and even a bottle of red wine vinegar. They seriously include everything you need to cook with the exception of salt & pepper and maybe a Tablespoon of cooking oil. You use every ingredient for the meal so it's basically no waste. Swoon!

It was pretty much love at first site. Then I actually cooked a meal and fell head over heels. The food combinations were bold but seriously delicious. I never would have paired steak with nectarines but it was, honest to goodness, like my kitchen was a gourmet restaurant. Every bite was fabulous. I've gone on to make chicken fajitas and blackened catfish with summer veggies, which were equally as awesome as the first!

In summary, you get convenience for foodies. It's a win-win! 

Here's the details of how it works. You sign up for an account at HelloFresh.com. Use code NSCFW3 to receive $40 off your first box. A Classic Box for Two is $69. They also have a Vegetarian Box for $59. Shipping is always FREE! Both come with 3 meals but I have found that they will feed more than two people. I think they would easily feed four because I feed 3 people and still have a generous portion left over for lunch.

I should mention that I'm gluten free. Each week you have 5 meal choices and you can select 3. All of the allergen information is available so you can see which meals you would like to pick. If you don't make any selections, they will just send you the 3 most popular choices.

The default setting is to deliver a box every week but you can view the calendar in your account and set it up to deliver whenever you want with a click of the mouse. I currently have mine set up to deliver twice a month. You can make changes at any time. There is no minimum monthly order, or yearly for that matter. There is also no monthly or annual fee.

UPDATEHello Fresh vs. Publix (a price comparison)

WIN A CLASSIC BOX FOR TWO

I love Hello Fresh so much that I want you to experience it too! Click here to visit the Rafflecopter Giveaway or use the widget below. Contest ends Saturday. Open to US residents only and new customers. Remember, even if you don't win, you can always use code NSCFW3 at HelloFresh.com to receive $40 off your first box to try it out.
a Rafflecopter giveaway