Aug 19, 2015

Somerset/Middlesex Just Between Friends Fall 2015 Sale



Somerset/Middlesex Spring Event Schedule
August 29-30, 2015
Our Lady of Fatima
499 New Market Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854

Consignor Drop Off:
Friday, Aug 28, 7pm-8pm

Sale Dates:
Saturday, Aug 29
12pm-6pm ($3 Admission)
Sunday9am-3pm - 
HALF OFF SALE

Consignor Pick-Up:
Sunday, Aug 30, 7
pm-8pm

Saturday, August 29
9am - 12 Hr Volunteer & Break Down Team 
9:30am - 8 Hr Volunteer 
10am - 4 Hr Volunteer 
10:30am - Consignors

First Time Parents/Grandparents ~ Military ~ Teachers
We have a special pre-sale just for you!  Register to shop 30 minutes before the public on Saturday, August 29th at 11am.


Saturday, August 29, 12pm-6 ($3 Admission) Print a FREE Admission Pass from our website
Sunday, August 30, 9am-3pm Anything without a star is half price

Consignors earn 60% of their sold items and have the opportunity to earn an additional 10% by volunteering at the sale. The more hours you volunteer, the earlier you shop!  Don't have time to tag your items?  Let us do it for you with our VIP Consignor Program!  We have presale passes for First Time Parents, First Time Grandparents, Military Families and Teachers.  Unsold items marked as donate on the tag will be donated to Our Lady of Fatima Church.


Follow Somerset/Middlesex JBF on Facebook for more updates!


Consignors
Earn 60% and the $10 consignor fee will be deducted from your final check. Our tagging site is open 24/7 and allows you to tag all the way until our drop off on Friday, August 28, 7pm-8pm.

 Acceptable Items:
  • Fall items only: No shorts, short sleeves, tank tops or sandals.
  • We DO accept swim wear for those winter vacationers!
  • We DO accept all season maternity (must be maternity brands).
  • Only your best shoes - we are picky and won't accept "too much loved" or scuffed shoes.
  • Items that require batteries must have batteries.

Tagging Tips
  • Wire hangers seem to work best; however, we will accept all kinds - wire, plastic, wooden, adult and child size. Give your hanger a shake to make sure clothing items are secure and won't fall off.
  • Magic Erasers work wonders on shoes and toys!
  • Give clothing that has been sitting in storage bins a little spritz of Febreeze!
  • Check to make sure items are not recalled HERE.

Volunteer 
If you are consigning with us, the easiest way to increase your earnings is to join the JBF Team!  It's as easy as 1, 2, 3:
  1. Log into your JBF Profile
  2. If you've already registered for the spring sale, select theGREEN "Modify" button.  If you haven't signed up for the spring sale, click the PINK "Sign Up" option.
  3. On the next screen, check the "Volunteer (Includes Barter)" box and you will be taken to the schedule!
» Our Set Up shift earns you DOUBLE CREDIT!  Volunteer Friday,3-7pm, and shop Saturday as early as 9:30am until we close at6pm.
» Better yet...our Break Down shift earns you TRIPLE CREDIT!  Volunteer Sunday3-7pm, and shop Saturday as early as 9am until we close at 6pm.


Questions: 
See you at the sale!

Aug 10, 2015

On Sundays We Meal Prep

There is the old saying "those who fail to prepare -- prepare to fail" and with healthy eating, this could not be more true. For us specifically, it's crucial. We work full-time jobs, we have a child and we both like to work out 4-6 days a week, so for us, if we want to eat healthy we prep and we do it right.



We started doing big-time meal prep about two years ago. I had entered a body transformation contest for BodyBuilding.com and my husband frankly appreciated the prepardness. To be honest, who feels like making lunch the night before after working a full day? No one does. So we started making huge salads on Sunday's. And sometimes they felt like they took forever. Lettuce, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, edamames etc... We did this for a while and then at some point we got sick of it -- we also felt like there wasn't a great variety to what we could do. After I found out I was pregnant, everything went out the window - except, we continued to make chicken for him (which we continued until a few months ago).

When I switched to Paleo back in April, we both took a hard look at our foods and snacks and decided to make a change. We have done a number of different foods and preps but right now, we've landed on a pretty good system.

So what do our Sunday's look like? First, here are our meal plans:

Sara:
Breakfast daily: 2 hard-boiled eggs, handful of blackberries, Tazo black tea
Mid-morning snack: Larabar (apple pie)  currently 20% off at Target
Lunch: chicken salad with homemade mayo
Mid-afternoon snack: carrots and Trader Joe's Almond butter

                          


Jason:
Breakfast daily: 4 scrambled eggs, oatmeal with blueberries
Mid-morning snack: plain yogurt with blueberries, almonds
Lunch: ground turkey chili with brown rice
Mid-afternoon snack: Cliff bar, banana and/or apple

Misc Needs:
Coconut Oil 
Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning 

Weeknight dinners: handful of green peppers and carrots and either ground turkey, chicken or steak as the protein

Plan of Attack 
The week before:
- Find a recipe
- Create grocery list for AmazonFresh & BJ's
- Order AmazonFresh food

Friday night or Saturday:
- Grocery shop at BJ's
- Get rest of groceries delivered
- Keep chicken and ground turkey in fridge for easy cooking access on Sunday

Sunday morning:
- Hardboil 10 eggs
- Scramble 20 eggs (yes, we have a giant sauce pan)
- Chop up
     -1 lb of celery
     -2 packs of carrots
    - 4 or 5 green peppers
    - 2 zucchini
- Make the turkey chili 
- Boil and shred the chicken
- Cook the rice

We work with a lot of containers to keep it easy. We have a giant tin for the veggies for the dinner and then we use two other big bowls for the veggies for each of our respective lunches.

Once everything is cooked and prepped we put the lunches into containers for the week. Which makes it SO MUCH EASIER to put all the lunches into containers on Sunday instead of during the week after a long day of work.

             


Sure you can look at our list and what takes about 2 hours in total on a Sunday, but you can't argue with the ease and results of a healthy lifestyle.  It starts with one step at a time. When we started, we just did lunches - and then quickly realized we would prefer to prep both breakfast and lunch.

As this blogger points out...
There is no right or wrong way to food prep.The options are endless when in comes to prepping food ahead of time so there really is no right or wrong way to do it. Basically, it comes down to just making time and getting it done. However, just like any weight loss strategy, to be sustainable it needs to fit into your lifestyle. Basically this means do what works for you. If the only thing you want to prep each week are hardboiled eggs then that’s fine. Or maybe you find it helpful to make mason jar salads, buffalo shredded chicken, and a couple slow cooker kits. Whatever will meets YOUR needs. Don’t get bogged down in thinking it has to be done a certain way. Also, it is very important to remember that I have been doing this for 4 years. I have lots of practice and made my fair share of mistakes. What works for me might not work for you. I share the strategies and tips I have learned along the way in hopes that you will take and adapt them to fit into your lifestyle.
It's always hard, and a little scary to start a new diet or for us, lifestyle change. But every journey started with one-step and changing the way you eat can change your life!



Want to see recipes and status? Check me out






Aug 7, 2015

Mommy Wars: Breastmilk & Formula

Formula or breastmilk...with a side of judgement




To speak frankly, I don't understand this trigger point in the large scheme of things. Whatever the medium in which a person chooses to do to feed their child, is their own personal choice. The only reason there should ever be interference is if there is harm being done to the child, but if the parent is choosing formula or breastmilk and the child is thriving, honestly what is the hang up? And when something is in a bottle (whole 'nother argument) who are you to assume what is in there?  Why are we as moms so enraged if a mom chooses formula or to breastfeed in public. It comes to being none of our business but is a HUGE point of argument and mommy-shaming in the mommy community, and frankly, we are becoming the monsters we warn our children about. 

From what I've seen, a lot of the formula-shaming comes from the moms who are considered the most "crunchy" but this judgement can come from anywhere. In a grocery store, in public, in your own mind - many women think "fuck I'm a failure because I went for formula" but the truth is, anyway that you attempt and succeed at taking care of your child is the RIGHT way. Who cares if it's milk from a breast or from the formula companies - you have to do whats by your kid. The same goes for the mom who has to nurse or pump on-demand. Your life is now dedicated to your milk production you are doing what is right.

via Mama by the Bay, the "I Support You" Project says it best...


“The I Support You movement is a respectful, empathetic, compassionate exchange between parents. We all feed our children differently, but we are all feeding with love, and in ways that work for our individual circumstances and family dynamics. I Support You is the first step in helping formula-feeding, breast-feeding, and combo-feeding parents to come together and lift each other up with kindness and understanding. We have chosen to announce this movement during World Breastfeeding Week, to honor the commitment of those who fight for better support for breastfeeding moms; we are inspired by this, but believe that by changing the focus to supporting all parents, we can truly provoke positive change without putting the needs of some mothers above the needs of others. The “I Support You” movement aims:
1) To bridge the gap between formula-feeding and breastfeeding parents by fostering friendships and interactions.
2) To dispel common myths and misperceptions about formula feeding and breastfeeding, by asking parents to share their stories, and really listening to the truth of their experiences.
3) To provide information and support to parents as they make decisions about how to feed their children.
4) To connect parents with local resources, mentors, and friends who are feeding their children in similar ways.”
-Suzanne Barston and Kim Simon
The problem is not us, us mothers just trying to do our best for our babies, us mothers desperately seeking a tribe, a source of support, a group to someday drink sangria with and laugh about how tough those first few weeks were. The problem is with how breastfeeding has become the antithesis of formula feeding; the problem is with how the two are set up as black and white, as polar opposites, as competing interests – 
rather than as two entirely independent, 
valid ways to feed children. - via


While I understand the movement to make people see that breastfeeding is what a lot consider the most natural way, there are just as many people who feel like breastfeeding is unnatural to them or cannot do it. I can remember vividly the profound struggle I had the first week of sweet little A's life and the relief that came with learning that I could exclusively pump. Granted, had that not worked either I would have gladly welcomed formula into her life because well, that is what was needed to be done. I can admit, I wouldn't spend hundreds on lactation consultants or pumped every 2 hours to simply make a few ounces, I am happy I was able to feed her breastmilk for 10 months and will feed her frozen for the last two but had that option not been for me - I would have done what's best for her and got formula. 

I've gotten weird looks and received judgment on my part for being an EPer and heard things like "did you try to get her to latch?" and "did you consult a LC?" and that was just frustrating. We as moms need to become fighters and supporters of each other instead of the constant questioning of a person's decision. Two of my closest friends have kids, one breastfed and one formula fed and they are both incredible moms who frankly did what was natural and best for both them and their child.

It's upsetting to see in a world where we have become so knowledgeable on so many things and yet we are as women and moms continue to tear each other down. One mom posted how someone yelled "formula is poison" at her when she went to feed her young son - like, that is the craziest thing ever. 

If we continue this path of forcing moms into the shadows where they feed their child in shame and hidden away we are doing ALL of us a disservice by going down this path. Personally I always try to just do my thing and not let anyone bother me. I am proud of the amount of breastmilk I have pumped and the hours I have put in and I know no one can take that from me. Nursing didn't work out so I found something else. Formula is a great alternative or first choice for moms who think that is best for them. We are not in someone else's life and well, formula wouldn't be on the market if it wasn't perfectly safe. Formula is highly regulated by the FDA so it is a perfectly good choice if that's what the mom wants to do.

I know this may sound that I more pro-breastmilk than not; however, I am pro-what I was able to do. I was able to pump for my daughter and provide her enough milk that should last her to one year. I am proud of what I did but I think it is just as good as the mom who chooses to feed their child formula. 

It is all about what feels the most natural for you, the mom (and dad). 

Hopefully with each blogger and mom speaking out against picking on parents for simply feeding their child we can try and correct this outward cry of battle against each side.We as parents and as people need to do better and create less judgment in the world. We're raising little humans to take over in our place and with every hateful troll-like comment that is spewed on the internet, we are becoming the monsters we warn our children about.









Aug 2, 2015

The Road to Eating Clean

The journey to health and happiness with your body and fitness is truly a never ending and ever-challenging journey. One that can and will push and test your limits. The true first step, is realizing what your goals are - or rather, what you want your lifestyle to be going forward. Once you realize this, you take  the first step to changing everything.

I'm Sara. At present I weigh 145 lbs. It's been a very long time since I've been happy with what I weigh and how I feel. I started this journey a very long time ago. When I was younger, everyone would tell me how thin I was and I never listened, I was never happy. I was always active non-stop until college and never had to really put forth an effort.



During my college years, I quickly put on weight and hated working out but I ate whatever I want...it was a never-ending cycle that  I didn't have the motivation to break. I saw the weight that I was gaining, but I was young and stupid and really didn't know how to course correct. After getting engaged I was focused again, I went on Weight Watchers and started going to the gym (for my wedding, as do all brides), but the habits that I formed were fueled to look good in a wedding dressed and not forged for long lasting results. The habits that I so hastily started, quickly fell to the waste side a few months after the wedding. For the years that followed, I fell into a pattern of trying and failing at many different diets and ways to workout. In short, I hated everything.

And in spring of 2013 I finally took my husband's advice and took the kickboxing class at the gym and it was like a light finally went on. I started going to kickboxing classes 5 nights a week. We did a total overhaul of our eating and the weight began to fall off and I felt amazing. While my results were great, it was short-lived as I found out I was pregnant with A and all those wonderful pregnancy symptoms kicked in.

Fast-forward to now.

When I first got cleared to go back to the gym 6-weeks postpartum, I was all for it. But quickly, it became to much and I ultimately ended up working out at home. Last July I purchased the ChaLean Extreme workout program from Beachbody and started on my Shakeology journey. While I normally have loved Beachbody workouts (I'm currently in Phase II of P90X) I did not click with this program at all. I kept doing Shakeology for another few months until the cost became a bit too much. My amazing friend Jen started sharing photos of her beautiful transformation and hard-work with Herbalife and she inspired me to try it(which I am a proud distributor of now). I can only hope that my story will inspire someone the way she continues to inspire me everyday. (Seriously, mom of 2, and kicking ass at Crossfit). I continued on the shakes from September until about 3 1/2 months ago. In total I lost about 15 lbs during that time - but more importantly I learned how to control what I was eating and I felt comfortable leaving behind the shakes and reintroducing food.



In April, I got a copy of the Paleo Solution by Rob Wolf and honestly - it was life changing. I did the 30-day paleo eating program and was completely hooked - not only by eating REAL food, but by the way I was feeling. It was unlike any other diet or program I had ever been on.

Fast-forward to my first round of the Whole30 program aka the game-changer. In 30 days, I changed my entire relationship with food. I lost 10 lbs, 11 1/2 inches in total and two jean sizes. While the weight loss was great the non-scale victories have been amazing.



It starts with food. Being healthy and in-control starts with food. Experts always say weight loss and health starts in the kitchen and it's amazing how true it is.

Needless to say I am changed forever. I hope you join me on my journey and I hope you find your own journey.

A lot of people think becoming a parent derails your goals about fitness and health but the truth is, because of my daughter, I am stronger and healthier than I have ever been. And I will be sure she knows how she is my inspiration each and every day.





Feb 22, 2015

Making it Work: Holidays

I love the holidays. And what I've discovered is that being able to celebrate two winter holidays, make that time of year way better. My husband is Jewish and I am Catholic so we are officially a house that celebrates Christmakkuh. Granted it's probably not what most conservative religious-types on both sides of the aisle approve of - but it's what we do. And it's what has become our tradition.



The truth is the holidays - like weddings - bring out the best and worst in people. If you have strong family traditions on both sides, it can be difficult try and find a medium and while some people can figure out a way -- some families never do. My advice? Find a middle ground and work from there.


The holidays can be a time of great memories, bringing family together and they can also be a time of sorrow and unpleasant times. It can also overwhelm you, stress you out and ultimately be one of your favorite times of the year. It's the end of the year - you think you would be able to relax but nope. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years -- all happening within 90 days of each other and that alone is crazy -- add in family, traditions, obligations, parties  and presents and it's one giant cocktail of crazy.

So how do you get through the holidays...alive? First and foremost, look at yourself. If you don't like the holidays than it's time to change your outlook. If you have a family now things change, priorities change.The key is to be conscious about what you’re doing. This holiday season, don’t unthinkingly do things the same way just because that’s how you always do them. If the old holiday traditions aren’t working, if they’re not making you happy and causing holiday stress, it’s time to do something different.

What I've learned in being with my husband for almost a decade is that you should find a happy medium and try to stick to it. They are two very separate holidays so it's best to give them their due and figure out how separate and both bring together at the same time. 

What do we do?

At first we made the attempt to combine the holidays in the same room/same decorations pattern, and while our sad little tree and menorah worked in our apartment - the overall scaled decorations it didn't really work out. So we do a Christmas room (red, silver and touches of gold) and then a Hanukkah room (blue and gold with touches of silver). It works out really nicely so that we can do basically whatever we want for both holidays. 

I thought it was best to have colors divided because each room can have it's own identity while still being separate so that we can give each holiday the proper due. 

Some people think its a bit much to not just make one room and be done; however, we found out that designating a separate room for each holiday makes being able to celebrate that holiday a little more fun. Lighting candles in the Hanukkah room or decorating the tree in the Christmas room.

But hey, it's all about finding what is best for you.

So what do you do for the holidays?


 

     






 


Jan 27, 2015

Paying Your Way: Birthday Party Invoices?

There have been a number of articles circulating around about a boy and his family who have received an invoice for essentially, blowing off a birthday party. And while most people are quick to judge this parent, I think we should take a step back and take a look at what this person actually did.



For many of us who plan events, we all straddle the line between constant irritability and understanding when it comes to gathering RSVPs for any events (here are my thoughts on RSVPs for weddings). So while most of think, sticking an envelope inside a little kids backpack in a tad on the crazy side- the person has a point. I can see how both sides can be considered; however, at some point - shouldn't we all be accountable for our words?

To give you some background, it would appear after not attending the party, the boy's teacher was given an envelope by the hosting parent and the teacher put the envelope in the child's backpack to be sent home.

First and foremost - this is where my initial problem lies. The child is 5 years old - if you are this irritated regarding  the child not showing up you - as the adult - should send a letter to the person's home. Sending via the teacher via the kid's backpack is instantly a  wtf moment for me.

Per the BBC article, the parents gave the child the choice of going to the party or going with the grandparents which is where my next issue lies. Of course, they state how they had forgotten they were double booked in which case the parents should have "talked to the child" and figured out what they wanted to do. Naturally talking to a 5 year old can be problematic; however, I think it teaches the child a lesson. If you accidentally double book, you should make a decision right away about what your plans should be. According to the article, they let the child decide the day of - which essentially "screws" someone regardless. To me, that teaches the child that you can be this flaky throughout your life when really you should take responsibility for your actions

The next point is that the parents claim they had no contact information - which personally I don't believe. ANY invitation will have RSVP information. My guess is they tossed the invite because any invitation will have contact information on there. Honestly, if I were in that situation I would have reached out through the school (the way the initial parents did) and asked if there was a way to get this message to them. I feel like simply flaking on an invitation or at least not giving any effort into it - really just shows that you do not care about the couple who has planned this party.

But really, into the nitty gritty of the argument - charging someone a no-show fee. While bold, I don't entirely disagree with it. I would never consider doing it but I think it definitely sends a message that "just not showing up" is NOT okay.

I try to look it both sides, if I could not attend a party and was served a no-show fee I would be livid - but I know myself and simply not showing up without any contact isn't how I roll. I have also hosted parties (including our wedding) and I know and feel the frustrations when you have to seek out RSVPs or people just don't show up.

While personally I don't think I would ever send an invoice to someone (or multiple people) I do feel like when people just do not attend, it can be frustrating. If personally I was ever served an invoice...well, I think we'll just have to save that for another conversation.

I think the lesson we can all learn is to be prompt in your RSVPing and if something happens last minute be sure to have the contact information to let the family know. You don't want to be the rude person yourself...otherwise you'll get an invoice perhaps.

Update: the two parents seem to have battled it out on Facebook - take a look here.




Here are what some people are saying around the web:
"There is a part of me that says HECK YES to this and the other is say ‘how could they! I’m a big advocate for being prompt and timely. There is nothing worse than when you’ve spent hours and sometimes exorbitant amounts of money on your child’s party to have a few children as a no show. On the other hand, these guys have a big cheek to send home an office invoice! " - via
Etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore recommended different courses of action for both parents. "This is the first time I have ever heard of someone invoicing their guests for not showing up. It’s just bad etiquette," Whitmore told ABC News.Instead, Whitmore suggested "a courtesy call saying, 'I’m sorry that your child could not attend my child’s party. I had to incur the cost of him not showing up. Therefore, I would appreciate it if you could help me out by helping me either fully or in part take care of the bill for him not showing up.'” from ABC News
 I would have gone the opposite direction and made sure to get the kids party favors to him anyway. And Alexandria is spot on. Not showing up to the party without canceling was an impolite oversight. Unfortunate, but forgivable. Sending an invoice is being rude on purpose. There is a difference. Show some class, people. How petty and miserable must one be to even have time and energy to pursue this? And it’s the kids who suffer and can no longer be friends. via
Good for her. I've been tempted to do the same thing myself in the past. When a party is booked for a child, you have to tell the venue how many children are turning up and you get charged for that number of children - regardless of no-shows. So next time, parents of Alex Nash, show some manners. If you rsvp and say you're going, turn up - or pay for your absence. - via

 So parents...humans...what do you think?