Hello Swan Life readers! It’s Lucy here and I’m excited to take over the Green Swan again for our monthly “life update”. May was a good month in this household. I wonder if I’ll ever not start with saying that… hope not!
Ok this title might be a bit of a stretch, but let me say I’ve found a service that has been amazing… but maybe not quite lifesaving. Have you heard of Instacart? It’s a grocery delivery service that we were gifted 3 months free for Christmas. We decided to hold off and start once our second child was born. Let me just say Instacart is on the list of things I never thought I’d want to pay for… until I had kids. The service here in Charlotte includes many of the grocery stores we normally shop at, including Costco (and I don’t have to be a member to order here!!) I can start my grocery list throughout the week and add items via the computer or through the app on my phone. Then when I’m ready and my list is over $35 (to avoid an additional fee) I can order for immediate delivery (sometimes the groceries can be delivered in as little as one hour) or schedule to be delivered at a later time.
There is still a service fee of 10% of your total order so we’re still definitely paying something for this service. What we’re avoiding for the first three months is the membership fee. The yearly fee is $149 and quite honestly it’s something we’re still deciding if it’s worth paying for and avoiding the grocery store trip. Again, something I wouldn’t even consider… until I had kids. Have you ever tried shopping with a toddler and forgot to bring the Cheerios for him to munch on?
Vegan Update and Recipes
Speaking of groceries and food, anyone wondering how we’re doing with the vegan diet? I’ve been able to try out a bunch of new recipes this month while still being on maternity leave. I’ve, once again, crushed my goal of trying 3 recipes each month. I lost track, but I’d guess we’ve tried out 10-15 or so? I will say we haven’t been super strict on this new diet (ordering at a restaurant still includes some pizza with cheese now and again… although still no meat). Here are a few recipes we’ve tried and really enjoy!
Vegan Ice Cream
Oh and while I’m on the topic of going vegan, we’ve recently found some great alternatives to the foods we enjoy, but don’t fit into the new diet. Namely, ice cream. This delicious dessert was the main item JW was worried about giving up. It was a staple in our household prior to changing (however, it seems we still make it a staple now). Why you ask? Because we’ve discovered some great non-dairy options. Brands like SO Delicious, Breyers and even Ben and Jerry’s have non-dairy options!! Seriously you have no idea how excited we were to find the amazing flavors that Ben and Jerry’s offer in the non-dairy. Although I will say these options are more expensive than the normal ice cream we used to buy. We now make this more of a treat (not buying each trip to the grocery store and not eating every single night), but we also stock up a bit when there’s a sale.
In my January Swan Life post I asked you what sort of activities you’ve found for your kids that were free or on the cheap. And you guys definitely had some great ideas! Anyone who has a toddler at home knows getting them out of the house and engaged is good for development… and makes for a good nap. Our neighbor and friends introduced us to a new activity that we’ve now made a monthly event. Home Depot offers free kid workshops on the first Saturday of the month. We’ve attended two now and definitely plan to keep attending if our schedule allows. Each month they offer a new project where the kids can create with hammers, paint and a little imagination. Our boy has now made an Easter basket and flower pot holder. I will admit the noise level in the store is very high (imagine thirty some kids banging with full size hammers), but it’s worth the smile we get from him and the pride he has after finishing the project. Oh, and kid #2 can even sleep through all that pounding, amazing!
It is almost time for me to return to work and to say goodbye to my maternity leave and days spent mainly cuddling with our new baby boy. I’d say overall I’m prepared to return to my job, to return to a more normal routine and, quite honestly, to return to a life where I’m a more productive citizen. Don’t get me wrong, these weeks at home with our little guy have been great. It’s so important for mom to be home with a newborn as they grow rapidly and their brains development tremendously. I recently read Financial Samurai’s post about The Difficulties of Pregnancy and thought I’d touch on my thoughts and our financial plan during my leave.
Yes, I agree that the American norm for maternity leave and pay during that time is nowhere near perfect. On the flip side I’m an optimistic person and will say what I do receive is better than nothing. After-all nothing in life is free, right?
In the past year or so my employer has amended their maternity and paternity leave plans in my favor. They now offer two weeks of parental leave with full pay. That was not offered when I had my first son so right off the bat I’ve won! On top of that my short term disability plan will pay me 60% of my salary for seven weeks. Add those up plus one more week I am taking unpaid, my leave will be a total of ten weeks. I did this same thing with our first son and the amount of time at home seemed to work well. I have already visited my office with our son and it was so great to see and catch up with my co-workers. Again please don’t think this scenario is perfect and please don’t persecute me if your thoughts on maternity leave are different. This is what has worked for me and for our family.
With that it’s about time for me to dust off my suit and high heels and return to work! Wish me luck…
Let’s hear from you
Anyone else subscribe to a grocery delivery service? Do you think it’s a service that worth the yearly membership fee? Has anyone tried the new non-dairy option from Ben and Jerry’s? Got some more recipes or blogs to check out with vegan recipes to try? Did your second or third born sleep through anything and everything too?