Food Waste Friday Is Back

FoodWasteFriday After years of wasting hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of food, we are attempting to reduce our food waste. I will post a photo each week of our food waste and I will link up with Food Waste Friday over at The Frugal Girl.

Since I’m finally in control of the groceries once again, Food Waste Friday is back!  When we moved into our new place, I decided a few things right off the bat.  First, I would do everything in my power to have zero food waste.  Second was to start a compost bin.

We have been in our new place for two weeks now.  We love it, even though it’s more space than we need or want.  It’s even bigger now that Rylan (our nephew) went back home.

Since Ava and I are home all the time, we are on leftover patrol.  I’ve taken it upon myself to eat any leftovers so they do not go bad.  So far, so good!

I am pleased to report that they only thing that went into the compost pile were a few pieces of moldy sweet peppers.  My mother-in-law sent them (not moldy) with us from her house when we moved.  By the time I got around to using them, a few of them were starting to grow mold.  No big deal.

Frozen Sweet Peppers in a Jar

I cut the mold off and decided to cut and freeze the rest of them to be on the safe side.  I love freezing peppers.  I love having them on hand.  I just pull the jar out of the freezer and pick a few out.  Easy peasy.  We also saved some very brown organic bananas by making some of my Nana’s delicious banana bread.  It didn’t last very long.

Coffee Jug

I’ve got my recycled jug in the fridge for any leftover coffee. (I got all fancy and wrote it on with a sharpie.) Just add milk and sugar and you have iced coffee.  No waste!  Speaking of coffee, I just bought this coffee pot…. for $3.73!

Thrift Store Coffee Pot

I’ve been looking for one at Goodwill but they’re either not the right size/style/color, over priced, or just flat-out nasty.  I spotted this one a few days ago.  It’s the exact one we had in Alaska (only paid $5 on Craigslist for that one) and was clean and an additional 30% off.  My patience paid off!

Storage Container Compost Bin

I did manage to start my compost bin.  It’s actually looking pretty great, if I must say so myself.  Check out all the kitchen scraps I need to add!

Kitchen Scraps for Compost

I keep a bin in the door of the fridge.  My bin is an aluminum loaf pan with a plastic produce bag.  Eventually I’ll be able to grow new food from these scraps, and that makes me very happy!

Did you waste any food this week?

nopin

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How I’m Saving on School Supplies: Part 2

The Scacchi House: How I'm Saving Money on School Supplies

I had originally intended on updating this every Monday until school started.  Such is life, things changed.  Things changed drastically.  While attempting to enroll our nephew in school, my sister-in-law decided to fly him home.

So here I am, stuck with a bunch of school supplies that I don’t really need.  What’s a girl to do?  I’m very glad that I hadn’t even spent $10.00 on everything yet, so it really wasn’t that big of a deal.  I sorted through everything and made three piles.

The first pile was for things I would keep.  I kept things like the scissors, black pens, pencils, colored pencils, one of the pencil sharpeners, glue, ruler, and the dry erase markers.

The second pile was for everything that I would return.  I returned the markers, one of the pencil sharpeners (we don’t need two), mechanical pencils, and the erasers.  I didn’t see us using any of these things, so back to Target they went.  I got $3.28 back.

The third pile was for the things we just won’t use, but were too good of a deal to return.  I think I will take all of these items to our local elementary school.  There are always children that don’t have any/enough school supplies. This pile consists of the folders with brads, highlighters, pencils, and a pack of red pens.  As a former teacher, I know the importance of the red pen.

So we are back down to just one child.  I did learn a few things about buying school supplies:

  1. I despise Office Max and Staples for their $5 minimum to buy their penny items.
  2. Office Depot doesn’t have a minimum purchase on any of their items.  And if you are super friendly, they will probably let you buy more than the limit too!
  3. No matter how good Wal-Mart’s deals are, I’m still not venturing in.  Saving an extra $.05 is not worth my sanity.
  4. Watch your sale flyers!
  5. Don’t be afraid to return items when you find them cheaper.  Save your receipts!

How did your school supply shopping go this year?

nopin

The Feeling of Health: Part 7

I am so very sorry for leaving you waiting for the last part of this series.  We have been without internet since we moved.  But we’re back!

 The Scacchi House: Why I Stick With It

So why do all of this?  Why eat healthy?  Why exercise?  Who cares?

I care!  Someone commented on Part 2 on Pinterest stating, “Stop worrying so much, #YOLO”. While I completely understand the desire to live free, because in reality, we do only live once, why not live this one life in the best way possible!

I did this for me!  I started this journey to feel better, and maybe drop a few pounds in the process.  I’ve been my biggest fan and cheerleader along the way.  It was all about ME for once.  I spent so much of my life feeling fat.  For once I just wanted to wear a bikini and not feel like the fatty at the pool.  I was finally able to do that this summer.  It felt amazing!

I did it for my husband!  My husband works so hard to provide for our family.  I also did this for him.  He deserves a healthy, fit wife!

I did it for my daughter!  She is the reason I keep it up.  She is the reason I scan every label at the grocery store and the reason I walked there instead of taking the car.  I want to instill in her healthy eating habits and the simple joy of exercise.  I don’t want her to ever struggle with her weight, or any other food/weight related ailment.  She is worth every extra mile I run and every cupcake I miss.

The Scacchi House: Setting A Good Example

I think this picture speaks for itself.  It’s working!  She watches everything I do.  And while others may see me as the crazy mom for withholding Crystal Light, lollipops, and sugar-free gum, I am trying my best to lead by example.  Trust me, she isn’t missing out.  We enjoy a bowl of fro-yo together at the local self-serve yogurt shop now and then.  And that’s okay.  I’m trying to raise her to understand that treats are just that, a treat.  They are to be savored and enjoyed and that they are so much better when you don’t eat them every day.  All I can do is give her the tools that she needs to succeed in life.  She will be left to make her own choices one day.

I’ve come a long way in my journey, but truth is, I still have a few goals I want to meet.  I’m far from perfect, which is fine with me.  I’m just your average woman trying to do her best.  I will continue to update you on my progress (or lack there of) from time to time.  If I have encouraged and motivated just one of you during this series, it was all worth it.

What is your reason for staying healthy and fit?

nopin

Please check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6 if you missed any of them.

Be sure to check out our giveaway that’s going on!

It’s Time For A Super Awesome Giveaway!

In honor of our internet being turned on, we’re doing a giveaway!

Crochet Bow Bracelet

We’re giving away one of our super cute mustard crochet bow cuff bracelets AND a custom chevron recipe template!  You can choose any color your heart can dream up.

Chevron Recipe Template

To enter, just click the button below.  You can also get a bonus entry by liking us on Facebook!  Be sure to tell all of your buddies so no one misses out!

The giveaway starts on Tuesday, 8/27 at midnight and will end on Friday, 8/30 at midnight (Central Standard Time).

You can also check out the shop and take 15% off any purchase with code INTERNET15.  Can you tell that we’re happy about having the internet back?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

nopin

The Feeling of Health: Part 6

Last week I talked all about running.  I’m waiting for this crazy-hot Texas weather to cool down so I can begin running every night.  It’s still pushing 100 degrees at 7:30 in the evening.  No bueno.

 The Scacchi House: Adding Bodyweight Exercise

Once I made running part of my healthy lifestyle and regular routine, I started to feel like I needed to do more.  I could see what the good food and running were doing for my body, but I wanted to see my muscles!

I’ve never had much muscle definition.  Even when I played sports in high school (cheerleading, tennis, and golf), I had just an average body.  Remember, I’m actually thinner and more fit than I was in high school.

I mentioned here that after we run, Ava and I stop off to play at our neighborhood park.  Well, not only does our park have a playground (and volleyball courts, soccer fields, and a 1/3 mile gravel track), it also has some awesome fitness equipment.

When I first noticed the equipment, I was a little shy to try them out.  So for the first few days, I just casual read the signs trying to figure out how to use each one and what muscle groups it would work out.  Then I started using them.

At first, I did what I could.  I could handle the sit-ups and maybe a couple of push-ups.  Pull-ups (not the kind your toddler wears) whooped my butt.  I’ve never been able to do pull-ups, even in elementary school.  Fitness was never high on my priority list.  That has seriously changed.  Here is all the equipment I have available at my park.

The Scacchi House: Exercise Without The Gym

 My first bit of advice: Don’t be afraid to workout because someone might be watching.  You’re working out, they’re not.  That’s all I need to say about that.

My second bit of advice: Do what you can.  When I started, I couldn’t even do one pull-up.  I can now do four.  Pathetic, I know, but I can only improve.

So what can you do if your park doesn’t have any fitness equipment?

I’m a big fan of bodyweight exercise.  My baby sister introduced me to bodyweight exercise.  She thinned out and toned up by working out in bed while watching TV.  For real!  She did crunches, leg lifts, and slew of other things.  Not sure what bodyweight exercises you could/should be doing?  Check out YouTube!  There are so many helpful workout videos to be found.  I was also able to find a handful of free apps for my iPhone that have a workout circuit.  I also like the playground workout over at Nerd Fitness.

After a few weeks of regular exercise, you will find yourself looking at every object as fitness equipment.  A table can be used for push-ups, etc.  I have also become obsessed with walking.  Walking can be done for fitness too!

I started walking when we lived in Alaska.  Even when it was 9 degrees outside with 3 feet of snow on the ground, I would regularly walk to the grocery store.  Once you strap a baby to your front (in the Ergobaby), you’ve got a decent workout.  So it was only natural that I started walking everywhere I could once we got to Texas.  For me, anything within one mile (one way) is fair game.  We are lucky that there are many options within a mile.  Even if it’s 103 degrees out, there’s no excuse.

Since I’ve added additional exercises to my running, I have noticed a significant difference in my body.  I’ve got less arm flab for one!

The Scacchi House: No More Arm Flab

I’m starting to see muscle tone all over.  Once I started to see a change, I was curious about my body fat percentage (don’t confuse this with body mass index).  Although I haven’t actually measured, I’m estimating my current body fat percentage to be around 23-24%, based on pictures.  My goal is to be somewhere between 18-20%.

I went to Bed Bath & Beyond to try out their fancy scales that supposedly measure body fat percentage.  Don’t waste your money (or time).  The most expensive scale said that my body fat percentage was 36%, which is ridiculously high for my body.  The Weight Watchers brand scale said I was 14%.  I’m no bodybuilder!  I’ll just stick with my estimate.

If you are trying to change your lifestyle, try adding a little at a time.  With these little changes, you will begin to see your body change.  With body changes, your attitude toward exercise and fitness will change.  It will no longer seem like work, but rather an exciting challenge and hobby.

nopin

If you missed any of the previous posts, you can find them here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

How I’m Saving on School Supplies

The Scacchi House: How I'm Saving Money on School Supplies

Happy Monday!

I mentioned here that our nephew Rylan has come to live with us for the school year.  This is my first experience enrolling a child in public school.  Along with public school comes a long list of school supplies.  Many of the school districts in our area offer a “one-stop-shop” option.  For $50-$80, the school will provide your child all the supplies your child will need for the year.  I personally think this is a rip off.

So, in the attempt to save a few bucks on school supplies, I’ve been watching the sale ads like crazy.  I also made this handy spreadsheet to show you what I’ve found so far.  Oh, and Rylan is going to be in the 4th grade, if you were wondering.

The Scacchi House: Saving on School Supplies

*Mechanical pencils were not on the official school list.  Rylan asked for mechanical pencils, so we compromised and bought one pack along with regular no. 2 pencils.

You see that I still have a few things to buy.  I’m about half way finished and I’ve only spent $8.61.  My goal is to come in under $30.00 for everything.  If you are wondering about a backpack, Tony’s dad offered to pick that up for us, so I didn’t include that in the list.

We don’t do “new school clothes”.  When Rylan needs something, we just pick it up as we go.  I’m not buying into all the hype that kids need an entire new wardrobe to start the school year.

I’m also not going to shy away from returning anything I find less expensive elsewhere.  We still have two weeks until school starts, so I will keep you updated.

nopin

 

Living in a Small Space

I’m in love with small (and tiny) houses.

My obsession began while living in Alaska.  Housing is very expensive in Alaska.  We definitely had sticker shock coming from Florida when we arrived in Anchorage.  It was definitely worth it though.

I haven’t shared much about our apartment in Alaska, but I will now.  The space was small for a family of three.  We lived in about 750 square feet.  This may not seem that tiny but it was a studio (sort of).  Let me diagram it for you.

The Scacchi House: Our Alaska Apartment

Our living, dining, and bedroom space were all shared.  We did have a separate kitchen and bathroom.  It was comfortable.  I didn’t have many complaints about our small living space.  Ava is still young, so she doesn’t take up much space.  I think my biggest complaint was that it was difficult to watch TV after Ava was asleep.

We talked about building or buying a house, which made the cost of living a little more reasonable.  After a lot of research, I found out that very small (under 600 sq ft) houses are fairly common in Alaska, especially once you get out of Anchorage.  Add a composting toilet and a wood stove and you’re a regular homesteader.  Okay, maybe not.

I researched all sorts of “alternative housing”.  You can check out a few of my Pinterest boards to see more inspiration.  We considered many forms of small housing.  Traditional stick built, conex (shipping containers), cob (earth), and even modular homes were discussed.  There are more options out there than you could ever believe.

Here’s a plan I sketched up (using floorplanner.com) for a house using two 40-foot shipping containers.  It has just enough space for our small family at 670 square feet.

The Scacchi House: Shipping Container House

But then we were transferred.  Here we are about to move into an 1,800 square foot townhouse.  I’m overwhelmed to say the least.  I’ve been so used to living in small spaces, this new house seems like too much.  Maybe everything really is bigger in Texas.  I’m sure we’ll get used to it too.

My dream would be to one day have a tiny cabin (under 500 sq ft) somewhere.  A place where our kids could play in the woods and catch fireflies.  Someday!  Who knows, may we will have a little vacation cabin in Alaska.

How do you feel about small houses?  Could you ever live small?

nopin

The Feeling of Healthy: Part 5

Like I’ve said before, 80% of your journey will be in the kitchen.  You will start losing weight and feeling better just by eating better.  You will get to a point where you are comfortable with your eating habits and you want more.  The “more” I’m talking about is exercise.

The Scacchi House: The Feeling of Health - My Cardio of Choice

Even though I haven’t always had the best diet, I’ve always loved to run.  And by always, I mean since college.  I remember in college calling up my mom and telling her I was going to run a 5k.  She laughed at me.  She said that women in our family are not runners.  I started running anyway.  Fast forward to 2011, my mom and I ran our first 5k together.  We’re both runners.  She was wrong.

The Scacchi House: My Cardio of Choice

My aunt Sue, mom, and me before our Ft. Lauderdale, FL run.

Since that first race, I’ve participated in quite a few more.  I ran my second race while pregnant and then another 8k two months postpartum.  That’s the farthest I’ve run to date (more on that in a minute).

The Scacchi House: Running Postpartum

Finishing my first postpartum race in Clearwater, FL.

I love to run.  I love the high I get.  I love how it makes me feel.  I love being outside.  I really hate running on a treadmill.  Put me on a treadmill and in a half mile I’m bored out of my mind.  I know it’s not like that for everyone.  I also run for my own mental health.  Running really is the best therapy.

You don’t need to join a gym or buy some fancy equipment to get a good workout.  I’ll talk more about this next week.  You run in your neighborhood, bike local trails, or swim in your backyard pool, all for free.  Just find something and do it!

I’ve never been a fast runner, but I’m working on that.  My fastest race time to date is 34:35 for a 5k.  Believe it of not, that was my time from my first race.  I’ve got to get my butt in gear.  I would actually like to place in my age category at some point.

Since arriving in Texas, I’ve been running more than ever.  I didn’t run AT ALL while we lived in Alaska.  To be honest, I was afraid.  No, I was not afraid of bears (although the thought of a moose lurking around every corner kept me on my toes), I was afraid of slipping on ice.  I did try to stay active by pulling Ava in her sled.  Walking through 4 feet of snow is a fairly good workout.  Shoveling snow isn’t easy either.

I try to run 3-4 times per week.  I don’t stress if it doesn’t happen.  I take Ava out in the stroller with me.  I run for 2-3 miles, then we stop off at the playground for some playtime.  I definitely use our running as mommy/daughter bonding time.  I hope Ava too has a love for running some day.

I do have a confession.  I injured my ankle the day I posted Part 1.  I’m not exactly sure what caused it.  I had just switched to my Vibram FiveFingers a month and a half before AND I had been working on increasing my speed.  I just think I over did it.  On a positive note, the day I injured myself I ran a 9:45 minute mile, which is a record for me.  I have been pain-free for about two weeks now, but I’m just getting over this nasty cold that’s been going around.  I have only been back out twice since then.  I did a half mile the first night, pain-free.  Last week I ran the half mile to the store, went shopping, then ran back.  The next morning I had a little stiffness, but nothing major.  I’m just trying to slowly get my ankles back into the swing of things.  I’m going to get back out there again this evening.

I so look up to my friend Brittany.  She is training for her second half marathon.  I wish I could run one with her.  Sadly, I don’t think I will ever be able to run any distance longer than 4-5 miles.  Why?  Well, my legs took a beating during pregnancy.  While pregnant with Ava, I developed a nasty varicose vein.  There, I said it.  I am 26 years old and I have a varicose vein.  They are genetic, so I was bound to get one at some point.

I honestly don’t care how it looks, that doesn’t bother me.  This. Sucker. HURTS!  When I do run 3 miles, by the time I’m finished, my leg is THROBBING.  This is what will hold me back from a half marathon.  To help the pain, I’m going to get a compression sleeve for my calf (the vein is on the back of my calf).  Hopefully this will help.  Let me know if you have any other recommendations.

Running is my choice of cardio.  Your choice may be something completely different.  Whatever your choice is, get out and do it.  Make time for yourself; you are important.  If you have time to watch TV, you have more than enough time to get out and exercise.  You really only need 30-45 minutes.  At the same time, don’t completely stress out about it.  Some days it’s extremely hot here.  I don’t know about you, but I do not love running when it’s 100 degrees out.  On those days, I give myself a pass.

Try adding some sort of cardio to your journey to health, you will be so glad you did.

nopin

If you’re interested in reading the rest of the series, you can find them here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Finally… Some Space

I’m sitting here on our new sofa, that I got free, by the way. I’m patiently waiting for the 15th to roll around. Why the 15th you ask? We’re moving!

Don’t worry, we’re not moving 4,300 miles like last time. We’re moving to a townhouse not far from here.

For the past 4 months, we’ve been staying with Tony’s mom and her family. It’s been wonderful and all, but it’s time to go!

We’ve gone back and forth on whether we should buy or rent. Ultimately, we decided to rent for the next year and see where life takes us. Who knows, maybe Cabo? You never know. It’s easier to pack up and go when you don’t own a house.

Part of me is bummed about not buying, ya know, being all DIY. I want to paint, change light fixtures, and maybe wallpaper. (Yes, wallpaper!) I’ve decided to make the best of it and do what I can with what I have. There are still plenty of DIY projects I can tackle in a rental house.

So about our rental! It’s 1,800+ square feet, which is gigantic to us. After living in super small spaces for the last 10 months, an entire house is a little overwhelming. It has 3 bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms. Our oldest nephew Rylan has come to stay with us for the school year (he’s 9, BTW), so it’s just the right size. I am very much looking forward to having our own bathroom, with a tub that’s not filled with squeaky toys. Yay!

Don’t worry, I’ll definitely be posting pictures as soon as we move in. Well, as soon as they hook up the Internet.

We are super excited to share our new home and adventures with you!

nopin

The Feeling of Health: Part 4

Last week I posted about sugar addiction.  If you haven’t read it yet, you should.  You may also want to check out Part 1 and Part 2.

This week is all about meat.  I’m not a big fan of meat, I haven’t been for a long time.  If you would have asked me two years ago if I could ever completely give up meat, the answer would have been “absolutely not!”  I loved bacon way too much.

The Scacchi House: Why I Limit Meat

After I began this clean eating journey, I started to notice how meat played into our daily meals.  My husband and I were both raised to think that we needed a big slab of steak on our plate, paired with a large helping of starch and maybe a small helping of a green vegetable.  THIS is where my meals were failing me.

I’m not saying that this is how everyone views meat or that you must follow this to perfection.  There are many people who eat clean on a daily basis who still eat meat.  And don’t get me wrong, I still eat meat on occasion.  I will explain.

If I center my meals around meat, I find myself falling back into old habits.  I do not want meat to be the center of my meal.  I want my meal to be centered around fresh veggies (and fruits) and whole grains.  I personally find this very difficult to do when meat is involved.

Eliminating (or drastically reducing) meat from my diet forces me to explore a broad range of vegetables.  I have also started experimenting with different whole grains.  (Have you tried bulgur?)

If you can’t completely give up meat, treat it more as a flavoring agent or a side dish.  Make a hearty vegetable soup with a very small amount of beef or chicken.  You will find that you are just as satisfied (if not more so) with the subtle flavor of beef, without having to eat a full on beef stew.

If you feel the need for a steak, have a 4oz steak, not a 16oz.  The key to eating clean is balance.  And while I don’t eat any meat the majority of the time, there are a few exceptions.  I will snag a slice of bacon (just a slice!) now and then.  I actually had a burger for dinner this week.  It was not just any burger. It was a mixture of wagyu beef and bison. Tony cooked it up for me here at the house.  I can’t tell you the last time I had a burger.  It was good, but I’ve had my fix for a while.

With my burger, I had a spinach and quinoa salad filled with veggies and topped with this dressing.  Again, it’s all about balance.

The second reason I’m not big into meat is because commercial meat is not raised in a way that I feel appropriate for my food (or any animal for that matter).  We should have more access to humanly raised, healthy (grass-fed and maybe organic) meats here soon.  (More about this in a bit.)

Another bonus reason to limit your meat consumption?  You will save money at the grocery store.  Who can complain about that?

Whether or not you choose to eat meat, explore your veggies.  Fruits and veggies are the key to health.  Have a diet full of both and you’ll surly succeed.

Next week we bridge into the fitness and exercise portion on this series!

If you missed any of the previous posts, here is Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

nopin