Tuesday Timesavers: Lose the Baby Weight With Weight Watchers Online

tuesday timesaversWelcome to this week’s edition of Tuesday Timesavers – helping moms like you save time each week!

Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this product review, so the below is entirely my opinion.

First of all, apologies for the hiatus – as you can see, the site recently got a facelift, and most of my time was devoted to that. But never fear, Tuesday Timesavers is here again!

This week’s edition of Tuesday Timesavers will be about Weight Watchers Online! If you’ve read my post about my quest to lose the baby weight you’ll know that I’ve now been on the program for a month. To give a little preview of the weight loss I should be announcing once the month is up (later this week!) – I am down nine pounds! (And I didn’t even abide by the plan perfectly 100% of the time!)

I’m sure many of you are familiar with Weight Watchers. I joined for the first time when I was planning my wedding back in 2004/2005, and again after the wedding. I wanted to sign up after having the baby, but when you’re a working mom, when do you have time for meetings?

So I gave Weight Watchers online a shot, and was wary about whether or not it would work since there isn’t the accountability of meetings. I didn’t find that as a factor in my success though, because I was motivated.

The best thing about the new version of the Weight Watchers program is that it’s got an option that is practically designed for busy people like us. They have the Simply Filling technique, which gives you a list of foods and guidelines, and as long as you don’t break the rules  and you make sure to get your Good Health Guidelines checked off (water, vitamin, exercise, etc), you don’t really need to “track” anything. So, between not having to attend a meeting, and not having to track your calories, it’s a definite time saver! (Plus the meal choices and recipes are quick to make!)

So, all in all, it works well for moms who need a quick way to plan healthy meals. Whether you decide to track Points or use the Simply Filling technique, you’re guided toward making good choices that are good for your wallet, waistline, and your time.

Tuesday Timesavers: Warehouse Shopping

tuesday timesaversWelcome to this week’s edition of Tuesday Timesavers – helping busy mom bloggers everywhere save time each week!

This week, I’ll be talking about Warehouse Shopping. I am a big, big fan of warehouse stores such as Costco (where I have a membership), BJ’s, and Sam’s Club. I love them not just for their money-saving potential, but for their time-saving potential as well!

If you’re going to shop the warehouse stores, though, you have to do it right – otherwise you’ll be shelling out a lot of money on big packages of things that will eventually go to waste. If you think of shopping at the warehouse store not as an alternative to grocery shopping, but as an aid to grocery shopping, you’ll be in good shape.

For example, at the warehouse store, I pick up big boxes of the staples we use all the time, and easily-preservable perishable items.

For example, the items I might buy at Costco (monthly) over Albertsons or Publix include:

    • Shampoo and Conditioner

 

    • Granola Bars (or 100 calorie packs, or any other type of snack)

 

    • Soap

 

    • Pasta and Pasta Sauce

 

    • Frozen Lunches (our Costco carries both Healthy Choice and Lean Cuisine)

 

    • Diapers (Costco’s brand diapers are amazing, and at under 18 cents a piece, are so worth it)

 

    • Wipes (Again, Costco’s brand is great and saves money over buying brand-names)

 

    • Formula (TWO cans of Costco-brand formula for under $20…that’s less than $10 a can!)

 

    • Ground beef/turkey/chicken (refrigerate a few portions, freeze the rest)

 

    • Milk (they still sell Milk by the gallon, but it’s cheaper than the grocery store)

 

    • Toothpaste

 

    • Animal Crackers (one of Miss A’s favorite snacks – Costco sells organic animal crackers under their store brand)

 

    • Cereal (two boxes of Cheerios for a grand total of $4.99 versus $3.50 a box at the grocery store)

 

    • Frozen fruit/vegetables

Doing a 45 minute Costco run monthly saves me time in that instead of making weekly trips to the grocery store, spending an hour or so each time, I usually only need to go two or three times a month to replenish the staples.

At the grocery store, I usually buy:

    • Fresh Fruit/Vegetables for salads

 

    • Bread (Though larger families may benefit from buying bread at Costco – the three of us just don’t eat it fast enough and it gets moldy).

 

    • Milk (if we run out of the gallon from Costco)

 

    • Yogurt

 

    • Soda (our store brand’s soda – diet, of course – is good and very inexpensive)

 

    • Juice

 

    • Eggs

Of course, this isn’t the entire shopping list – but it covers the staples and I fill in the gaps where needed.

I hope this is helpful information!

Got a suggestion for Tuesday Timesavers? Comment on this post, or email andrea@minuteformom.com.

Tuesday Timesavers: Mint.com

Welcome to this week’s Tuesday Timesavers, a weekly feature where we talk about things that help busy moms like you save time every day!

This week’s featured timesaver is Mint.com. I’ve been seeing tweets about this service show up on my Twitter feed over the past week and decided to check it out.

Mint.com is an online financial management service much like Microsoft Money or Quicken, except that it is free and done completely online. The process of creating an account is quick, easy, and completely painless. Simply enter your email address and password, and then follow the prompts to add your bank account, loan account, savings account, credit card accounts, and any other financial accounts that you have to Mint.com. It automatically downloads the account details to your Mint.com account.

After doing this, it automatically categorizes your spending (with relatively high accuracy – I had to go back and change a few things, like my daughter’s daycare I had to change from “Education” to “Kids – Babysitter & Daycare”) and helps plan a budget for you. With just a few clicks, you have have a complete analysis of your financial standing and net worth. You can even add the value of your cars and your house to complete the picture.

And if that’s not enough, once you’ve added a credit or loan account to Mint.com, they send you email reminders letting you know when your next payment is due. These reminders are also posted in an “alerts” section when you’re signed into Mint.com.

Finally, the site is secure. Security is verified by Verisign, Trust-e and McAfee, so you know your information is safe.

The only complications I ran into are with credit cards that have extra layers of security. For example, one of my credit card accounts requires that you enter your password and answer three security questions every time you sign in. That one I wasn’t able to add to my Mint.com account, but it’s set up to auto-pay anyway so it’s not really a concern.

There’s about a million more cool features on Mint.com, but why not check it out for yourself?

In the interest of transparency – the opinion expressed here is mine and mine alone – I was not compensated by Mint.com in any way for writing this review.

Tuesday Timesavers: Crockpots

Tuesday Timesavers for Busy Moms

I’m testing out a new weekly feature: Tuesday Timesavers! Let me know what you think by comenting below!

As a working mom, who is also working on a masters, finding time to work in cooking at the end of the day is pretty difficult. By the time both Mr. Dad and I get home, we’re wiped out from working all day. Miss A is also usually pretty tired from a full day of running around like a tazmanian devil at daycare, plus she’s not very handy in the kitchen yet. This has resulted in many nights of takeout, which has been detrimental to our waistlines and our wallets.

What’s the solution then? A couple of weeks ago I pulled my trusty crockpot out from the black hole where it was stored, dusted it off, and started making meals with it. One afternoon of cooking usually equals 3-4 meals for each of us. I’m kind of liking the whole “cook once, eat all week” idea. Plus, it’s fairly easy to make healthy food this way!

Here are two of the recipes that I have made so far:

Bloody Mary Chicken
1 bottle of Spicy Bloody Mary Mix (appx. 33 oz)
3 boneless chicken breasts, thawed and cut in half

Put the Bloody Mary mix and six halves in the crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours (or high for 3-4 hours).

Chili Pasta Bake
1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey (if you want to go healthier, use ground turkey breast)
1 1/2 cups of elbow macaroni
2 cans of diced tomatoes in water
1/2 can tomato paste
1 cup of chopped onion
1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of pepper
1/4 tsp dried crushed oregano
2 tsp of chili powder

Brown the ground turkey. Add the other ingredients to the crock pot first, then add the browned ground turkey. Cook for 3-4 hours on low, 5-7 hours on high.

Here are some other resources for crock pot recipes:

A Year of Crockpotting
Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes (Better Homes & Gardens)
Cooking Light Cook’s Essential Recipe Collection: Slow Cooker: 57 essential recipes