Fed Up with Diet By Advertising

I found this article on My Sisters Pantry blog. It is a pretty great blog, but I just love this article. The blog is offering great tips and information about cutting the sugar in your diet. Do you ever look at labels? Check out the label on that ‘healthy’ yogurt next time and see how much sugar is in there. My family is sensitive to sugar. Too much sugar is not good for anyone and food companies hide it everywhere! Watch the video for the #FedUp campaign, get informed and get crackin. Lucy, we (me) gots some work to do!

my sister's pantry

Sugar – looks pretty innocent, doesn’t it?

In honor of the release of Fed Up, a documentary about the power of sugar in our food supply, I’ve decided to take another look at my own (and my children’s sugar intake), and to remind myself WHY I would still be concerned about it.

This documentary, and most of what I’ve read about sugar and processed food in the last 10 year,s leads me to the conclusion that I cannot trust food manufacturers with my health. (See Salt, Sugar, Fat for more about that.) And it seems to me that there is often an inverse relationship between the amount of packaging and readiness and the healthfulness of the actual item. There are, of course, exceptions in the “natural foods” category. I can purchase prepared foods with less sugar, fewer chemicals, but these items ARE exceptions.

I don’t particularly want to build a…

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TIP: Always get fresh french fries

From the Keep Calm o matic website: click for page

From the Keep Calm o matic website: click for page

Ever swing through a fast food restaurant like MacDonalds, because its convenient and you are in a hurry? Well the only thing more distressing is when you reach into the bag for the first fry and you realize your fries are not hot, not that fresh and very disappointing.

Here is how to never have that happen again:

  1. Walk into the restaurant. Being there in person makes it easier to confirm they will comply with the next step.
  2. Ask for fries without salt.

What is the first thing they do when they plop fries into the that stainless steel bin? They salt them. If you ask for fries without salt, they can’t use those fries.

Sometimes this requires them to make another batch so here are some ground rules:

  1. Be nice. Smile and say ‘Please’. Its amazing what happens when you are nice to someone.
  2. Be prepared to wait if they do have to fry you some fries. Hey, that is what you asked for, right? Just be okay with a slight delay.

Voila! You have fresh, hot, wonderful fries!

Tax questions answered

30SecondMomIts another Helpful tip Tuesday.

If you are on twitter, follow me @TacomaLynette and the #30SecondMom chat on Wednesday the 5thof March for a great twitter chat about taxes.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a tip about 10 Tips for Tax Time. Well, now is your chance to speak interactively and learn even more about taxes. If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, or if you are just curious about taxes, join the chat. 8pm CT/6pm PT  RSVP for prizes: ow.ly/jcOXt

I love the 30 Second Mom group. I am honored to be a contributor, but even more so to interact with these fine ladies. What I love about this group is there are a bunch of great, kind ladies out there who have the knowledge to help one another. They do it, with tips that take just 30 seconds to read on their smart phone app. Super easy and super helpful. Its a group of ladies who help without judging and a group that has some great ideas too!

Join the chat, register for prizes, download the app. Then, you can have tips ALL day EVERY day for whatever life throws at you.

10 Tips for Tax Time

ReBlogging for Tax Time

Okay, it’s tax time. <<THE HORROR!>> Just kidding.

During my day job, I am a CPA. That required learning about taxes to pass the test. I took a class and was hooked. I decided not to do taxes for work. Now, I do taxes for fun. (Yeah, most of you think I’m weird or sick in the head). I really enjoy looking at all the numbers and different ways things can be worked to determine the best outcome for my clients.

After doing taxes for businesses and individuals for more than 10 years, here is some advice. Bookmark this list. I see this stuff come through all the time, save yourself some time by eating that elephant in the room, one bite at a time.

  1. Keep a brightly colored tax folder where you stick all your mail. If it says “Tax Document” or you think it relates, stick it in there!
  2. Add a notebook to the tax folder. Use this notebook to document questions you have throughout the year.
  3. Monthly/Quarterly (More frequently than your 1 visit to the the tax office), clean out the folder from step 1. Get rid of outdated information, e.g. statements from March can usually be replaced by April statements etc.
  4. At the end of the year, organize your folder. Put all your pay information and W2s together. Don’t mix your business expenses in with your personal interest statements. You don’t want to pay me for the time it takes to organize your things.
  5. Keep at least 1 ticket from the Goodwill or other donation box. Attach this ticket to the notebook tucked into the tax folder. Keep a running list of all things donated and the date: 12 bags of clothes on Feb 12th.
  6. Review your pay-stub during the year. Work with your tax adviser to make sure you are withholding enough, especially if you have had any job changes or raises.
  7. Review your W2. Look at the amount you got paid (box 1)- shocking how much we lose to bills isn’t it? Look at the funny codes in boxes 12 and 14. Make sure they make sense.
  8. Bring your tax adviser last years’ taxes, especially if you are using someone new.
  9. Ask questions, lots and lots of questions. Your tax adviser should have answers or offer to look up your questions for you. Don’t trust your taxes to someone who doesn’t ever need to ‘look things up’. Laws change every year, its best to verify anything that might not be totally clear.
  10. Talk. Talk to your tax adviser about all the things that went on in your life over the course of the year. Kid graduate and go to college – you might still be able to claim that kid and an education credit to boot! You never know what nugget of information will bring you more money at tax time.

Tuesday Tip: Lower your grocery budget

Image courtesy of Zaycon

Actually this is a couple of tips all rolled under one heading, reducing your grocery budget. I am raising a houseful of boys, all of whom are healthy eaters, and for a while, our grocery budget was out of control. Of course the kids preferred food consists of Macaroni and Cheese, Pizza and Ice Cream. But, we can’t live off only that, there must be fruits, vegetables and some actual meat once in a while too. I don’t have time for extreme couponing, so I use a few tried and true methods and am able to keep our grocery bills down to about $130 a week or less. My biggest secret? Find great quality at great prices! That is why I like shopping discount grocery stores, warehouse stores like Costco and Zaycon. What is Zaycon? Fresh meat, fruit and dairy delivered on a truck direct from the farms to a location near you. You have to buy in bulk, but for staples like chicken breast (bonless/skinless for only $1.90/lb) or 93%lean ground beef for only $3.49/lb and Organic Whole Milk (low patruized and non-homoginzed for only $5.99/gallon. These are amazing deals and everything is great quality and easy to freeze. Most cases are sold at 40pounds. So to buy a case, or more, can be spendy. But by planning ahead, splitting a case with a friend or following the rest of my steps, I feed my family of 5 for an average of $130 per week!

  • Make a menu
  • Make a list based on the menu
  • Use a warehouse, club or discount store for great deals
  • Watch portion sizes

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Ever heard that expression? The school my children attend does not have a cafeteria, so we must plan for 3 meals a day, every day. Lunches during the week gets a little routine so those items are easy to shop for. Its the breakfasts and the dinners that require more planning.

  1. I watch the ads, Safeway always has something interesting for $5 on Fridays. Dinners are taken care of If I can find a meat on sale, and figure out 2 different ways to cook it. From the ads, I menu plan the week. We eat leftovers, a lot, so I usually only make 2 main dishes for dinner. Add something easy like oatmeal or yogurt or bagels for breakfast. I let the boys choose what they want for the week, they have to agree on the 1 item. Once the menu is planned, I make the shopping list.
  2. Sometimes I buy things to put in the pantry because the price is right and I know I will use them eventually: diced tomatoes, cream of mushroom soup etc. and if I already have something on hand, then I don’t want to buy it again.
  3. When I have my list together, I figure out the best place to buy my items. Sometimes it is Winco (a great discount grocer in my area), and sometimes it is Costco because of quality/quantity needed. Thankfully these stores are rather close together and I don’t feel like I am running all over town to get the best deal. STICK TO THE LIST. Remember the list only works if you actually stick to it.
  4. When the boys are particularly hungry, or going through a growth spurt it can be more difficult to keep an eye on portion size. If I make a casserole, I do tell the kids that it needs to last at least 3 meals. So we supplement the main dish with salads, veggies, and bananas or an apple after their plate is still clean. By making the main dishes that typically cost more, last longer, we can stretch our budget even farther.

**Disclaimer: If you decide you want to check out any of the Zaycon products, click on the link above. I do earn referral points, but honestly, these deals are so good I just can’t pass them up or keep them to myself! I just ordered ground beef and the milk.