Tuesday, January 24, 2017

My New Meal Planning System


For those of you who know me, you know I have been through multiple iterations of figuring out the meal planning approach for my life. My last iteration was amazing for our family, until I stopped going to the grocery store and started using Instacart. Instacart is a godsend for us, given where we are in our lives right now. I actually spend less money (I guess because I'm not tempted by things that aren't on our list). 

My online meal planning system was kind of annoying because it meant that I had to go back and forth between tabs. It also meant that I no longer needed to organize my list by aisle of the grocery store. 

So instead, I now input my recipes into my Instacart account, using the "List" feature. I still keep the actual recipe in a binder (I hate cooking off of my phone or iPad, which constantly turns off), so I only input the ingredients. When I need to select meals for the week, I click on which meals we want and then select "Add All." All of the ingredients are automatically added to my cart. I also have a "Standard" list for our regular ingredients. Now meal planning and food ordering are completely integrated. Voila!

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JOIN US! Registration is now open for the next Purposeful Parenthood course, which starts on February 6Register today! We'd love to have you join us!



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Monday, January 23, 2017

Join Us for Purposeful Parenthood!



The Purposeful Parenthood course starts soon! 

Are you striving to be the best possible parent that you can be? Would you benefit from asking and answering questions about what it means to be the kind of family you want to be while also practicing self-forgiveness and letting go of impossible and unhealthy expectations? Welcome to Purposeful Parenthood.

The Purposeful Parenthood Course is simply a space to step back from the day-to-day demands of parenting and reflect on the bigger questions of parenthood within a community of equally intentional and purposeful individuals.

Over the course of four weeks (starting February 6), we will explore four different themes: Vision, Space, Time, and Connection. At the start of the week, you will receive instructions about the Purposeful Parenthood Challenge for that week. For example, the challenge for the first week is to create a Family Mission Statement. The second week we will be selecting an area of our home to update in a family-friendly way. The third week we will be thinking about our ideal schedules and the kinds of rituals we want to incorporate into our lives. Finally, we will be focusing on our partnerships and how to strengthen them in ways that build a strong foundation for our families.

Each day, a new lesson will be uploaded that relates to completing the challenge for the week. Daily lessons include experiences like reflection prompts, templates to help you tease out your thoughts, inspiration, etc. You can connect with others in the online community forum on a daily basis for support, to share ideas, or to ask questions. The following Monday, we will share the results of our challenges from the previous week via the online community. On Tuesday, we will begin the process again for the new week's challenge. 

The idea is simple: raising children is both an overwhelming joy and a life-changing commitment. When we approach parenting with purpose, we take steps toward reaching our fullest potential as a family.

As a participant in the course, you'll receive information, tips, reflection exercises and prompts, inspiration, and a community of like-minded kindred spirits who are on a journey similar to your own.

Interested in learning more? Visit the Course Overview or About the Author. Spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis! The total cost is $99 USD. Register Now!



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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

DIY: Oversized Desk


Matt and I have finally consolidated Henry and Tate into one room (more about that on another day). It now means we have a bonafide office and guest room! 

We wanted an extra long desk to accommodate both of us. Here's how we did it:

We ordered:
It actually worked out! Yes, I say that with a bit of surprise. We had trouble finding examples of this on Pinterest. I was looking for a step-by-step of which countertop to buy and which filing cabinets to use. I can usually find any project on Pinterest, but I couldn't find exactly what we wanted to do (I'm sure it's there--I just couldn't find it). 


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JOIN US!: Registration is now open for the next Purposeful Conception Course: Preparing Your Mind, Body, and Life for Pregnancy, which starts on January 16Register today! We'd love to have you join us!



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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

MTHFR Genetic Testing


On our journey to help our oldest son strengthen his self-regulation and impulse control, we met with a psychiatrist so she could test him for a genetic mutation that makes it difficult for the body to process folic acid. The gene is called MTHFR. If there's a mutation, the body's production of key hormones (like serotonin and dopamine) can be affected and can lead to anxiety, depression, ADHD symptoms, etc. 

She explained that Europe and Canada have been testing for this mutation for a lot longer than the U.S. (no surprise there), but that it was recently added to the list of genetic tests that get done at birth in the U.S. If there's a slight mutation, the treatment can be as simple as a prescription for extra folate. 

I was shocked to hear that there's potentially a biological reason for anxiety/depression/ADHD that is so easily addressed. I feel like I want to shout this information from the rooftops! The issue is genetic, so it's especially important for people to get tested if their families have any of these kinds of issues. Our family tree includes depression and addiction, so this issue is very relevant for us. 

The test was a simple finger prick, and the results will come back in a couple of weeks. I'll keep you updated about what we find out! 



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Monday, January 16, 2017

Building an Anti-Bias, Anti-Racist World


We have so much work to do to build a world that values and appreciates everyone, regardless of their differences.

On a day designated to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I want to also honor the countless other individuals who have demonstrated awe-inspiring courage and integrity to fight for a world where there is liberty, justice, and joy for all.  

A few ideas for all of us as we undertake this work together:
  1. I love the Racing Race Conscious Children website. It includes amazing resources, such as a list of 100 Race-Conscious Things You Can Say to Children to Advance Racial Justice
  2. Walking with the Wind by John Lewis is one of my top-three favorite books of all time. It's such an intimate portrayal of Lewis's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. 
  3. This website has a lot of implicit bias tests. I especially find the Race IAT interesting. 
My family and I will be heading to the MLK March in Austin. You can find us on Instagram if you want more up-to-date photos: @saracotner and @mattyrunrun.



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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Food Sensitivity Update: Oy!


So, it looks like we've got quite a lot of food sensitivities around here. I took Henry (age 5) and Tate (age 3) to the Wellness Clinic at People's Pharmacy to be tested. I wanted to test Henry because he has issues with self-regulation and calming, and I wanted to get Tate tested because he has eczema on his arms and face, and I didn't want to start applying steroid cream like his pediatrician recommended. 

It turns out that the test revealed food sensitivities that might be connected to the issues they are having. Henry needs to eliminate eggs, gluten, peanuts, and pineapple. A sensitivity to gluten in particular is very connected to the issues Henry is having. He needs to minimize dairy and soy.

Tate needs to eliminate citrus, milk/whey, and pineapples. He needs to minimize dairy (especially cheese), gluten, soy, and peanuts. The milk is most likely connected to his eczema. 

I'm not going to lie about the fact that these recommendations cause me heart palpitations, especially given the struggles I've been having to put meals on our table. Not to mention breakfast, snacks, and lunch! 

I honestly don't think I can remain a vegetarian in a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free house. I've been a vegetarian for 16 years primarily because there was very little ethical production of meat happening 16 years ago. Now I still don't eat ethical meat because of its impact on the environment. 

I get teary-eyed thinking about the things that we should eliminate from our lives that have brought us much joy: donuts from our favorite neighborhood shop, milkshakes from various places all over Austin, Amy's Ice Cream, queso, homemade wheat bread from my favorite recipe, and veggie burgers with soft buns.

I kind of want to get Matt and me tested, but I also kind of don't want to know. 

Having a sensitivity doesn't mean we can't have it at all; but we should completely eliminate these things while Tate is trying to heal his eczema and Henry is trying to restore his gut, which is estimated to take 8-12 months. 

This is definitely a relatively small program in the scheme of the world's problems, but it's still making my heart a little sad right now. 

Photo courtesy of Hank + Tank Photography (it's Matt!)


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JOIN US!: Registration is now open for the next Purposeful Conception Course: Preparing Your Mind, Body, and Life for Pregnancy, which starts on January 16Register today! We'd love to have you join us!





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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I Heart the Elfa Closet System


I've been a huge fan of the Container Store Elfa closet system for three years now. We splurged on it when we first moved into the house, taking advantage of their 30% of sale. Our house is 1,800 square feet for a family of four without a garage, so we try to maximize our space however and whenever we can. This closet system helps us use all the available area. 

I renewed my vows with the Elfa system this year when we consolidated Henry and Tate into the same room. The system is completely interchangeable, so we were able to reconfigure our closets to align with our current needs. It was amazing! We moved shelves up, down, and over, and we even moved one of the clothes rods from Tate's old room into his new room (along with one of the sliding drawers that comes with the system). It's so versatile, strong, and easy to use. 

I promise I'm not making any money off of this post--I just love this system and highly recommend it!


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JOIN US!: Registration is now open for the next Purposeful Conception Course: Preparing Your Mind, Body, and Life for Pregnancy, which starts on January 16Register today! We'd love to have you join us!



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