Friday, November 8, 2013

Granola Mom Or Just {Cheap&Lazy}

A while back I read a post on one of the pregnancy forums that went something along the lines of Where are the granola moms at? The breastfeeding, baby wearing, cosleeping, baby food making, cloth diapering moms. And I thought I do almost all of those things but I'm not granola at all. I'm just {cheap & lazy}.

I breastfeed because formula is expensive and honestly when I had my first child it never really occurred to me that there was an alternative. I just thought breastfeeding was what you did. My daughter did have formula. We had a rocky start so we supplemented sometimes. And I lost my supply around nine months when I returned to work so we finished off her first year on only formula. I have nothing against it besides the fact that its expensive and breast milk is free. And easier most of the time. My son is just over two months and has never had formula. At this point I'm starting to feel like its a game. Let's see how long we can go without buying formula. Challenge accepted!

Baby wearing seemed obvious too. Why fumble around getting a bulky stroller in and out of the car when you can throw your kid in a carrier and go? And why not have your hands free to do stuff around the house when they just want to snuggle? Again, it just seemed easier.

Now cosleeping, this one is definitely me being lazy. My babies always start out in their beds but then I have to feed them and I'm exhausted so we lay down in bed and I pass out. A few hours later we wake up with everything still hanging out so we pop it back in and I'm back asleep.

Making baby food was an obvious money saver to me. Those cute little jars are so expensive and most of them don't smell all that appetizing. So I thought why not just blend up the same food we eat? They're going to be eating it soon enough anyway.

The only "granola" thing I wasn't doing according to her post was cloth diapering. I wanted to try CDing from the time {The Bean} was a baby but there are so many choices it was just too intimidating. Plus the initial investment seemed pretty steep. But over time it's supposed to be a huge money saver which was the reason I was interested. Of course with her I was never able to take the leap. But now that I've had my second baby it keeps popping into my head again. I was fortunate during this pregnancy to join an amazing group of ladies that were all due within the same week that I was. A few of them cloth diaper and have been nice enough to answer my millions of questions even though I know they're probably thinking "just do it or shut up already!" So today I finally ordered my first cloth diapers. Three of them to be exact, for $5 a piece. They won't be here for a few weeks but I hope I like it and can save a bunch of money with it.

One thing that wasn't on her list that seems a little "granola" to me is home schooling. But now that {The Bean} is getting older I'll admit, I've thought about it a few times. But in the end, the socialization she'll get at public school along with the free time I'll get will always win out. We are having fun doing our own preschool lesson plans though and I am always amazed by what a little genius she is.

So am I a granola mom? I'm still going to say no. Will I do whatever I have to do to save money and make things easier for myself? Am I {cheap and lazy}? You bet ya! But I can't imagine being a mom any other way!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

{Chore} Charts

If you look at my Pinterest board lately you will find all kinds of awesome chore charts and systems for both kids and adults. Since I've been pregnant, I have been so tired and last thing I want to do is spend hours cleaning the house. I have considered all kinds of charts, lists, and incentives to help get the job done.

Lately we've had a lot of company staying at our house. It seems like when company is coming, that is the only time our house gets really clean. So we deep cleaned everything for the first wave of people. By the time we were getting ready for the third wave I realized {WARNING: huge no brainer here} that it's much easier to clean the house when it's been done recently. Duh! So rather than get behind and then spend an entire Saturday catching up I decided I needed a chart that did a little each day. I knew I had to make it be just a little or we'd never stick to it.

Last night I came across a blog post on Pinterest called I Don't Do Spring Cleaning and of course it caught my eye because I don't do spring cleaning either! So I started reading through and saw that she uses a list called 31 Days to a Clean Home by Clean Mama. If you haven't check out her blog before, do it. It's awesome! I've actually printed this same list and used it for one month. Probably need to do it again...

The second list she talks about is from Tip Junkie. This list is called Week at a Glance Cleaning Check List. I really liked the concept of this list since it had a couple jobs to be done each day and some to be done each week. But I felt like it wasn't quite right for our family. So I decided to tweak it and make it my own.


For the first month or two I plan to simply print it out and cross things off as we go. Then as we figure out what works and what doesn't I'll make a few changes and re-print it in color and laminate it. Then we'll cross things off each week with a dry erase marker.

Of course I couldn't leave {The Bean} out though. She loves to help around the house. She is constantly asking me "what job can I do?" So I tried to think of a few of the jobs that she can do and created her own chore chart just like Mommy and Daddy's.


I know that her chart will be changing all the time as she grows and develops new skills. And I know that our new system won't be perfect. But hopefully over time, as we develop new habits, it can become perfect for us.

I also plan to create a master to-do list for those big jobs like cleaning and organizing the storage unit. I found a home management binder that I {love} that includes a master to-do list at DIY Home Sweet Home. If you are thinking of doing a home management binder you have to check out her free printables. I've got the entire binder saved and I'm trying to decide if I want to tweak it for me or just print it as it. I'm thinking of tweaking it along with a few other binder kits so they all match.

Thank you to the following for allowing us to take something from your closets:

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My {New Year} Resolution

I hadn't really put any thought into a resolution for this year. In fact, I figured I would just skip it since I never stick with it anyway. But tonight I was looking through Pinterest for home stuff and it came to me. I've been wanting to re-do Ellie's room since the last time I did was before she was born. I've also wanted to makeover our laundry room cause I've found tons of cute ideas for it online. And it's a small enough room I think I can actually do it without getting overwhelmed like I usually do when I start thinking of decorating our home. I also have a couple closets and a pantry that are in desperate need of some attention.

So I've decided to come up with twelve projects and tackle one each month. The biggest stress in my life {after my child} is coming home from work and seeing all the work I have to do around the house. Not to mention the fact that I HATE cleaning especially with a toddler around that instantly dirties whatever I just cleaned. I hope that by better organizing our home, it will be easier to keep it clean and life will be less stressful which will result in a much happier me. So here’s my list and a couple ideas for them. If you have any helpful ideas I am all ears!!
 

{January}              Pantry Makeover
This task is first because it is the worst right now. Plus I’ve noticed a weird smell lately so I need to figure that out soon. I also want to work on gathering extra food for food storage this year so I’d like to get it organized so we can fit more in there and it will be easier to see what we have and rotate it.
Pinned Image
http://pinterest.com/pin/47006389832342452/
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http://pinterest.com/pin/127297126936984894/
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http://pinterest.com/pin/47006389832428182/

{February}             Master Closet
This is also very much a need right now. Imagine a bomb full of shoes and clothes that exploded in a little room. This project will also include going through my clothes and getting rid of what I don’t wear because right now so much of it doesn’t fit or is worn out. I feel like my closet it lying to me every time I go in to get dressed. It looks like lots of clothes but I have nothing to wear. I am also trying to learn how to put an outfit together better and how to mix and match so I need to start with a good foundation.
Pinned Image
http://pinterest.com/pin/47006389831725610/

{March}                Hall Bathroom
The reason this is toward the top of the list is because it’s always so hard to find things in there. And we have a drawer full of medication that isn’t locked up but luckily {The Bean} hasn’t shown any interest in. I feel like this needs to be remedied before it causes a problem. Finally, there are certain items I feel every guest bathroom should have {extra TP, spare toiletries (womanly and hygiene), a garbage can, clean towels, and a clean hand towel}. So many times I’ve been placed in the awkward situation at someone else’s house where I’m searching through drawers looking for toilet paper or I wash my hands and I’m trying to shake them dry so I don’t have to walk out with wet hand prints on my pants.
Pinned Image
http://pinterest.com/pin/47006389832428002/
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http://pinterest.com/pin/47006389832426308/
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http://pinterest.com/pin/47006389831186692/

{April}                   Master Bathroom
This task is next because it should be easier to do it right after doing the other bathroom. This is the bathroom that we use most {obviously} and it gets dirty easily. I’m hoping with a little organization it will be easier to find what we need and put it away afterward so the counter isn’t always covered in stuff. It could also use a good deep clean. I tend to clean house from the front to the back and the master bathroom and closet are at the VERY back.
Pinned Image
http://pinterest.com/pin/47006389832426319/

{May}                    Storage Unit
We really wanted to do this before it got cold but we didn’t get around to it. But as soon as it gets warm out it will be done! Since we basically have unlimited storage we through a lot of stuff in our storage unit and offer to keep other people’s stuff for them for what so far seems to be unlimited amounts of time. I really want to get some shelves and get our holiday decorations and seasonal gear set up in a way that it is quick and easy to get to.

{June}                  {The Bean’s} Bedroom
I figure since her birthday in is June this would be a good time to re-do her room. I’ve wanted to get her a bigger bed for a while. I’d love to get a full size bed so we can use it when guests come but the room isn’t very big so we’ll probably end up with a twin. A twin would still be fine though because then she can use my old bedroom set.
Pinned Image
http://pinterest.com/pin/47006389832220249/
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http://pinterest.com/pin/104708760058353078/

{July}                    Our Bedroom
Our bedroom is pretty sad looking right now and definitely needs some TLC. We’ve wanted to get a bedroom set for years but can never afford the ones we like. So my plan for our room is to get really lucky and find some furniture at yard sales/thrift stores for super cheap that I can spruce up and we can enjoy until we can afford our dream set, someday!
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http://pinterest.com/pin/47006389832314585/
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http://pinterest.com/pin/47006389831477758/

{August}               Surprise!
August is {The Man’s} birthday month so I have a special project I have planned for him but in case of the very slim chance that he ever looks at my blog I’m not going to post it yet.

{September}          Front Closet
September is hot. So hot that I never feel like doing anything so picked a small project for this month. I may add a couple other small projects if I feel like it. This might be a good time to tackle the junk drawer or maybe the never ending paper piles.
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http://pinterest.com/pin/47006389832428088/
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http://pinterest.com/pin/47006389832428080/

{October}              Hall Closet
This is sort of the ‘catch all’ for everything that is too big for the junk drawer including holiday decorations, linens, board games, tools, Scentsty scents, wall hangings that aren’t hanging, boxes, etc., etc., etc. It’s getting a little over crowded.

{November}           Craft Room
Hopefully by next November it will be cleaner than it is right now but I’d love to get some little baskets and shelves to organize my supplies better.
Pinned Image
http://pinterest.com/pin/47006389831725727/

{December}           Laundry Room
I saved this for last because it isn’t exactly a necessity although I would like to have our cleaning supplies a little more organized. I’ve come across so many ideas on Pinterest for laundry rooms that I’d love to try a few out. A few ideas for this room include a small deep freeze, a rack to hang wet clothes, and some stacked clothes baskets. I also want to find some space in here for emergency supplies.
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http://pinterest.com/pin/47006389832400209/
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http://pinterest.com/pin/47006389831105555/
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http://pinterest.com/pin/47006389832310355/
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http://pinterest.com/pin/47006389832427898/
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http://pinterest.com/pin/47006389832427902/

 
Looking at my list right now it looks like a lot of work but hopefully spacing it out over the next twelve months will make it doable if not easy. {The Man} and {The Bean} will be leaving town soon for a weekend so I’m hoping to tackle the pantry then. I’ve come across a few pantry organization pins lately including one using supplies mostly from the dollar store so I’ll be putting together my plan soon.
So it looks like over the next few months you'll literally see what's inside my closets. :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

{Melted} Snowman Ornaments

I cannot believe how easy these were to make and how stinkin' cute they turned out! I've seen them all over Pinterest (search melted snowman ornament) and after looking at a few different blogs I learned one thing: you can pretty much use whatever supplies you want! If you know me, I'm a 'use what I have on hand cause I don't want to put shoes on and go to the store' kind of girl so this is perfect for me!


All of my supplies came from Walmart, Michael's and my craft room. I already had the glass bulbs from the No Mess {Glitter} Ornaments post that I did earlier. As I was making these I thought it might be better to use plastic bulbs in case the kids want to play with it but I realized quickly that the snowman will get lost if the bulb is shaken up. I'm not sure how to prevent this {so let me know if you have ideas!} but I figured if the ornament was glass it would be less likely to get into tiny hands. But on the other hand, if it does get broken, it will be messy. So you decide!


If you don't have a funnel, take an envelope, cut off the corner and then snip the corner of that. Voila! Instant funnel! You'll also want a stick or tweezers to place items where you want them in the bulb. I used a chop stick but I think anything long and skinny would work. The spoon is for measuring the snow. I measured the first one and then just dumped the rest in until they were close to the same level. Add as much or as little as you want. I liked them about 1/3 full. Just remember, the more you add, the heavier your ornament will be.
I've found many variations for the snow, eyes and buttons. Use what looks good to you. I liked the subtle sparkle of the epson salt, the jagged twinkle of the beads, and the tiny buttons were just adorable!
For the scarves I used some fabric that I had left over from a blanket I made years ago for my husband. It was the most scarf-y material I had. Use whatever you have on hand or try the scrap bin at the fabric store. You don't need very much at all. Mine are about 3 inches long but again, do what looks good to you!
If you can find mini carrots, awesome! Saves you a step. Maybe try a doll making shop. Possibly Hobby Lobby. My Hobby Lobby is 30 minutes away so I opted to make my own out of clay. They turned out so cute though I think I prefer it this way.


Assembly turned out to be much quicker and easier than I thought it would be. This would make a fun kids craft or little or big kids. And if your little kids make one and end up shaking it up, it becomes a seek and find ornament! Bonus!

If you have any questions, suggestions, or if you make your own please feel free to leave a comment!
 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

No Mess {Glitter} Ornaments

Quick and easy craft! No mess {glitter} ornaments. The trick is, the {glitter} is on the inside so it doesn't get all over everything. You can leave them plain like the one I did below or personalize them anyway you want using vinyl, stickers, paint, ribbon, etc. I plan to add vinyl and ribbon to mine later.
 
Supplies:
Clear Ornament
Adhesive and Water OR Pledge Floor Care Finish
Glitter {fine works best}
Embellishments including ribbon, paint, and vinyl
 
I used what I had on hand which was a mixture of Alene's Tack It Over and Over adhesive {found at craft stores} and water. But I later found a blog that uses floor wax. I don't know which is better but I do want to try their technique.
The first step is obviously get a clear bulb. I found mine at Hobby Lobby for half off. I believe it was $4 for a pack of 12. I also got some giant bulbs that I'm excited to decorate!
Now remove the top carefully. When I made my bulb I made a mixture of glue and water and added it to the bulb. Not sure exactly how much of each but it was pretty runny. I rolled the ornament around so the entire inside was covered. Then I dumped the rest back into my bottle. Make sure to roll it, not shake it. You don't want the glue to bubble up. Next I poured in my {glitter}. Again roll it around so all the sides are covered. Cover the hole with your finger and lightly shake it so it covers around the opening. Finally, dump the excess {glitter} back into the container. You may have to tap, roll, and shake it to get it all out. Last, put the top back on and you're done! As you can see I have a lot of work still to do.
These are great if you don't like the mess from regular {glitter} ornaments or for a fun craft to do with the kids. Or maybe you just can't find the right color bulbs for your tree. I plan to personalize these with names and the year. Let me know how your no mess glitter ornaments turn out!
 
Thanks to the following for letting me take something from your closet!

Monday, October 29, 2012

28 Days of {GF} Freezer Meals

**THIS POST IS A WORK IN PROGRESS. SOME OF YOU HAVE BEEN ASKING FOR THE RECIPES I'VE BEEN USING SO I'LL START POSTING AS I GO. CHECK BACK FOR UPDATES**

The idea behind this project is two-fold. Save money by not eating out and by not wasting food and second make life easier when I get done working and am too tired to cook. I've been doing some research on this for a while. What freezes well, what doesn't, how long things last, etc. I also wanted to find some good {gluten free} meals so I wouldn't give in the peanut butter sandwich that is constantly calling my name since I was diagnosed {gluten intolerant}. When I've worked all day and I'm tired it is so easy to have a pb&j on {gluten} filled bread or just pour yet another bowl of cereal. This isn't very healthy for my family and it makes me feel extra lousy. So I decided I would put together a month's worth of meals that I could just pull out of the freezer and throw in the crock pot/microwave/oven. The reason I chose a month is because we only go grocery shopping once a month usually. You could do more or less. Perhaps start with two-four meals that you can do while the kids are napping. It's really up to you! Almost all of the recipes I'm using this month came from Jaima at Ring Around the Rosies. She has Celiac's disease so all of her recipes are {gluten free} which makes one less step for me. Being new to the {gluten free} world, I can't tell you how grateful I am for this. It can be pretty tough to get started. Now on to the good stuff!

{Breakfast}

Strawberry Banana Muffins



http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/04/more-freezer-cooking-meals-part-3.html

Mini Omelet Cups

 http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/08/freezer-cooking-part-5.html

Waffles

 Make according to GF Bisquick directions (or your favorite waffle recipe). Freeze flat and then put them in freezer bags. Defrost in microwave and then pop them in the toaster to crisp them up.

Banana Nut Muffins

 http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/08/freezer-cooking-part-5.html

Chex Cereal

 Not everything can come from the freezer! Like I've mentioned before, Chex makes multiple, delicious GF flavors.

Oatmeal

 Nothing warms you up on a cold morning like a bowl of oatmeal. Make sure to check for gluten!

{Lunch}

 Mini Corn Dog Muffins

 http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/02/freezer-meals-part-2.html

Individual Mac & Cheese

 http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/02/freezer-meals-part-2.html

Mini GF Piza Cups (20)


http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/04/more-freezer-cooking-meals-part-3.html

Mini Meat Loaf Cups

 http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/04/more-freezer-cooking-meals-part-3.html

Mini Spaghetti Cups

http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/08/freezer-cooking-part-5.html

Leftovers

Part of our goal was not to waste food so I know we'll be eating last night's dinner more than once!

{Dinner}

 Teriyaki Chicken

 http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/02/freezer-cooking.html
Bonus! Homemade Teriyaki Recipe
I searched everywhere and could not find a {GF} teriyaki sauce so I was worried I wasn't going to be able to make this recipe. But we really like teriyaki chicken so I had to find a way. I knew it was made using soy sauce and I did have some {GF} soy sauce so of course I turned to my new search engine, Pinterest, and came across this homemade version.
http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/homemade-teriyaki-sauce-no-msg-or-hfcs

BBQ Chicken

 http://www.imaceliac.com/2012/03/gluten-free-freezer-meals.html

BBQ Pork Chops

 http://www.imaceliac.com/2012/03/gluten-free-freezer-meals.html

Chicken Stir Fry

 http://www.imaceliac.com/2012/03/gluten-free-freezer-meals.html

Savory Chicken

 http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/02/freezer-cooking.html

Sweet & Tangy Meatballs w/ GF Spaghetti

 http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/02/freezer-cooking.html

Slow Cooked Beef Fajitas

 http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/02/freezer-meals-part-2.html

Beef Roast

 http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/02/freezer-meals-part-2.html

Cilantro Lime Chicken w/ Black Beans and Corn

 http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/04/more-freezer-cooking-meals-part-3.html

Divine Chicken

 http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/04/more-freezer-cooking-meals-part-3.html

Chicken Cassiatore

 http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/08/freezer-cooking-part-5.html

Pepper Steak

 http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/08/freezer-cooking-part-5.html

Taco Soup

 http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/08/freezer-cooking-part-5.html

Baked Green Chili Enchiladas

http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/08/freezer-cooking-part-5.html

For more {gluten free} recipes, follow me on Pinterest! http://pinterest.com/whitnichol/gluten-free-recipes/

Thanks to the following for letting me take something from your closets!

Friday, October 19, 2012

She's a {big girl} now!

Wet panties: 5  Poopy panties: 2  Potty: 1

Okay so maybe those stats don't exactly scream success but I do consider today to be a step in the right direction.

Right step #1   She wore panties all day. Usually once we're out of clean ones I break down and put her back in a diaper. Today we through them straight in the washer so we had more when we needed them. Potty training is really giving my washer a work out. Hopefully it will lead to better days ahead.

Right step #2   Lately when {The Bean} would go potty in her panties she would just sit in it and sometimes would even freak out if I tried to change her just like when she is in a diaper. It's my understanding that one component of successful potty training is when the child realizes they don't like sitting in soiled pants they want to use the potty to avoid that. Well today when she would wet her pants she would take them off. Was she using the toilet? No, but at least she's starting to realize dirty underpants aren't real fun.

Right step #3   Today I changed my attitude toward accidents. I'm still working on patience when it comes to cleaning poopy panties, in fact I would rather do ANYTHING else but when I don't get mad at her for having an accident a funny thing happens. I don't get mad. It's much easier to stick with something that isn't constantly ticking you off. I'm hoping that by taking some of the pressure off of her for having an accident, she will go back to wanting to do it herself.

We were actually doing really well for a while but one day she just decided she didn't want to do it anymore. So we took a break but now we're going all the way wether I like it or not. Some people might say that changing methods and taking breaks won't work because kids need consistency. But if something isn't working being consistent is not going to change that. When we find our groove we will work on consistency.

What are some of your potty training tricks?