Sweet Berry Farms

This weekend we made a run for  hill country and headed to Sweet Berry Farms in Marble Falls. We actually got out of the house for 9:40AM, a house record (HR)! The drive was gorgeous and entertaining and took a little over an hour.  I enjoyed the conversation we had on the way up to the farm.  The Artist is my favorite person to talk to.

We got there around 11AM and were shocked to see the parking lot nearly full.  After being directed to a parking spot, we got out the car and walked up to the front of Sweet Berry Farms.  Everything is a la cart at Sweet Berry Farms, so whatever you want to do you pay for it separately. They use a cash or check only system so the place has a family friendly financial feeling too it, makes it more nostalgic.  Since Be Be is still young we opted to just do a few things like the corn maze, feeding the goats, and the berry jump.

Of course there were lots of photo opportunities.  I will apologize now that this post is a bit heavy on the photos, but look at the cuteness!

Eva Pumpkins 2015

Sweet Berry Farms 2015 Eva Pumpkins II

When we first got there we ate lunch at the picnic tables.  I showed enormous foresight and packed up some sandwiches, chips and snacks for the occasion.  I even remembered water for everyone, but forgot paper towels.   This was Be Be’s first time eating a sandwich (peanut butter and jelly) she ate about half of it so, I will call that a win.  Then we walked around and took some more photos of cuteness.  The grounds are really set up for photos and stand up cut out photo opportunities are everywhere.

Sweet Berry Farms 2015 Eva Cut Out

Daddy had to hold her up

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Cutest pumpkin ever

The Artist wanted to do the corn maze and kids 3 and under are free so we did that at $2.50 per person plus tax.  It was the children’s maze that we went through.  Apparently, there is also an adult maze that takes 45 min or longer to complete, it is called, the Texas maze.  But like I said  we went with the kids maze and it was quite challenging.  The kids maze was perfect for Be Be and she loved running around in the corn field telling us which way to go.

Sweet Berry Farms 2015 Eva Corn Maze

I know! shorts in Mid October.  Ah the Life!

After that Be Be wanted to do the Berry Bounce.  It is some sort of aired up trampoline that the kids bounce on.  It is pretty cool.  Be Be didn’t really jump, she sat down and got bounced and she loved it.

Sweet Berry Farms 2015 Eva Berry Bounce

When the worker called “Times up”  all of the children got off of the Berry Bounce…except mine.  She refused to come off and was out there all by herself where I called and called to her from the sidelines.  Finally, I realized I would have to go and get her so I made my way towards her.  As I started to walk across the Berry Bounce, she took off running and I had to chase her all over both Berry Bounces.  When I finally caught her, she was laughing so hard she was snorting.  It was hysterical!

On our way out of Sweet Berry Farms, we stopped off to feed the goats.  She loved having the goats lick her hands.  And I got to say, these were some very tame goats.

Sweet Berry Farms 2015 Eva Goats

On the way back to the car, Be Be fell in the dirt and skinned her elbow.  It made me sad to see her cry and be in pain.  We then headed home and talked in the car about making this a new fall family adventure.  It definitely was worth the drive out there.

Sweet Berry Farms 2015 Family Photo

Family Photo!

Sweet Berry Farms 2015 Eva Passed Out

Mission Accomplished!

Totals for the day:

Gas $10

Berry Bounce $2.50

Corn Maze $5.00

Goat Food $.25

Picnic Food $10

Total for the day $27.75

How about you?  Do you have any Fall Family traditions?  Ever been to a pumpkin patch? 

The Waco Zoo

On a lark, we decided to head out of town this morning…early, tossing caution and grocery shopping to the wind.  Errands BE DAMNED!!!!!By early I mean about 10:30; you know it is hard to get toddlers moving in the morning.  We headed North on I35 to the Waco Zoo with Be Be and some snacks.  It took about and hour and a half to drive from Austin to Waco.  There was construction half of the way which really sucked to drive through.

This past Mardi Gras, we took Be Be to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, at the time, she was about 2 years and 4 months old.  I am pretty sure that she remembers nothing of it save maybe the beautiful pink flamingos we saw at the entrance.  And that is only because we remind her about it, so I’m not really sure she she actually remembers it or we are just forcing the memory.

We listened to the audiobook : The Millionaire Next Door on the way up to Waco.  I’ll have to do a whole review on that one at another time. but the jest of it is that the richest percentage of American millionaires live frugally  (well below their means).   They never buy new cars, and a lot of them are entrepreneurs. More to come on this audiobook review later.  Anyway, then we stopped and had Chipotle for lunch which was a treat for us frugal people, but ended up not being worth it.  Our bowls were small, not how we had remembered Chipotle to be.  Boo!

When we got to the zoo it was $10 per person kids 3 and under free which is not what their web site said admission was.  The web site said $9 per person, child free.

 

Waco Zoo Entrance

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We walked through the gates and found the first two exhibits to be seemingly  empty or at least we could not locate the animals.  Going into it, my expectations for the Waco Zoo were not that high.  Then we turned a corner in the zoo and I saw some bald eagles.  I thought to myself “I don’t think I have ever seen a bald eagle before, our nation’s bird.” and right then and there I was impressed with the zoo.

After that we were put on a path that meandered around and around through a maze of animal habitats and exhibits.  Some of the highlights for me were:  of course the bald eagles, an anaconda, the giraffes, and a rhino.  I was really blown away by the size and the lay out of the zoo plus they had a large variety of animals.  The grounds were gorgeous and all of the exhibits were well thought out and had a natural flow.  For instance, the reptile exhibits was immersive.   You went into what felt to me were like caves and each habitat flowed into the next.  Each snake had its own little room.  There were also several bird aviaries and large spaces for the big cats to sun bathe in.

Waco Zoo Me and Eva

Watching Be Be was the best part of the zoo! Be Be loved the zoo!! She is about to turn 3 so it was right up her ally.  She ran from exhibit to exhibit saying “I want to see more animals!”   I thought she would be blown away by the size of the elephants, but she wasn’t.  When asked at the end of the day what was her favorite part of the zoo was?  She says “The monkey”.  And indeed he was impressive! He blew me away as well.  He laid in the glass window with his eyes facing out to the crowd, right at Be Be’s eye level.  His eyes were so telling and sad.  He looked so human and so frail in that moment.  Be Be said it was because he needed a friend.  Her words touched my heart.

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It was so wonderful to get out of town and enjoy some family time on such a beautiful day.  It was even more wonderful to create some family memories.

 

Waco Zoo the Artist and Eva

Totals for the day: $56.01

Gas $10

Admission $20

Lunch $22.00

Coffee way back (essential)$4.01

5 Things My 2 Year Old Has Retaught Me About Life

My daughter is about to turn 3 and I thought I would share some life lessons I have learned from her.  Some of them make me smile and some of them are just facts of living with a two/almost three year old.  Nevertheless, as she grows and learns each day, I grow and learn from her. Enjoy!

Stop and smell the roses:  Austin has tons of hiking trails that we like to enjoy on the weekends.  Whenever we go on a hike Be Be drags along behind us picking up every acorn, rock and stick she can find.  She stops to play in the dirt and water.  She points out every bug.  She also loves to point out the beautiful flowers along the way.  More often than not, I had not even noticed them when I had walked past them.  She makes me pause and I need that.

 

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Take your time eating/ Savor every bite:  The child can drag breakfast out into a two hour ordeal if I let her, but she enjoys it so much. She sings. She plays with her food.  She blows bubbles in her drink (gross I know). What I am saying is she can really enjoy herself at the table. She is very underweight for her age so I encourage  prolonged eating time because that means she is eating more food.  I watch her savor every bite (of the things she likes that is) and try new things as well.  I realized the other day that as an adult, I barely taste my food.  I am always in such a hurry that eating seems like another chore or item to cross off of my to do list.

 

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Nap time is a beautiful time:  Often nap time is the only time I have to do things I want to do, like write this blog post. About three weeks ago, Be Be decided to stop napping.  I still put her down for nap time, but she just lays there talking up a storm and playing with her stuffed animals.  Instead of napping until 3PM like she once did, she now sings and plays until 2:30 then starts yelling that she needs to go potty or starts to cry. I then have to stop what I am doing and go get her.  But today, she napped and it was a beautiful thing.  I got to work on this blog post.  I got to read a few blog posts and I even got to talk on the phone with a friend of mine, uninterrupted.  It was so, so, so nice.  I am going to miss nap time whenever it finally ends for good.  But for now it is nice.  It is my quiet time and as well as hers and I plan to fight the death of nap time as long as I can.

 

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Disappointment is really sucks:  I guess we all know this, but in a two year old, disappointment is even harder to stomach.  Think tantrums: unfathomable tantrums filled with screams and tears and the stomping of little feet.  As adults, we have sort of become immunized to it.  Disappointment happens to us so often all throughout our lives we have just gotten use to it.  Disappointments have become battle scars to us and we don’t REALLY  feel the sting of them anymore.  Yes, it sucks when it happens, but it isn’t like crushing your puppy kind of disappointment. Yet, for a two year old every disappointment is just as devastating as the last one.

 

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The party starts when you get there so, take your time:  These days trying to get out the door before 10AM is impossible.  Breakfast takes and hour or two (see above).  I’ve gotten pretty good at dressing her efficiently, but still getting out the door can take time.  Lately it has been about the potty.  We will be all set to go and she will inevitably tell me she has to go potty.  Which requires a full below the waist undressing, including shoes.  Shoes that I spent 15min trying to get on her feet in the first place.  Then of course its 10min on the potty followed by another 15 to 20 min of chasing her around trying to put her clothes and shoes back on.  It can take a lot of time and effort to get out of the door is all I’m saying.  All the while my brain is ticking with this invisible clock screaming “we are going to be late!”  But not to her.  To her it is simply a game.  Fun times of Mommy chasing her and watching Dinosaur Train while using the potty.  She doesn’t care about being late because to her the party starts when she gets there whenever that is.

 

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There is so much more I have learned from my little girl who is about to be 3, but these are just the highlights.  Everyday she grows and challenges me to see the world through the eyes of a child.

The Challenge Part I

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I gained a lot of weight when I was pregnant, but healthy baby weight is OK and comes with the territory.  After I had Be Be,  I breastfed and the weight just melted off of me and I very quickly I returned to my pre-baby jeans. Hooray! OK, so the bar was low.

Fast forward to nine months later when I left my job to become a SAHM, I wasn’t doing much working out (ok, none at all) and I was eating everything in sight.  I noticed the weight coming back on and before I knew it I weighed as much as I did when I was pregnant, I blame all those damn Goldfish lord knows I ate enough of those.

Actually, all of my weight is in my belly, a very dangerous place for women to carry extra weight because it can lead to heart disease.  My belly bulge makes me look like I am questionably pregnant.  I say questionably pregnant because people have actually asked me or referred to me as pregnant , making my belly weight dangerous for them as well.

A few weeks ago, in an online mommy group that I am in, someone posted a post titled “Want to lose weight with me?” At first it sounded like a gimmick for some diet pills or something someone was trying to sell,  then I read on. The writer of the post, a lady by the name of Anita, said she had a lot of ideas about how a group of us could come together, support each other and lose some weight.  Some of her ideas included: a financial bet, group exercise, a Facebook group,  using online tools such as myfitnesspal.com to track their eating and just friendly camaraderie.   So, I decided in about a 1/10th of a second to join the group; I actually think I might have been the first person to sign up for the challenge.

I have decided not to participate in the bet because they are betting more money than I am willing to put up, but I am going to try really hard else wise.  It is a 10 week challenge and I really think I can stick to it. I have never attempted to really diet before, so this will be new for me.  We are all using myfitnesspal.com to track our calories and I am planning on following this exercise plan I found on Pinterest, with a few modifications.  I also hope to get a cheap pedometer soon to track all of those extra steps I take while running after an almost 3yr old each day.

The working out is going to be really hard for me.  I really struggle with exercise. I just don’t know how to do it properly and I really don’t enjoy working out.  I have never gotten that “high” everyone talks about.  I mostly just feel exhausted when I am done and for the rest of the day.  I actually kind of envy people who get that boost of adrenaline that they feel for the rest of the day. I think they are faking the whole thing to make the rest of us feel lousy.  I digress, like I said, I mainly just feel tired after working out, but I am really going to try to change my mindset and hopefully my body will follow.

The challenge starts tomorrow (10/5/15) at least that is when the official weigh in is.  I weighed myself on the scale earlier tonight and I weigh 158 lbs.  I am starting tomorrow with watching my food but I won’t be starting my workout plan until Wednesday because I have a friend in town and we have a lot of plans that don’t include workouts of strict diets, but do include eating out and alcohol.  I have decided to start tracking my calories on Wednesday with the myfitnesspal.com app because we will be eating out and I have no idea how to track all of that.

So that is it!  The Challenge technically starts tomorrow, but I guess I need a few days to get use to the whole thing…so Wednesday it is then!  I will consider taking a “before” picture if I can get my friend to take a decent one using my crummy cell phone camera.  If I do then I will add it in later to this post.  Wish me luck!

 

Have you ever joined a weight loss support group before?  Did you bet money?  Did you win?  Any tips for a diet and exercise newbie?

Mommymatch.com?

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As a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM), we are obligated to have play dates for our little ones. And this is hard because you want your child to be matched up with the right child for you child. For example, you do not want your precious little one who is not a biter to be bitten by one who is. Or if your child is a go with the flow kind if kid, it isn’t good to put them with an overly structured kid.

As any SAHM knows, it is difficult to find not only a kid that gels with your kid, but a mom you actually don’t mind hanging out with.  Often you will find one, but not the other.

Even if you find a kid that doesn’t try to kill your kid and a mom that you don’t mind having a cup of coffee with the final frontier in the Trifecta is: Do your parenting styles jive?

Because if she is a helicopter mom and you just aren’t you are going to get fed up fast at the swing set holding her latte so she can hover close over little Janie.  Or if you are into attachment parenting and she is a spare the rod spoil the child  kind of mom, it just isn’t going to work.  You or her will feel judged.

That is why I have so many problems, I’m not any of those kinds of parents.  I am literally “flying by the seat of my pants trying to figure this whole thing out” kind of parent.  The parent with no plan.  Is there a group of other mommies like that out there? I know there are other ones out there like you, but I have no way of finding you.

I feel out of place with most moms because I don’t talk to my kid like they are a sensitive dog or carry around gluten free, vegan, taste free snacks.  I am just a mom who is just tying so hard to figure parenting out without being boxed into a category or having to read 10,000 + books on how to parent.  I’m going with my gut and I think it is working for me so far. I’m on the look out for others like my, but where are they?

All I’m saying is there has to be a better way of meeting like minded parents out there.  Let the crunchy mommas go be crunchy together.  And the Breast feeder’s Anonymous  go sit together.

Sometimes I think there should be a play date dating site just for SAHM and Dads so we can skip over all of this nicety and tip toeing.  Let’s skip the lies about  colds and fevers  in order to cancel the play date because you can’t stand the way little Nate makes your kid act for 3 days after said play date. We could call  it Mommymatch.com. Somebody please invent this! I would totally pay for that service and I think their mom’s would too.

What about you?  Would you subscribe to Mommymatch.com if there was such a thing?

Why I Write

 

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One of my favorite bloggers, The Bloggess, recently wrote an article entitled: “The Answer to the Question “Is Blogging Dead?” “ and it really struck a chord with me, not only for her abundant use of the word butthole, but also because of the way she writes about writing.  It is with a passion and a furiousness.

She goes on to say that writers write because they have to write.  I watch the artist in the same way.  He paints because he has to paint.  It is in him and he must get it out.

I quit writing a long time ago because someone had some negative things to say about what I wrote.  I remember she called it “less than fresh”.  It hurt so bad that I quit my first blog and I had worked very hard on it.  It was my baby.  I also quit because I have a spelling deficiency.  I spell some of the same words wrong all the time.  I also spell really easy words incorrectly and have no problem with really hard words, it is weird.  But having this spelling deficiency, as I like to call it, has really messed with my confidence.

But as time went on, I got the itch again.  I did not know what I was going to write about, but I needed to write. I couldn’t get the itch out of my head.  I sent really long thank you letters.  I wrote in my journal.  I fantasized about writing.  I read articles about writing. I dreamed about writing.

Finally, I came back and started a whole new blog, one that I could be proud of again.  It isn’t perfect.  I wish I had pictures and other fancy plug ins, but it is me and I am proud to put my name on it and call it mine.  It is my work in progress, misspelling’s and all.

In short, I too write because I must write.  It is a passion within me, a flame, a burning desire to let loose on the page, no matter where my thoughts take me. No matter how much I try to deny this passion within me. Yes, I filter some, but I hope that you can see the real me who is just a person  trying to get her soul out and share it with whomever wants to read this.

When You Lose a Momma

 

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Since I have been a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM), I’ve made a few mom friends.  One of my favorite new mom friends  I met at Storytime has  a little girl around my daughter’s age (2 3/4).  We have become good friends and enjoy an occasional play date.  Sometime we go swimming, or hiking when the weather is palatable. We’ve been to the Children’s Museum and the climbing gym and other places like that.  Its fun to see the girls grow a friendship and to have another mother to chat with about mom things.

Last week at Storytime,  my new friend announced that she landed a full time job and will be going back to work in two weeks.  I am happy that she got the job she wanted, but sad over the loss of friendship that we have and that our children have begun to grow.  Our girls will quickly forget each other for they forget things fast at this age, but I won’t forget my friend and I am sad.  I am sad because I am losing my tribe of stay at home mommas;  I’ve already lost some others to the working world.  My tribe has become very small now and it makes me feel very alone.

She mentioned something about a Saturday play date, but I know how it is on the weekends; I haven’t forgotten from when I was a working mom. The weekends are all that you have got when you are a working mom.  All the time you have to go grocery shopping and clean the house and plan for the next week.  Weekends are all the time you have to share with your kids and husband.  When you work you have to cram all of that into just two short exhausting days and friends tend to fall by the wayside.

I am sad my daughter has lost her friend. It is harder than you think to make friends for 2 year olds.  Just because kids are the same age that doesn’t make them the same speed.   And just because they are the same age doesn’t make them necessarily compatible if they are at different stages in development.

Truth be told this has also stirred up feelings and thoughts of my own time ending as a SAHM.  I know the day is coming soon and I too will have to leave my child in the hands of daycare workers and head back to the working woman’s world of long days and short weekends.  Days when I see my child very little and spend more time with  co-workers than my own family.  I will have to go back to professional attire and wearing a bra all day.

I am just sad to lose a fellow SAHM and friend and I guess it is making me examine my own mortality as a SAHM.  What will the next chapter of my life be like?  What will BB and I do all week long with no play dates?  Who will I commiserate with about mom stuff?

What about you?  Have you ever lost a momma friend?  What did you do to cheer yourself up?

DAY 1

Today, I started my blog so I am also going to chronicle my weight loss journey as well.

Starting weight: 158lbs (Pictures coming soon, camera is broken)

Goal Weight: 135lbs (pre baby weight)

Activity:  Aside from general housework, I also walked the neighborhood while pushing a stroller for 39 min.  Not bad

Tomorrow, I will start counting calories using My Fitness Pal App on my phone, which concerns me as I am not crazy about how logging how much I eat.  Cajuns eat a lot of rice and beans.

Update:  I haven’t started counting my calories….yet.  Who wants to do that?

Hello world!

Welcome to my corner of the blogosphere! I hope that you like it here and find it interesting.  I am a Cajun girl uprooted to Austin, Texas.  Aside from being a proud Cajun (hence the GEAUX) I am a wife and mother.  My husband has a day job but is also an artist and my daughter (BB) is an active 2.5 year old girl. I am a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM) and we live very modestly on a tight budget with a very frugal lifestyle and common goals.  I am also trying to drop some pounds that I have gained during my stint as a stay as a SAHM and hope to use this as an accountability partner.  This blog is about being a Cajun SAHM,  living an active and healthy lifestyle on a budget while trying to find some extra income.  Ideas are welcome.

Living Large With Less