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Friday
Apr112014

Child Safe Cleaning Wipes 

Since having my babies I have become more concerned about what's in my cleaning solutions...  (**Snickers at the idea that I actually clean my house.)

Sometimes I clean. I am working on it, okay. Especially now that I have a baby that puts everything in his mouth. 

I have made all kinds of things from safe products like baking soda and dish soap. I have made washing machine soap, all-purpose spray, a tile cleaner and now this, an all-purpose wipe for a quick clean up on a busy day.

What you'll need:

1 tbsp Castile soap

4 tbsp baking soda Baking soda

1 cup Warm water

A roll of paper towels cut in half

An old plastic container- I used one that used to contain disposable wipes.

First I had to cut the paper towel in half using a serrated knife and remove the cardboard roll. This was hilarious. Paper towel pieces were everywhere! 

Next, pour your warm water, castile soap and baking soda into your plastic container and shake to mix. Then drop your paper towels into the container and shake again. Then pull one paper towel through the center of the roll. This will make it easier to grab a wipe in a pinch.

Viola. A super cleaner that lets you put a hutin' on the dirt, not the people you love.

 

Do you have a homemade wipe solution you love? 

Monday
Mar242014

Something's Gotta give: Why I quit cloth diapering… for now

Sometimes you just have to let something go. That's what I decided as I sprayed the poop off a cloth diaper while Issie screamed from his crib. 

You see we started cloth diapering our oldest son to combat horrible diaper rash. (He is pictured above in his adorable cloth diaper.) When our second son was born I assumed I would just continue cloth diapering him as well. 

But then I got to know Issie. Sweet, precious, loud, opinionated Issie. Issie doesn't sleep through the night. Issie who, at 10 months, still nurses round the clock. Issie who has given me a run for my money. He didn't like to be put down. He refuses a bottle and it took months before I could get through an entire church service without the sweet ladies in the nursery coming to get me to calm down a hysterical baby. 

Since Issie was born I have questioned every aspect of myself as a mother in a way I didn't with Ry. Issie is the beat of my heart, but he is not always an easy baby. I was tired and the laundry was piling up and I was nursing every two hours and Ry was hitting two and I was running a business and cooking meals for my family from scratch and trying to keep breathing. 

There are women who do all of the above and keep up their cloth diapering regimen. And that's great. I would NEVER discourage anyone from cloth diapering or breastfeeding or cooking from scratch or doing anything they feel is good for their family. 

But I had to let something go. 

And I don't feel like I have to justify myself, because I don't feel guilty about it. But I wanted to share this to say... it's okay to let something go. 

It might mean taking a break from cloth and putting my baby in pampers til I get I get my toddler potty trained. 

It might, for some, mean hitting up the Pizza Hut every once in a while for a break. 

A friend and I were recently talking about breastfeeding. I nursed Ry to a year and Issie is 10 months old and still nursing like a champ. She only nursed her oldest child for a short time and still had some guilt. I told her what I tell every mother who mentions this to me:

If there is something in a mother's life that is a source of stress, pain and anxiety, then it is no longer a healthy behavior and should be reevaluated. 

Whether it's cloth diapers, formula, going back to work, staying home full time, eating the occasional processed foods, letting your kid play with the iPad so you can shower... whatever it is... don't feel guilty. Let it go. Move on and live to mother another day. 

 

Friday
Mar142014

A Day in the Life of a Work at Home Mama with a toddler and an infant

Parenthood is hectic. Whether you stay at home, work at home or work outside the home. 

I have a two year old, Ry, and a nine month old, Issie. I run a small business (a very small business) from my home where I work part-time (very part time). I try to keep a clean house, stay on top of the laundry, get everyone to their appointments and make sure everyone is fed, clean and alive at the end of the day. 

Sometimes all of those things don't get done (minus the fed, clean and alive part). 

I thought I would let you guys peak inside our day. If you've been a long time reader you will notice that this is a lot different then the post I wrote on this topic almost two years ago

Or you can watch the video for a fun peak at our life. I am using a nursery school day as an example. Ry doesn't go everyday, but those days are the days I get a bulk of my work done. 

5:30- 6:00 a.m. Jason gets up to go to work, I have just fallen back asleep from feeding Issie. He's been up 2-3 times. 

7:00 - 7:30 a.m. Ry is singing from his crib. I go get him, give him some milk and let him watch PBS Kids while I fix some coffee and look through my email. 

8:00 - Shower, get up Isaac, nurse him then feed the boys breakfast. Ry is on a kick right now where he loves Peanut butter and cheesy scrambled eggs. I fix him one or the other. Isaac gets oats, yogurt and fruit. 

9:02- Oops, we're running late. I have to find Ry's shoes and brush everyone's teeth. Where did his jacket run off to???

9:19- Ry is at school! He loves it and it's been great for his speech. If Issie has a doctor's appointment, this is the day we will go. Or we will go grocery shopping or run errands. 

10:30- Back home, Issie nurses and goes down for a nap. This give me a great opportunity to work. I am doing more epublishing work, it's so much fun and I love it, but it requires concentration only nap time provides. 

11:30 - 12:00 - Issie is awake. I play with him, fold the laundry, load the dishwasher (which I have to do with him on my hip). He eats lunch. 

1:00- We are back at the school to get brother who had a GREAT day! 

1:30- This is our quiet time. We read books, play in the living room and calm down for nap time. Ry gets another sippy cup of milk and we read several books. He keeps asking for one more and I just keep reading.... I love this part of the day. 

2:00- Ry is down for a nap, nurse Issie. Then he goes down. And more work for mama. 

3:30- Issie is up. 

4:00- I have to wake up Ry. He is so grumpy. Then we paint, color, play in the playroom or go outside. 

5:00- Daddy's home!!!!!!!!!!!!!! More outside time, we might go to the park. 

6:00- Supper. I might have had something in the crock pot. I might be cooking it that night. We eat, Jason and I take turns feeding Issie. 

7:00 Bath time. Jason gives everyone a bath while I scrub down the kitchen. Ry goes to bed at 8:00 sharp! But Issie will wrestle with us til 9:30. Then he will be up 2-3 times. 

9:30- Jason and I do some work, fold clothes, balance the check book, boring adult stuff. Then we go to bed. We are reading through the Bible together. Right now we are reading Joshua. 

Lights out!

2:00 ... Issie's crying.... 

One days Ry isn't in school we will go to the library, spend time outside and work on Montessori learning. 

What's your day like? 

 

 

Wednesday
Mar052014

Waste not want not: the empty peanut butter jar

We threw away half our food last year. We wasted $165 billion. (source) By we I mean the United States. 

I am guilty of throwing things out, I shove then in the freezer with good intentions and then months later I toss them in the trash can. 

I talk a lot about meal planning here because it saves time and money, but it also reduces waste. 

I had been thinking a lot about this last week. I reached my hand into the cupboard to find an empty peanut butter jar. I got frustrated and went throw it out when I realized it wasn't empty. There was still a whole serving in there, I just had to get out my rubber spatula and scrap it out of the jar. Peanut butter is on average $.13 a serving. That $.13 wasn't going to make or break me, but it was principle. 

Sometimes saving something isn't about the money we save. It's about being grateful, not being wasteful, being good stewards of our resources and remembering that there is a person in the world for whom two tablespoons of peanut butter is a luxury. 

Saturday
Mar012014

No Spenduary Wrap up: Kick out Sallie Mae!

No Spenduary has drawn to a close. It really was not a big deal. I did buy some donuts to take to a friend, but I feel that was an extenuating circumstance. A friend in need of carbohydrates is a friend indeed. 

This was an eye-opening experience, even for a thrifty family. We saw where our money was going. It was easy for my husband to spend $20 a week buying breakfast rather than making his own. 

However, when I showed him how much cheaper and healthier making his own breakfast would be he went with it.  (He leaves for work before 6 a.m. I am not getting up that early!)

Or it was easy for us to hit the drive through on the way home from church. But I realized I could just throw something in the slow cooker and be done! 

It was so easy for me to see a great deal on a coupon blog and think "I have to have that now!" rather than budgeting for it and waiting. 

Delayed gratification, my friends. I was late to learn that principle. 

But when I sat down and balanced our checkbook after four weeks of no spending I was thrilled to see all that extra cash in the bank! Then I immediately kicked myself, why don't we live like this every month? 

This month forced us to be intentional with our money. We had to make a list, a plan, and stick to it. 

We learned that genoristy on a budget is possible. 

We had free family fun and made great memories. 

The best part of the month was PAYING OFF MY HUSBAND'S STUDENT LOANS!!!! This was the last little piece of our debt and we had been chipping away at that loan for eight years. Bam! We got it done. We kicked Sallie Mae out of our house. 

I am not saying that not spending money in February made the difference between paying them off and not paying them off, but it certainly didn't hurt. 

I do go shopping Saturday, for shoes for my son, with a coupon. I used cash and didn't go over my set limit. But we have committed to no more Sunday drive through, no more fast food breakfasts and a more conscious mind toward spending. 

Come back next week and I will talk about paying off $36,000 in debt in two years!!