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Fall in love with exercise… even if you don’t have a fit bone in your body!

For 15 days, we’re exploring the topic of making our health and well-being a priority as part of the 15 Days to a Healthier You series. You can read Day 1 hereDay 2 here, Day 3 here, Day 4 hereDay 5 here, Day 6 here, Day 7 hereDay 8 here, Day 9 here, Day 10 here, and Day 11 here

Exercise is often one of the thing that tends to get pushed to the back burner when schedules are busy, but starting the day with a little exercise is one of the best ways to wake you up and make you feel energized for the rest of the day.

If you’re dragging along and feeling like you’re lacking energy and enthusiasm for life, exercise just might be the best antidote.

How to fall in love with exercise... even if you don't have a fit bone in your body!

Exercise is one of those things that you’ll likely never regret doing. Instead of making excuses as to why you can’t find time to exercise, change your mindset and start thinking of ways to you can fit some exercise into your morning — or somewhere in your day!

Your health is worth the sacrifice of a little time, sweat, and effort. And the trickle down benefits you’ll experience the rest of the day — in having more energy, feeling more encouraged, and feeling stronger — will make it all the more worthwhile.

If you struggle to regularly exercise, here are some practical ideas and suggestions — none of which require you to hire a personal trainer, invest a lot of money in workout equipment, or buy a gym membership!

1. Check Out a DVD From the Library

If you can’t afford to pay for a gym membership or a trainer, check out the workout DVD selection at your local library. Typically, they have quite a large variety to choose from.

Some of my favorites are by Jillian Michaels (more intense workouts) and Leslie Sansone (these are great for beginners or those looking for low impact exercise).

I’ve found exercise DVDs are a great way to mix things up — especially if my current routine seems like it’s becoming a bit mundane. And it’s a lot less inhibiting (especially as an introvert!) to work out in your basement or living room, rather than in a group of people at a class at the gym! 🙂

Free Workout Videos Online

2. Watch Exercise Videos Online

Can’t make it to the library? The internet is goldmine of exercising videos and resources. Here are some links to get you started:

How to fall in love with exercise... even if you don't have a fit bone in your body!

3. Experiment With New Things

If you don’t enjoy exercising, there’s a good chance it’s because you’ve not yet tried enough different kinds of exercise options to find one that works best for you.

Exercise doesn’t have to mean going to the gym and sweating it out on the treadmill. It could be a walk at the park with your friend, or playing basketball with your son, or swimming together as a family at the neighborhood pool, or taking a family bike ride, or walking around the mall with your husband.

There’s pretty much something out there for everyone, so keep trying things until you land upon something you love. I’ve done exercise DVDs, running, walking, bike riding, the elliptical, and this year tried my hand at rock-climbing, snow-boarding, knee-boarding, and fell in love with weight-lifting.

I didn’t know that I’d fall in love with weight-lifting. Honestly, I thought I would hate it. But I made myself go out and start doing it every day and committed to stick with it for a few weeks.

At the end of a few weeks, I realized that it wasn’t the torture it once was. Instead, there was a little part of me that was enjoying it — much to my shock. And the more I’ve done it, the more I’ve fallen in love with it!

Remember That Something is Better Than Nothing

If you only have five minutes in the morning to exercise, then exercise for five minutes. Sure, you’re probably not going to get the benefits of a 45-minute workout in five minutes, but you can definitely work up a little sweat and get your heart pumping with a short and intense workout.

Do what you can do with the time you have. Something is always better than nothing when it comes to exercise.

How to fall in love with exercise... when you don't have a fit bone in your body.

4. Find a Workout Partner

Teaming up with someone else can be a great way to be more successful when it comes to fitness. Why? Because it’s amazing how much it will motivate you to actually follow through with your plan when you know someone else is going to show up and hold you accountable!

Find someone to meet you for a morning jog, to come over and do that exercise DVD with you multiple times per week, or ask who will text or email you and see if you followed through with the goals you set for exercise each day. There are also many different online accountability forums and Facebook groups (or you could start your own!) for whatever exercise program or regimen you want to do.

I’m currently working out with my husband and a good friend every week day using a pretty intense workout plan Jesse put together based on the book Thinner, Leaner, Stronger. We work out every week day at 5 a.m. There’s incredible accountability to get up and get out of bed when you know that someone is showing up at your house at 5 a.m. to work out!

While the workouts are kicking my tail and I sometimes have a bad attitude because they are hard, I’m now at the stage where I’m all, “Bring it on!” Why? Because I have SO much more energy, feel so much better, and am already seeing some real, legit muscles in places where I’ve never seen them before. Plus, if I take a few days off, I can tell a difference — I feel more sluggish and unmotivated and I don’t sleep as well.

The best part is that my husband absolutely LOVES that I’ve become one of his workout partners. Our workouts in our garage “gym” every day have become one of our very favorite parts of the day! We cheer each other on, we sometimes tease each other, we have deep conversations while we’re resting between sets, we laugh, we process through hard things in our lives.

How to fall in love with exercise... even if you don't have a fit bone in your body!

5. Set Small Goals

A lot of people want to lose weight or run a marathon, but wanting to do something won’t get you anywhere. You have to actually set a goal and break it down into bite-sized, realistic pieces if you want to be successful.

What are your fitness goals? What tiny steps can you can take this week to help you get where you want to be in six months from now?

If you’ve never exercised before, don’t expect that you’ll be running five miles in a few weeks. Start slowly, set small goals, and focus on the progress you’re making (even if it seems tiny) instead of being discouraged by the fact that you’re not where you want to be.

You’d rather slowly build up your endurance and stamina then to try to do much more than you’re capable of and end up burning yourself out before the first week of exercise is over with.

Tip: What motivates you? Plan some rewards for when you hit your goals. Maybe you decide to put a quarter in a jar every time you exercise for 25 minutes and then you can use this money on a little special treat (coffee at the coffee shop, a used book from Amazon, etc.) every few weeks.

 

How to fall in love with exercise... even if you don't have a fit bone in your body

6. Track Your Progress

Don’t just think about the goals in your head; actually put them on paper (or on an app!) and then track your progress.

Each week, keeping a log of the workouts you do, how much time you worked out for, or how many miles you ran. This will inspire you to keep going, will encourage you as you see yourself growing stronger and building endurance.

There are many different online sites to help you track your progress such as: MyFitnessPal, SparkPeople, or Nike+. All of these have cool features that make logging your exercise time more rewarding.

I got a Jawbone UP3 earlier this year and it has literally made SUCH an impact on my life. I realized within a few days that I was getting a lot less sleep and was a lot more sedentary than I realized. The band has inspired and motivated me to make sleep and exercise a much higher priority.

It’s amazing how motivating the act of setting goals, breaking them down into small pieces, and then tracking your progress can be. You can do this — one step at a time!

How to fall in love with exercise... even if you don't have a fit bone in your body!

Day 12 Project

1. Choose one type of exercise or exercise regimen that you are going to commit to doing for the next two weeks.

2. Tell someone you’ve made this commitment — or post it in the comments here or on Facebook or other social media space.

3. Ask someone to keep you accountable to stick with your plan. Make sure you tell them what you are planning to do and when you are planning to do it.

4. Track your progress and check in with your accountability partner regularly. You can do this!!

Looking for some more practical help?

This Week’s $52 ALDI Grocery Shopping Trip

This Week's $52 Grocery Shopping Trip

We went to ALDI on Sunday night and spent $52 total. Because I’ve been buying extra deals here and there over the last few weeks, we had more to work with this week and I didn’t need to spend as much this week — which was great!

Note: If you missed my post on Why I’m Back to Grocery Shopping, Menu-Planning, and Freezer Cooking, be sure to read it here.

Our Grocery Budget

We currently budget $125 per week for groceries for our family of 5. This does not include eating out once a week (we budget separately for that).

We also get some of our expensive groceries and personal products (such as makeup) via Amazon using credit earned from Swagbucks + we get the majority of our household products (cleaners, toothpaste,detergent, etc.) via credit earned from Grove.

I only spent $52 this week, which leaves me lots of wiggle room to buy more markdowns at Kroger if I have time to swing by there later this week to see if they have some great markdowns. If I don’t have time or they don’t have good markdowns, I’ll roll over the extra $$ to next week.

This Week's $52 Grocery Shopping Trip

This time around, our whole family went to ALDI together because we had a Community Group lunch right after church and it was held close to ALDI.

So, you might see a few extra things in my grocery purchases that I wouldn’t normally splurge on (hello, Goldfish crackers and fresh salsa!), but that I was happy to buy since everyone was willing to go to the grocery store with me and because we had quite a bit of extra wiggle room in the budget this week.

Here’s what we bought:

  • Tortilla Chips — $1.19
  • Freezer Bags — $1.99
  • Baby Lettuce — $1.99
  • 3 Macaroni & Cheese — $0.33 per box
  • 3 Cucumbers — $0.25 each
  • Feta Cheese — $1.79
  • Bag of Red Grapes — $1.58
  • 2 bags of String Cheese — $1.99 per bag
  • Crispy Oats Cereal — $1.19
  • Triple Chocolate Cake (purchased for an event we were heading to right after the shopping trip!) — $2.99
  • Fresh Salsa — $2.49
  • Milk — $2.39
  • Goldfish Crackers — $1.85
  • Pretzel Sticks — $1.29
  • 3 bags Baby Carrots — $0.49 per bag
  • Cinnamon Crunch Cereal — $1.29
  • 2 bags of bananas — $0.44/lb. — $1.95
  • Butter — $2.49
  • Dried Cranberries — $1.29
  • Honey Nut Oats Cereal — $1.19
  • Blueberries — $1.49 (got a $0.25 rebate back from Checkout 51)
  • 2 dozen eggs — $0.49 per dozen
  • 1 bag of apples — $2.99
  • Cottage Cheese — $1.99
  • Cantaloupe — $0.99
  • 24-pack of Purified Water — $1.99
  • Gallon Water — $0.79

Total with tax — $52.86 (Plus, I uploaded my receipt to Yaarlo & earned a little cashback for doing so. If you haven’t signed up with Yaarlo, use my coupon code MONEYSAVINGMOM when you sign up to earn more.)

This Week's $52 Grocery Shopping Trip

This Week’s Menu Plan

Interested in what we’re eating this week? You can see our menu plan for this week here. I plan our menu based upon what we already have on hand, so I didn’t have to buy every single item needed to make everything on our menu.

How to Be a Meal-Planning Mama

Struggling with menu planning? Check out this post on How to Be a Meal Planning Mama.

This Week’s Menu Plan (+ fitting in real meals around a full schedule)

This Week's Menu Plan

We are sticking with a really simple meal plan this week — and 4 of the meals are coming from Blue Apron because I did a live unboxing video review for them on Facebook and they sent me some extra boxes to prep for that.

This week is our first week where we have school + swimming for Kathrynne 4 days per week, baseball for Silas on 2 days, and skating for Kaitlynn 4 days per week. We’ve been slowing easing into the routine of school + being in downtown Nashville for skating four afternoons per week, so adding on baseball and swimming in downtown Nashville four evenings per week should go okay.

Kathrynne is still undecided whether she wants to continue on with swim team during the school year since it’s a lot of extra hours in addition to her school load. Swim team practices are downtown Nashville and don’t get done until 7:30 p.m. and then there’s a 30-45 minute drive back home, depending upon traffic.

She loves swimming but we don’t want her to be too tired to really apply herself in school and we also want her to have some breathing room in her daily schedule, too. So we’re letting her make the ultimate call, but we’re testing the waters this week to see how it feels and if it’s too much or not.

Jesse and I both love how much character and confidence having a sport that you really apply yourself to breeds, but we also want to be wise and not overwhelm our kids or keep their schedules too full. So we’ll see how it all shakes out after we try it this week.

We’re planning to prep all our dinners ahead — with Jesse taking care of the 4 Blue Apron meals and I’ll be in charge of the other 3 dinners — so that there is good food ready to eat on busy nights.

Breakfasts

Breakfasts are a big deal at our house. Not necessarily because of what we eat, but because this is the one meal we’ve committed to eat together around the table pretty much every single day.

Dinners are often somewhat grab and go or brown bagged — especially on the 3 nights a week the girls have swimming and skating. But breakfast, it’s a given. We eat, we talk, we read together, we pray together, and we linger around the table. It’s been a beautiful addition to our schedule + a great way to start the day!

Choose from:

Lunches & Snacks

We’re trying something for lunches during the school year. Our extra refrigerator is 100% devoted to lunch items.

We’re making up a big batch of freezer-friendly PB&J on the weekends and, in addition, I’ll have 4 different bins of items that the kids can choose one from — cheese sticks, snack packs, veggies, fruit, applesauce, chips, cookies, etc.

Each bin has something different so that when they choose one item from each, they’ll have a well-rounded lunch.

Kathrynne helped me set this up and she took the initiative to write a board with details on how to put together the lunches. So far, I have literally done NOTHING for lunch prep other than help set the system up and make sure we had the items on hand for Kathrynne to get everything into baggies in the extra refrigerator.

And then the kids have been entirely in charge of each making their own lunch every night. I haven’t had to remind anyone and no one has yet to forget their lunch. I know we’re only two weeks in, but I’m pretty excited at how well this has worked so far — especially because the kids seem to be loving it!

Jesse and I are in charge of our own lunches and I’m going to have items on hand to choose from: fried eggs, toast, chips & salsa, yogurt, refried beans & cheese, salads, fruits, veggies, and/or leftovers.

Snacks: Blueberry Coconut CrispChocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars

unnamed (46)Dinners

We’re planning to prep all our dinners ahead — with Jesse taking care of the 4 Blue Apron meals and I’ll be in charge of the other 3 dinners — so that there is good food ready to eat on busy nights.

Freezer Cooking

I’m doing a Freezer Cooking session on Thursday where I’m combining dinner prep with freezer cooking. This means that I’ll really only have to bake/cook one day this week. I’ll be making Blueberry Coconut Crisp, Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars, and Pumpkin French Toast. Look for more details on how that goes later this week!

Because of the Blue Apron meals and because we’ve been buying items ahead of time when they are on sale, we only spent about $52 on groceries this week from ALDI. Look for my post tomorrow with full details on what all we bought and how much we paid for everything!

What’s on YOUR menu plan this week? Share the link to it in the comments or tell us what you’re most excited about cooking!

Related Menu-Planning Posts:

3 Recipes I Made Recently Using What We Had on Hand
Last Week’s Menu Plan
Last Week’s Freezer Cooking Session
Why I’m Back to Menu-Planning, Grocery Shopping, and Freezer Cooking
Why We Stopped Making Family Dinners a Priority
YEARS of Past Menu Plans We’ve Shared Here
6 Ways We’re Keeping Our Grocery Budget Low
Why We More Than Doubled Our Grocery Bill

5 Things I’m Loving This Week (+ a little update on us)

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

1. Blueberry Crisp

This is my favorite Blueberry Crisp recipe. And yes, I made a personal-sized pan of it this week and ate the whole thing almost all myself.

I not only ate it for snack, I also ate it for breakfast. It has oats and blueberries, so it’s basically oatmeal, right?? 😉

If you’re interested, you can watch this video I did here where I make it live and swoon over how much I love it.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

2. Nail Art by Kaitlynn

Kaitlynn (my 9-year-old) has been obsessed with nail art videos on YouTube and she’s been trying out different designs on anyone willing to be a guinea pig.

She did this design for me today. She also encouraged me to “work on growing my nails out longer” so she could try more designs on me. I’m working on that whole nail-biting thing, so here’s more motivation to continue to break that habit!

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

3.  My Little “Business Man”

He got his first real suit for Presentation Days at school this year… and he rocked it. 🙂 Once he was all dressed up, he came into the room and said, “Mom, let’s talk business!”

I just about busted up. This kid. There are no words for him. He has so much life and spunk and you just never know what’s going to come out of his mouth next.

I’m so glad that he’s not so grown up that he’s grown out of snuggling with Mom, though. Just about every morning and every night, he asks if we can snuggle together — and I’m more than happy to oblige!

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

4. These Three Kids

I’m SO proud of these kids and the maturity they’ve shown the last two weeks in stepping out of their comfort zones and experiencing a lot of firsts and new things.

I know I’m biased and all that, but I really am so impressed with them and how they’ve faced their fears, adjusted to a brand-new schedule, and had (for the most part) great attitudes and resilient spirits, in spite of their inhibitions.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

I’m seeing so many new character traits blossoming, so many new sides of them come out, and we’re having so many wonderful conversations together. I think we’re all growing together as a family and I’m humbled and grateful.

God is so good to lead us and I’m grateful to see His hand in this new chapter of our lives. (And thank you to the many of you who are praying for us! You have no idea how much it means!)

Screenshot 2016-08-27 19.04.56

5. Kaitlynn’s Skating Competition

Today was Kaitlynn’s second time to perform this Showcase Program in competition. I love to see how her confidence as a skater continues to grow (watch a video clip of her performance here).

This was her first competition where there were no tears, she didn’t get stressed about the experience, and she was able to go out and just have fun competing/performing!

That is a huge accomplishment for her — especially since this was her first competition to compete at the No Test level (she just moved up from High Beginner). I’m so proud of this girl and can’t wait to see how God uses her gifts and talents in the future!

What are YOU loving this week? Tell us in the comments!

An open letter to ALDI

An Open Letter to ALDI

Dear ALDI,

I tried to break up with you, but I just couldn’t.

When I step into your doors I’m instantly taken back to the lean law school years when your low prices allowed us to survive on a tiny, tiny grocery budget. You’ve saved us thousands of dollars over the last 13 1/2 years.

And even though I could afford to pay fancier grocery store prices now, you continue to woo me with how you simplify my life and keep our grocery budget low.

Thank you for not offering 27 different kinds of ketchup. Or 56 types of salad dressing. Or 14 variations of Cheerios.

Thank you for not being all flashy and slick. Stay humble, small, and inexpensive. I like you best that way.

You rock.

Sincerely,
Your lifelong BFF and not-so-secret admirer

Do you want to take better control of your grocery budget? If so, you’ll want to read my newest eBook, 5 Days to a Better Grocery Budget!

This eBook will give you all the tips, tricks, and practical advice you need to create a grocery budget tailored to your family’s needs that you can actually STICK to (because that’s the key!)

In this eBook, you’ll learn:

  1. How to create a grocery budget that fits your family’s needs and your finances!
  2. New systems to help you keep track of what you spend at the store!
  3. How to actually stick with your new budget and save money for years to come!
  4. Ways to save up to $50 off your grocery bill THIS WEEK by using the 10 simple strategies outlined in this eBook!

Read to get started? Just use the form below to sign up!

Need to overhaul your grocery budget?
I want to help! Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to my new eBook, 5 Days to a Better Grocery Budget. Sign up now!
I want to help! Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to my new eBook, 5 Days to a Better Grocery Budget. Sign up now!


5 Ways to Save During Infertility

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 8.13.11 PM

Guest post from Liv of LivRyan.com

Financial stress is one thing — infertility on top of it is a beast of its own! Your stress levels are forces to be reckoned with. Trust me, I know.

My husband and I went through three years of waiting for a child. We lost six babies through miscarriage and another through a failed adoption before we finally became parents of children on earth.

I remember the medical bills pouring in. I remember heading to see the Reproductive Endocrinologist for the first time and thinking, “I wonder what this is going to cost.”

You can’t put a price tag on a baby, but infertility is quite the expensive road to travel.

If you can relate, or if you are in the beginning stages of infertility, I’ve put together some ideas to help alleviate some financial burdens that come along with infertility, adoption, and miscarriages.

1. Buy CHEAP Pregnancy Tests and OPKs (Ovulation Predictor Kits)

Early Pregnancy Tests has the cheapest tests around. They can be as low as $0.50 each, depending on how many you purchase. (Amazon also offers a number of different options for inexpensive pregnancy tests like these, these, or these.

If you need one on the fly, the dollar store is your friend. Their $1 tests are often behind the counter, so you might need to ask for them. They are the type of tests that you have to pee in a tiny cup and dip the stick in, but it’s worth it if you are a compulsive pregnancy test taker. (No shame!)

Bonus Tip: Stay away from blue dye tests. You will waste your money because they have evaporation lines that make you think you’re pregnant so then you will end up taking more tests!

2. Get Free Help and Ultrasounds When You Can

Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers (sometimes called Women’s Choice Center or Pregnancy Resource Centers) offer pregnancy tests and ultrasounds free of charge at any point for any reason.

Bonus Tip: If you are prone to loss or tend to get overly stressed about your baby, ultrasounds can offer so much peace of mind. These facilities are usually highly equipped as grief counselors, too; just in case you ever received bad news. They will sit with you and pray with you and love you well through the pain.

3. Apply for Grants

There are so many resources and grants that support families who are facing the financial stresses of infertility treatment or adoption.

4. Don’t be Afraid to Fundraise

It takes some courage, but don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. People want to help people! Consider writing letters to friends and family, selling things, or hosting your own a fundraiser.

Kevin and I put on a “Fun Family Fitness Morning” with a $10 entry fee. All food and silent auction items were donated, and so was the zumba instruction! Additionally we sold T-shirts and made over $1,500 in one morning!

We also held a fundraising garage sale. Not only did people donate items to sell, but when some shoppers learned that our garage sale was an adoption fundraiser, they donated extra money.

Go Fund Me is another awesome website you can use to raise money for any cause.

5. Budget and Save and Trust God to Provide

It can be tempting to put treatments on credit cards, but with some smart budgeting, fundraising, and intentionality, you will be able to save up for those infertility treatments in no time.

I know you are weary, sister. But don’t give up! You can and will survive this desert season. Don’t stop fighting for your marriage. Take it one step at a time. And don’t give up!

If you need some hope, don’t worry, I have plenty to share.

bearing hope

Liv is a Midwest gal who loves to inspire women to bear hope into the world. She is a writer, speaker, wifey, mommy, and lover of all things coffee. She survived the desert of waiting once upon a thirsty time, and lives to tell you that you will too! Her new book Bearing Hope: Navigating the Desert of Waiting for a Child was just released August 1st, 2016! It’s an inspirational companion, a “Desert Sherpa” of sorts that will make you smile, lend you courage and hope, and give you practical ways to survive (and thrive) through infertility and loss. You can get a free chapter right here.