Monday, March 20, 2017

Finding my focus - how instagram sharpened my focus | Plus a Major Announcement - New Blog Coming Soon!

I quietly celebrated five years of blogging over on Thrift for Today recently.  It's crazy, I know - five whole years.  Some years (2013) have certainly been more productive than others and I've learned a little bit a long the way.  

One of the things that I haven't always been the most consistent about with the blog is the use of social media - which I know doesn't make a ton of sense, but I never wanted to mingle my personal social media accounts with the blog in an effort not to be spammy to people that didn't want to follow and also to keep private things in our lives private.  I want to keep things real but still protect the privacy of my friends and family who haven't chosen to put themselves out there on such public forums.  It's a balance, you know.  

That said, I did FINALLY create an Instagram account for the blog and today I wanted to share a little bit about how that has helped me to rethink my blog and my purpose in this space.  If you're not following along, I'd encourage you to since it's so much easier to keep up with the day to day happenings over here.  You can find me here.

I have connected with so many lovely people in the last few months and I've loved getting to more easily share the day to day things in our life.

This increased sharing - and seeing what everyone else is sharing has allowed me to really sharpen my focus and understand better the things that I want to share and write about in the blog world.

I started Thrift for Today during a time when Hubs and I were just engaged and beginning to plan our life together.  We were just starting out and we made such an effort to always find the best deals, learn about ways to better manage our money, and tips & tricks to help us out - it was so much fun.

And while that's still an important part of our lives, it's not really a part that I am always very passionate about sharing on the blog.  There are only so many articles I can think to write about on ways to save money, but my biggest tip isn't even that fun or groundbreaking.  One of the biggest ways we save money around here is to just not go shopping.

What I really want to do with my blog is to encourage others.  I want to encourage you all to make choices that will allow you to live well in all areas of your life - physically, mentally, and spiritually - and to do it in community sharing with others.  Life is fun, my friends!

And with all of that, I've decided to start a new blog that will launch in April - Live Well Play Together.  I've already pulled some of the content from Thrift for Today and have a whole list of content ideas for Live Well Play Together.  

To say that I am excited for this move is an understatement.  I am feeling refocused and more energized than ever before when it come to blogging and engaging with readers.  

Of course there are days when I start to feel a little nostalgic over how far Thrift for Today has come, but I really think this move is for the best  - I think you'll really like it!  

So, what does that mean for Thrift for Today?

Oh, I've thought about this one long and hard.  I love this space and I really love you readers.  I thought about just redirecting this site over so that anytime you clicked a link or typed thriftfortoday into your browser, you would just be redirected to Live Well Play Together.  But, to be honest I didn't really like the feel of that.  There is so much here that really is Thrift for Today and I kind of want to keep it that way.  So, Thrift for Today will stay around.  BUT, if you want to keep following for new updates and posts, you'll need to head over to Live Well Play Together in the future.

What to Expect from the New Site
Some of the same and some new things.  It's still me on the new site, guys.  If you enjoy reading Thrift for Today, you will enjoy Live Well Play Together, promise.  But there are a few things that I'm really excited about that I think will bring even more value to you:

  • A more regular posting schedule
    • I've been putting a ton of thought into this and have lots of posts already planned out to share with you all and I'm excited to post more regularly so you'll know when to expect a new post and you will be getting those posts more often.  
  • More interaction with me
    • I've also cleaned out my inbox in preparation for the move and have been intentional about checking and responding to email much more frequently.  That means, if you leave a comment, or send a note, you can expect to hear back from me more quickly. 
    • You can also sign up to receive updates from Live Well Play Together, which will give you even more ways to connect!
  • Fun and Encouragement
    • My main goal with the new site is to be an encouragement to my readers.  I hope you'll come to the Live Well Play Together and leave feeling refreshed and encouraged.
I love to share my life with you all and I am so appreciative to those of you who have followed along with me so far.  I hope that you'll continue to stick around and join me soon over at Live Well Play Together - because life really is more fun when we do it together!  

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Spinach and Egg Muffins - Healthy, Make Ahead Breakfast for On the Go

I originally posted this recipe back in 2015 when Little was just 2 months old and I was beginning to think more about getting back into shape and eating well.  Some friends brought these over to us to have for breakfast and I really enjoyed them. 

But, because Little was so, well, little getting the recipe on the blog period was just a huge success and the only picture I had was one little photo of the eggs in the muffin pan pre-cooking.  It is what it is.  I'm re-posting this recipe today though because I've started making these again - but with a little update that I think makes it a lot easier: using a food processor to chop up the spinach first.  So, if you are looking for an easy and nutritious breakfast that you can make ahead and eat on the go (or not), this is for you. 

Look at that lovely chopped spinach!  I used my Ninja food processor, but any regular food processor should work.

Another thing I love about these are that you can store them in the fridge and eat them all week long. Just re-heat in the microwave for about 45 seconds and you're good to go.  You can also wrap them individually and freeze them if you want to make an extra large batch. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Budget Baby: Saving Money by shopping consignment for kids' clothes

I think we can all agree that having a baby changes some things in your budget.  That said, there are several ways that you can tweak things in your budget and find ways to spend less, yes, even save money when buying things for baby.

One of the things that we do around here that I think saves us quite a bit of money is buying almost all of Little's clothes via consignment.  I'm hoping that I can share a few of the other budget friendly things we do together, but for today I just want to share my most recent clothing haul with you all.

My favorite store to shop for Little is Once Upon a Child (this is not a sponsored post, I just really like shopping there).  Like most consignment stores, they buy gently used children's clothes, toys, and other gear and resell it for a fraction of retail.  There are several other stores, but I've always found that I can easily get into OUAC and find what I'm looking for.  To see if there is a OUAC near you - see here.

Twice a year, they have a "bag sale" where they provide customers with a shopping bag that you can fill with as many clearance clothing items as you can for just $15.  Little has enough clothes this year and so I took the time this year to buy things in the next size up, which I think will be perfect for him for the fall and next winter.  Last year at this sale, I bought him some 12-18 month items, which he could fit last year and he's wearing many of them again this year.  This year, I purchased 24 month and 2T sized items that are too big currently.  (I also bought one sweater that I thought was so handsome in size 3T because I loved it and if fit in the bag.)  I even picked up a few baby girl things for a good friend whose little girl was born the day after Little's first birthday.

Here was my bag before I checked out:

Monday, February 27, 2017

What's on our Plate: Weekly Meal Plan [4]

Another weekend has come and gone?  And for once, I can totally believe that we are at the end of another month.  This weather makes me feel like March has already been here for a couple of weeks, not that February is just getting ready to end.

We're also getting over colds in the TFT house this week.  I don't know where I picked it up, but I was patient 0 over here beginning last Monday afternoon.  I had a scratchy throat during the day and thought that I might be coming down with something, but there was also a lot of smoke in the air from a nearby fire and so I thought it could be that too.  Fast forward to about 5:15 pm and I was standing over the oven cooking dinner and was almost overcome with a feeling of weakness.  Hubs was kind enough to finish dinner, I ate a little bit with the family and promptly went to bed with a fever and feeling all kinds of gross.  (I was also really nervous that perhaps I had picked up the flu.)

All of that transpired into lots of coughing and congestion with hubs and I that has lasted the whole week, but is thankfully mostly gone.  Little had a runny nose for a few days, but has been fine other than that...and teething.  He has two more teeth coming in that seem to be giving him quite the trouble.

All of that is to say that sometimes, things don't go as planned.  We skipped storytime at the library and small group at our house to avoid sharing our germs.  Hubs worked late one night so he didn't eat dinner at home and one day in a rush, he forgot his lunch at home.  So we didn't cook everything on our meal plan last week.  In fact, we only made three of the things - and had leftovers the rest of the week.  

Just a reminder that making plans doesn't put anything in concrete.  It just helps guide what you'd like to do and helps think through a shopping list and meal prep.  It never hurts to be prepared.  

We're really hoping to kick this crud totally to the curb this week.  We didn't make it to church yesterday just to be totally sure not to share our germs.  Little plays with lots of other kids at church and even though we certainly feel on the mend, we don't want to take chances.  Especially with small children and in the middle of cold season.  

We're also hoping to get back to our regularly scheduled events calendar - playground, storytime, friends, and normal naps this week.  

Sunday: Philly Cheesesteak Grilled Cheese - which was DELICIOUS, by the way.  I"ll post about it soon.  :)
Tuesday: Baked Spaghetti
Wednesday: Taco night
Thursday: BBQ chicken - maybe.  I'm kind of undecided about Thursday night. 
Friday: Homemade Pizza - because it's my favorite thing on Friday nights.  

Finally, as a little fun fact for you this week - Hubs and I started dating on February 29, 2008 so tomorrow kind of marks the 9 year anniversary of that!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

For everything a season

My uncle recently passed away.  I spent a lot of time at the hospital in the days leading up to it with family and as we left the hospital room when everything was over and walked down the hallway, I was reminded of how there truly is a season for everything.  

Here we were walking down the hallway crying.  We had just said goodbye to a loved one.  But, as I watched other people going by with their day, I remembered that on that same day, even in the same moment when we were overcome by sadness and grief that there were still others that we in the same hospital that we welcoming new life and celebrating healing and wellness.  Sadness and joy.  Mourning and celebration.  All happening simultaneously right before me.  

And isn't this how life is?  This dance that just keeps right on going between all these things.  Sadness and joy, death and life, weeping and laughing, mourning and dancing.  All of it.  Together.