Finally letting go of 2014… Bring on 2015!

2015SO yes, I do realize we are now THREE weeks into the new year. I promise we celebrated New Year’s eve with the rest of the world. It’s just that 2014 was so ridiculously amazing that I wanted to revel in it a little longer. I thought once I put the Christmas tree away, 2014 could be packed up alongside it. As it turns out, I’ve really been having a tough time letting 2014 go ( insert Idina Menzel singing here).

Vacation 2014 collage

2014 brought us more opportunities to travel. No matter if it’s was for business or leisure, we love to travel! We had the opportunity to travel and enjoy some amazing vacations last year. A family trip to Myrtle Beach, a girls getaway to Vegas, a family staycation at the Gaylord Texan and quite possibly the best couples trip I have ever experienced with #BeachesMoms at Beaches Turks & Caicos.

Our career paths took some amazing plot twists too. Randall accepted a new position leading us to Austin, TX. Although we absolutely adore it here it now, it was bittersweet leaving Waxahachie,Texas which had become our family “hometown”. It was a whirlwind move between institutes and conferences all over the country for Randall.  My pursuits took me to a few places before and after our move as well. In July, I traveled solo to NYC for Blogger Bash. That was an incredible experience and one I will never forget. I made some amazing friendships and great business partnerships. After moving to Austin, I went on a small roadtrip to Galveston to attend Blog Elevated and connected with even more Texas bloggers in my community.

Neighborhood Collage

Our move blessed us with our beautiful new home and an even greater community. There was no way of knowing the incredible friendships that would be waiting for us in our new neighborhood. Right on our own street. Our new neighbors have become friends like family. We support and celebrate each other. To say the least, they have become “our village”.

But as they say, the show must go on. While I loved so much about 2014, I’ve caught a few glimpses that have already assured me 2015 will hold some pretty big adventures of its own. So here we go…ready or not….

One more thing…… Thanks for being along for the ride of 2014 and I hope 2015 will mean we will get to go on some adventures together. It means the world to us that you are here.

 

 

Take a Suave Family Selfie Sweepstakes & Win $175 Walmart Prize Pack

Because Global Influence has sponsored today’s post I have an awesome sweepstakes to share with you all! Suave is rewarding one family each week with a $175 prize pack for sharing a moment you’ve captured of your family living beautifully. But first let’s take a selfie….chase family selfie

Our family loves capturing fun moments with selfies. Not because we are necessarily “the beautiful people” but because they help us to capture the beautiful moments of our lives together. Sometimes having a stranger take the picture makes it feel posed and somewhere along the line the moment gets lost. Selfies are casual and fun.

Suave wants to celebrate the beautiful moments in your lives with a family selfie contest and give you the chance to win $175 Walmart prize pack. Here’s all the info you need to enter to win a Suave Friday Family Selfie prize pack by snapping a photo of you and your family and posting it to Instagram.

Image 1

Step 1: Take a family selfie (or use a recent one!)

Step 2: Post it on Instagram using the 3 hashtags: #suavefamilyselfie #LB2LB #Walmart

Step 3: Fill out this form and submit your Instagram link.

*To get your Instagram link visit instagram.com, log in, and find the link to your photo. It will be in the format of http://instagram.com/p/YOURPHOTOID.

*To retrieve the link from your Instagram mobile app, go to your profile picture on the app, click the “…” in the bottom right hand corner, and then select “Copy Share URL”.

Enter the sweepstakes weekly to increase your chance of winning. Each week 6 new winners will be drawn to receive a $175 Walmart prize pack. Once you have submitted your image here you will receive a coupon via email for $1 off Suave at Walmart.

I would love to know what YOUR family would use the winnings for if you won the Suave Family Selfie Sweepstakes- Let me know in the comments below!!

Our New House – a preview

Welcome Home our new house front

Moving from the house you’ve called home for the last 8+ years is truly a huge deal. Especially when it was during a season of so much “life”.  Our previous home held so many memories of our kids growing up. Sebastian taking his first steps. Sydney and Jonathan getting ready for first dances and dates. Birthday Parties, study groups, and dinner invitations all held so much laughter- And to be real it held a few tears too. That’s what makes a house a home. It’s the place that you feel safe enough to be you. The place that shields you from the storms as well as the place you can all have an impromptu family dance party in your jammies, right?

We’re definitely taking all those memories with us to the new place we’ll call home. We also want to share with you a sneak peek of our new abode! The movers have just delivered our things so this is just a preview ( I’ll do a follow-up post- maybe a few as we unpack and redecorate).  But for now here are a few pics of the new place! Drumroll please………

Our New House

front1484605_21484605_4 new house kitchenNew House master1484605_11

There is still so much to show like the beautiful backyard,  neighborhood pools, and tree-lined streets. This is just a sneak peek though remember? Pretty sure I’ve got a few dozen boxes calling my name.

I’d love to hear your best decorating ideas or move in tips! Put them in the comments below!

 

Money Saving Tips for buying Organic & Gluten-Free Groceries

Many of us are looking for ways to s-t-r-e-c-h every dollar as we recover from extra holiday spending. I’ve teamed up with 9 other savvy bloggers to bring you money saving tips for the new year &

a chance to win a $250 gift card to Amazon.com!!!

Save More With These Simple Ideas

Enjoy these great tips and make sure to enter here daily to win!

Our family has made many strides to improve our healthy lifestyle in the recent months through fitness, eliminating poor food choices, and replacing them with better ones. This year we are beginning an organic/gluten-free lifestyle. I knew we would feel great but the cost of switching to organic for a family of 6 was intimidating. Could we really afford to do this? The answer is YES!! It was so eye-opening to realize that not only could we stay within our current grocery budget eating organic/gluten-free, we could actually save money eating this way.

So, you are telling me I can feel better AND save money by buying organic and gluten-free groceries for my family…seriously?!?!  SIGN.ME.UP!!!

Aldi organic shopping trip

 

This week, I want to share some of my favorite money-saving tips for buying organic & gluten-free groceries for your family like we’ve been able to do, so that you can be sure to get the most out of every dollar in your budget too. These tips will cover where to shop – You’ve gotta have a starting point, right? Once you get there you are going to want to get the most out of every dollar, so I’ve provided some great tips on how to find the coupons for the organic & gluten-free products you’ll be buying. Next, you’ll find some great resources for meal planning. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. This is SO true when it comes to meal planning. I know if I don’t have a meal  ready to go we will end up caving on pizza or take-out that leaves us all feeling miserable. You ( & your budget) will love you for doing this!

 

Where to shop:

  • SHOP LOCAL Specifically shop your local co-op and farmers markets options. I HIGHLY recommended checking your area for local co-ops. These can save you money and are fresher than the produce on grocery store shelves. My favorite co-op is Bountiful Baskets– (Just $25 for an entire basket of organic produce!!) They will also often offer add-ons like organic coconut oil and olive oil at great prices. They have sites all over the nation. To find other great resources for finding local, sustainable, organic food in your area is the Eat Well Guide  and Local Harvest.
  • GROCERY STORES  Chances are your favorite grocery store now carries a selection of great organic & gluten-free options. A friend of mine that has been eating organic/gluten-free for a while recently volunteered to go shopping and take me on a grocery store “tour” to our usual H.E.B. store. I was floored at all the options that had been there all along. I felt like I had been to an entirely new market. Some of my other favorite stores that carry an organic &  gluten-free grocery line are Kroger, Aldi, Whole Foods, Costco, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, and Central Market. Don’t be afraid to shop a store brand either. If a product carries the USDA seal it is required to follow the same guidelines whether it is a brand name or a store brand. This week at Aldi’s I was able to score USDA 100% Grass-Fed Beef on sale for $4.49 lb!! Do you have a product you love that isn’t being carried at your local store? Talk with your store manager, chances are he or she will offer to order it regularly for you.
  • BUY IN BULK Memberships stores such as Costco are my favorite for finding big savings on staples like organic coconut oil, raw almonds, and chia seeds. These pantry items and more can be purchased here at a fraction of the cost.
  •  ONLINE  There are even some awesome options for buying organic and gluten-free groceries online. Amazon.com & Groupon.com will often be able to offer great deals and introduce you to new organic/gluten-free companies and brands at a great discount.heb shopping trip

Tips on finding Organic & Gluten free coupons:

  • BRAND COUPONS Brands like Earthbound farms, Amy’s, Applegate, Cascadian Farms, and Muir Glen often have coupons offered on their websites. They will also even put them inside the packaging of your favorite products do be sure to check. Also be sure to sign up for their brand emails, I’ve heard Earthbound farms will be sending out select coupons twice a month to their email subscribers only in 2014.
  • ONLINE COUPONS If you are already an avid coupon-er, you know that some of your current coupon sites already offer a coupon round-up of organic/gluten-free deals. One of my new favorite sites to find online coupons for organics is SimpleTruth.com. This site allows you to filter the coupons by the store you are visiting so you can be sure your store carries the product you have the coupon for.

 Organic & Gluten Free Meal planning:

  • HAVE A PLAN IN PLACE Once you’ve been diligent to purchase great quality healthy organic & gluten-free foods for your family and saved a ton buy using coupons, don’t let your hard work go and dollars go to waste by not using them. Make sure to create a menu plan right away. This way you wont be tempted to blow your budget by the continual pressures of “What’s for Dinner?”
  • FOOD PREP Eating healthy can still be convenient but food prep is key! Spend some time before your week gets busy making a pot of beans or quinoa. You can store them in large containers for ready to go lunches or dinners the rest of the week. Grill several chicken breasts or throw a few in the crock-pot to shred for salads or wraps during the week. One thing I do regularly is to have broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, cut up on a tray and set out after school each afternoon. They don’t have to look for something on and I’m thrilled because they are eating more veggies!
  • OUTSOURCE YOUR PLANNING Let’s face it none of us are super-mom, we all could use a little help somewhere, right? Meal planning is a great place to do that. Whole Foods provides a free weekly meal plan menu and shopping lists on their website.  Emeals.com offers an organic subscription based meal planning service that includes an entrée and side dish. I especially like this option and subscribe to it because it allows you to tailor your shopping list to the number of people you are feeding. It is another way for me to make this a goal a sustainable lifestyle for our family.

how emeals works   Now that we’ve talked about ways to get more greens in your diet, let’s get some more green in your wallet too!! Enter to win a $250 Gift Card to Amazon.com!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!!! & Please feel free to comment below with some of your best money saving  grocery tips!!

Family Meal Planning with eMeals

This is a sponsored post on behalf of eMeals in partnership with USFamilyGuide. I received a subscription to eMeals for my review. 

What is eMeals? from eMeals on Vimeo.

 I know we’ve all been baking up a storm over the holidays. Personally, after Thanksgiving and Christmas I am now out of all my traditional go-to recipes and am looking for some new ones for our New Year celebrations.  Lucky for us,  eMeals is launching their new dessert plan! Get inspired each week to make incredible desserts. With mouth-watering recipes like Chocolate Pretzel Slab Pie, Buttery Toasted Vanilla Clusters or Crunchy Streusel Pumpkin Loaf, this plan is perfect for the dessert lover in all of us. Receive 3 indulgent dessert ideas every week including a mix of Crowd Pleasers, Quick & Easy options, and Skinny Sweets. This variety of sweet endings will fit the bill for weeknight desserts, casual entertaining and even healthy treats.

emeals desserts

To celebrate their dessert launch, eMeals is also offering a Target gift card giveaway and more via a Pinterest contest! Go here  to enter to win!

eMeals, the leader in online meal planning, is a comprehensive meal planning resource that helps provide healthy and delicious dinners for busy families and individuals. Endorsed by financial guru Dave Ramsey and highlighted in the Oprah Winfrey blog, the eMeals weekly dinner plans include grocery shopping lists and recipe instructions that are simple and easy to follow.

Holidays aren’t the only time I need a little help in kitchen.  As I look forward to 2014, I am looking forward to not CONSTANTLY wondering what we are going to have for dinner each evening. Or completely forgetting until its dinnertime, scrambling to make something-from-nothing in the pantry, when we are stressed out and already hungry.  I am already planning to workout more in 2014 and I am not  wasting money and tons of calories on take out( bleh!). Meal planning makes me a better, more relaxed mom and wife. In 2014, I am looking forward to having more time to spend with my husband & kids, and we are saving money by eating at home. (They also have a PALEO PLAN!!! This makes my heart sooooo happy!) 

eMeals will send me the recipes, menu plan, shopping list and store savings. This also makes it super simple to send my husband to the store for everything we need – he is great with a list. I can’t wait to get started! Sign up NOW to get 15% off eMeals with code USFG!

how emeals works