Latest eats + Costco finds

Hi everyone! Happy August! 

I have been looking forward to this month because 1) it’s my birthday month (cue the free junk food coupons in my inbox from restaurants, haha. Hitting Delete on most of them except Datz Dough in Tampa – their cupcakes are amazing!) and 2) it’s the last month of inferno-like heat in Florida! I always feel like the worst is over when we make it through August. WE CAN DO THIS! #airconditioning #peppermintspray #icewater <– how I survive the summer 😆

On the pregnancy update front, we’re moving right along! Baby is almost 22 weeks now (only 18-ish to go! Sweet!) and I’ve been feeling great except for occasional low back pain when my hips get out of alignment. But I felt like working out today which is a huge win! I mostly used the TRX bands for some push-ups, squats, and rows with jogging in place between sets.

I love looking at bump pictures after baby’s born and 5-6 months old and thinking “How did I stretch like that?!” Haha it never seems that big at the time.

Lunch today was so delicious I wished I made double…yep, that would have been 2 whole sandwiches. But I didn’t, so I’ll make it again for lunch tomorrow. Aldi has organic red peppers now (!!) so I was on them like white on rice and am using them in our meals this week. First up: roasted red pepper sandwich with goat cheese and spinach 😍

Roasting red peppers is simple: preheat oven to Broil, cut peppers in half, clean out seeds/membranes, and place face down on a pan very close to the top of the oven. Broil for 7-9 minutes and flip. Broil for 5-6 more minutes and remove from oven. Slice and they’re ready to go.

I slathered goat cheese on the bread, added spinach and roasted peppers, and added a little butter to a frying pan to give my sandwich the grilled cheese crispy exterior. The only thing I’ll do differently tomorrow is double the goat cheese, haha!

*just realized this is a 100% Aldi meal since the goat cheese, spinach, and bread (all organic, and the bread is sprouted, with minimal ingrediets) is from Aldi, which means it’s basically dirt cheap AND healthy 😉

Costco this weekend was full of yummy organic items! Any other Pink Lady apple lovers out there?! These apples are so tart and sweet. I added a little peanut butter (also from Costco) and leftover chocolate banana smoothie for my afternoon snack today.

These eggs really stole the show, though. I don’t know if this price tag was a misprint or what, but they’re usually $6.99 for 24 organic eggs, and this weekend they were just $4.89! We got 3 containers. No shame! They don’t expire until September something, and I’ll be making a few birthday cakes/cupcakes so I know none of these will be wasted!

I also found Mary’s Gone Crackers (original flavor) at Costco for $5.99 for two big bags. Another favorite for me and Judith to pair with goat cheese! 

Now I just need to finish meal planning for the weekend and let all these goodies shine in the kitchen! If you’ve meal planned already, share your recipes with me in the comments! I love getting new ideas that way!



Pregnancy Update: 18 weeks

Baby is the size of a sweet potato! (Courtesy of my Ovia pregnancy app.) And coincidentally I’ve just started really wanting to eat sweet potatoes again…in enchiladas, as a breakfast bowl, with shredded chicken on top…

With the fatigue and frustrating constant hunger that pregnancy brings (to me, at least), my last blog post was about 11 weeks ago, shattering my goal of posting once a week this year. Can we start over this week?! Of course!

So let’s compare this pregnancy to my first (this is more for me than for you, but if you find it interesting, keep reading).

Sleep – Um, I get less of it? I sleep almost every time Judith (the almost 2 yr old) does but I haven’t had problems sleeping yet.

Exercise – I haven’t exercised consistently since around 7 weeks because that’s when the fatigue and constant hunger kicked in. Exercising made me more tired and more hungry, and I couldn’t sleep unless Judith did (one nap a day, for 45-60 mins) which was not enough sleep for me.

Cravings – none really. I never had serious cravings with Judith either – just a “wow that would taste really good right now!” feeling every so often.

Food aversions – LOTS. I had a hard time stomaching salad, meat, cheese, veggies, olives, and pretty much anything except fruit. I lived on smoothies. And granola bars. This was much worse than the first time around! The last couple weeks have been almost back to normal as far as this goes.

Energy – decent at this point. I started exercising a little, but the main cause of any energy deficit is not getting enough sleep due to Judith. She’s still a night owl.

Dizziness – infrequent and seems to coincide with drinking too much caffeine (I have a low tolerance since my first pregnancy) and not getting enough sleep. It resolves after a glass of water with Himalayan sea salt.

Thoughts about labor – I’ve got this! I feel even more excited to give birth this time around because I know how amazing the first few weeks are of getting to know the new little one and being on that natural high from giving birth. Seriously cannot wait!!

Judith’s thoughts about the pregnancy – Well, every time I remind her there’s a baby in my tummy, she holds her stomach and says, “I have one too!” and since I tell her that the baby’s growing, she will randomly touch my stomach and say “Baby’s growing!” Sweetest thing ever! I can’t wait until she can touch my stomach and feel the baby move. She’s really helpful around our baby friends (volunteering to take diapers to the trash for my momma friends when they visit, carrying toys and blankets to baby during play time, etc.) but I keep having to remind myself to expect a little jealousy on her part initially after baby is born. I’m sure her helpfulness will kick in quickly ❤

Upper Body Workout + Workout with Your Dog

Happy Monday! I love the start of a new week (most of the time) because it means a new beginning to be productive and work toward my goals! Today is the day for several holidays (including National Eight Track Tape Day…hmm) but the one that I like most is National Pet Day!

This article on 13 Fun Ways to Workout with Your Dog had some new ideas I hadn’t thought of before (and made me miss my Weimaraner/Golden Retriever doggie Rita, who we gave to another family after Judith was born and I couldn’t keep up with Rita’s super high energy needs anymore 😦 It’s bittersweet, but I know she’s happier).

For the past 12-ish weeks I haven’t had to think about my workouts since I was doing a challenge with workouts on DVD (it was TERRAfit, in case you want to check it out – it combines 2 of my favorite things, essential oils and fitness!), and I really enjoyed them! The workouts are repetitive enough that you can get the hang of it quickly, but challenging enough that you’re gasping for air after the first cardio set (there are 3 strength and 3 cardio sets in each workout).

Now that TERRAfit’s over, it’s back to writing workouts for me! Last weekend I wrote a super challenging total body one, but I’m going to save that to share with you later in a project I’m working on 😉 For now, here’s a fun (I’m using that term loosely) upper body workout that’s sure to fire up and strengthen your arms. Try a little Peppermint oil or Soothing Blend on your arms before you start – they’ll cool down, feel a little tingly, and you’ll get an energy boost to power through your workout! (If you have sensitive skin, go easy on either of these two essential oils – sweating will open your pores and make them feel more intense, which most people love, but can be too strong for others.) All you need are a set of dumbbells at a medium weight (5-15lbs works for most people). For the first portion, keep moving at a fast pace. Rest for 1-2 minutes after each round.

Warm up (5 mins)

15 push-ups

Side plank with lateral raise

15 one leg bicep curls (engage core to keep your balance)

Tricep dips (hands on floor, lift hips into high bridge as you straighten arms)

15 one leg back rows (engage core to keep your balance)

30 second static squat with shoulder press (hold squat position as low as you can, shoulder press overhead)

15 bicep hammer curls (regular speed)

15 bicep hammer curls (slow, twice as long as regular)

Repeat 2-3x


2 minutes cardio: 30 seconds each – jumping jacks, mountain climbers, skaters, burpees

10 push-ups

Repeat cardio and pushups.

Cool down – stretching, walk, foam roller


Enjoy the burn!

❤ Gina


On The Favorites List

Happy Monday Tuesday! (I had high hopes of blogging this yesterday, but Judith intervened!)  Hope your weekend was fabulous! Ours was packed with adventures, including a trip to Wild Florida in Kissimmee (pics coming later!).

Today I’ve made a list of things I’m currently loving to share with you (I love when other bloggers do this!) 😊

Rainbow roller bottles are the bomb! Don’t they make you smile?? Now if Judith (the Sticker Removal Queen) takes off the labels on my roller bottle blends, I still have the different colored lids to tell them apart! #momwin


We made a sleepy time blend in the pink/purple roller ball for Judith, since Lavender oil doesn’t work on her (she’s like one in a million, right?! Lavender knocks me out!). I gave her the bottle and she rolled it all over her feet and mouth and legs and hands (her favorite places to apply oils – liberally so we just dilute a lot) and she was asleep within 15-20 minutes! That is SO FAST compared to normal, especially since we put her to bed about an hour earlier than usual (we got up early that day).


Sweet Dreams Baby

5 drops Cedarwood

2 drops invigorating blend

5 drops reassuring blend

3 drops Spearmint

I got these roller bottles at The Root and Petal (they also offer cute tote bags and more!)


• Big floppy hats

I never thought I’d say this, but I love getting clothes and accessories at Costco. Seriously, never thought that would happen. I always thought big box stores carried the ugliest clothing, but I now I keep adding more of their pieces to my closet (like their rain jacket, maxi skirt, and the skorts I wore all the time during pregnancy). They’re just so useful and comfy!

The latest addition is this big floppy hat with UV protection. Judith and I love walking around the neighborhood (stopping to say “Hiii!!!” to every lizard, bird, and neighbor) and there are approximately zero trees large enough to shade over the sidewalk – they’re all too young and short. So if we’re burning up in the heat now, I can only imagine what it’ll be like when the real summer gets here (Spring and Autumn are just extremely warm bookends to a fiery Summer around here…blech).
The Truth About Cancer docu-series is coming back April 12!

TTAC is an online 9-part webinar series that’s free to watch while it’s airing, then you can purchase the DVDs to watch at home. I’ve seen most of the episodes and I’m so excited to watch it again! The episodes include interviews with many medical professionals (some who have cured their own cancer) and practical advice for cancer prevention. This series has saved so many lives already, and it opened my eyes to all the little changes I could make to lower my family’s risk for cancer. The info shared here is invaluable. You can register to watch it free here.

• Get Over Your Fear of Rejection – this short slideshow (with beautiful images!) makes a good point

Coloring with Judith

I used to wait until I got some alone time to color because I didn’t want Judith to destroy my coloring books (I imagined torn-out pages, wild scribbles, and food stains or serious spilled drink damage!), and it was something I used to de-stress. However, I quickly realized that meant I’d never get to color again since alone time is scarce around here. So I started coloring with Judith; we work on the same page together and I just deal with the random scribbles so we both get to enjoy it together. She seriously fell in love with coloring after we started doing that, so it was worth it!

What are some of your favorite activities lately? Comment here to share – you never know who else might enjoy your latest craze too!

Kale Chips and Vietnamese Cinnamon

You can add those to the list of things I never expected to show up on my doorstep together! I was pleasantly surprised when I won a snack pack from Made in Nature on Instagram a few months ago. At the time I thought they’d just send a bag of Figgy Pops (which I’ve had before, because they’re sold at our Costco), but when the box arrived it included Rosemary Truffle Kale Chips (!!!), Figgy Pops, and Vietnamese Cinnamon Swirl Toasted Coconut Chips!

I dug right in (Garrett sometimes gives me a hard time about how impatient I am whenever I get something new – I try it right away instead of waiting for what feels like next Christmas, like he does)  and, no surprise, I loved the two new-to-me snacks! The kale chips are slightly crispy with an addicting flavor, not too salty and the truffle oil doesn’t overpower them (can they make a box 5x the size? Seriously, I could eat it in 2-3 sittings).


As soon as I opened the bag of coconut chips, I thought, cinnamon rolls! because they have that sweet cinnamon aroma. The chunks of coconut are thick (unlike thin, crispy coconut chips I’ve tried from other brands) and perfectly sweet to eat as part of dessert. After every meal. (Not kidding!) They only have 5g of sugar per 1/2 c. so you can seriously cure a sugar craving with these, without actually loading up with sugar.


The Figgy Pops are dense and tart, with figs, dates, cashews, and tart cherries as the base, covered in coconut. These are a more substantial snack with a whole serving being just 3 pops. And the bag is pretty big, so these will probably last the longest out of the 3 snacks they sent me. They’re easy to transport for fuel on the go, like on a hiking trip or just a day out running errands.

All the snacks are organic and have short ingredients lists (just how I like it). You can see the ingredients listed at Judith enjoys sharing these snacks with me too. Thank you to Christie at Nourished Postpartum (serving new moms in Washington State with care) and Made in Nature brands for giving these delicious snacks away! Now my only problem will be finding a store in Lakeland that sells them so we can restock our supply!

Quick and Healthy “New Mom Meal Train” Recipe

Sometimes it feels like as a mom, our opportunities for helping others are limited by the sheer amount of time spent taking care of our kids and cleaning up after them. I love taking dinner to new moms, because I remember how extremely helpful the meal train was to me the weeks (months?) after Judith was born. And I have a super simple recipe I make that’s delicious and healthy, and I can make it in minutes on one of my busiest days.


1 lb. chicken thighs

2 c. frozen mixed veggies

1 can beans, rinsed and drained

1 T. olive oil

Seasonings of choice (I use Costco’s organic no-salt seasoning)

Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Spread veggies in bottom of 8×8 baking dish. Layer beans on top. Toss chicken with seasonings and olive oil in a bowl. Lay chicken flat in a single layer on top of beans. Bake for 35 minutes.

Although I don’t have a picture of this dish (I was in a big hurry last time I made it!) it is inspired by Kath’s recipe and you can see pictures on her blog.

I usually serve it with rice on the side for a healthy meal that comes together in minutes, allowing the busiest of moms to bless one another!