Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tips And Hints Tuesday - My Binder...

....is not finished.

It's functioning well for me and I've been debating all morning on whether or not to show it to you (as I've actually gotten some requests to see it!) because it isn't perfect.

But then, As I sit here, I'm thinking - it doesn't need to be perfect, it needs to be functional.

You all know I use my daily life organizer and I posted a link to what it looks like on last week's Tips And Hint's Tuesday. Basically it has a list of chores to do each day, spread out over the week, slots to check off my water intake, Bible reading and blogging.

Then in my binder I have dividers that allow me to plan out my day in a more detailed way. I'll write down everything that needs accomplished in the order I want to do it.

I have a tab and loose leaf paper for meal planning, projects, longer term to-dos, shopping lists, budgeting, and a pocket in the back to hold my coupons. It's really nice to have everything in one spot and when I think of something - I can quickly jot it down in the appropriate area helping me not to forget things! There's also a folder in there to hold miscellaneous things. It's been really great and for the most part, I'm sticking with it. I don't beat myself up if I miss something - but it's easy to get back on track - and things are getting done.

Here are a couple poor quality pictures of my primitive little binder.

This photo is flipped, but it's the front of the binder showing where I jot down my detailed daily plans.
This is the back of the binder which shows my coupon pocket and the folder for stray items.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Money Monday - Christmas Shopping...Now?

It's not so ironic that I'm already thinking about money this morning! Since it's the 30th, I was really hoping my paycheck would hit the bank today instead of tomorrow (the 31st), but I must wait another day. Oh well, I supposed we will survive. Looks like a spaghetti night for dinner, $10 in the gas tank, and one more day to stay away from retail therapy.

Since we had a month without a mortgage payment, we've been really trying to save enough this month to put that money into our savings account in order to replace some of what was used in the move. Sitting down to budget for September has been somewhat daunting as our mortgage and utilities have increased, we need more car and home repairs, and we have a baby on the way!

With all of this going on - I'm going to be very diligent (starting now) about saving for the holidays, and Christmas shopping early. I figured we can probably do Christmas in $400 or less this year, so if we save $100 a month, starting now - we should be good.

I also want to be done shopping by mid November since I'm due December 1. Who needs the stress of holiday shopping in the middle of December with a newborn and a Kindergartner? NOT ME!

So today - if you're with me, mentally plan out how you'll pay for Christmas this year. Set aside $5 here and $10 there. I know - I've never done it before either - but you'll be so glad when December comes around and you have money set aside for gifts! You can leave that credit card at home! Now that's getting rid of holiday stress!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Scrumptious Saturday - Making

We had two of our favorite guests for dinner tonight and decided to make our own pizzas! We had a great time. I didn't feel like ordering out because I'm sick of fast food, preservatives, and not knowing what's in my food.

So, I made some homemade sauce, pulled some part-skim and fresh mozzarella from the fridge, and started my own quick wheat pizza dough recipe which you can find here at Hillbilly Housewife. I used 2 cups of wheat flour and 2 cups of white. The dough tasted great and the recipe was requested by Cierra herself :)

I liked this activity because we all had fun. Hannah - who's 5, all the way to Cierra - who's 11.

Here are some pictures of our good time.

Truly a scrumptious Saturday!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Family Friday - Getting Ready for #2

You all saw my embarrassing pictures I posted of Emma's room a week or two ago. If you want to ogle at it, it's right here.

Well, I haven't posted the pictures, but the NEXT DAY - her room looked like this:

I would say that's a significant improvement for one day! Now to get rid of that carpet and redo the floors. Im ready to get this show on the road! I'll keep you updated on our progress with that. 

I'm itching to do something fun tonight. I want to buy things. I want new furniture for our bedroom and side table lamps. I wanted wall lamps, but I know the cords will drive me INSANE! Any tips on that?

I'm just looking forward to hanging out with my family this weekend. Hannah has an appointment at the eye doctor this afternoon after we have lunch with a student who has graduated and is leaving us to move across the country for college. HOW RUDE! :)

It is the last Friday I'll have with my baby before she's in Kindergarten all day every day. She's so excited! 

Well, off to be efficient!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thankful Thursday!

Yesterday was a little bit exhausting for me! I got a lot of stuff done, but ended up working a lot more than I had planned and snapping at Hannah too much.

This morning I feel fresh and ready to start my day! After about seven and a half hours of sleep I've done a half hour of yoga, read my Bible, made my bed, cleaned the downstairs bathroom and got Hannah breakfast.

I AM THANKFUL FOR MY NEW SCHEDULE. Hannah and I both do so much better on a schedule. I'm much more productive and less lazy. I have been scheduling EVERYTHING, from an hour to rest, to blogging, even playtime with Hannah.

Scheduling allows me to not feel guilty stopping one thing and moving on to the next. It also helps me not to feel SO overwhelmed about everything that needs done, that I do nothing.

Also - I'm thankful for the sweet little girl who sings to my belly, and for the one inside who kicks back.

I'm thankful for my sweet husband who waits on me hand and foot and puts up with my minor mood swings.

Lastly, this morning, I'm thankful for PRETZEL M&Ms!

Hope you all have a day where you can find things to be thankful for all around you!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wellness Wednesday - Easy Ways to Maintain A Healthy Weight

Well, if you're trying to manage you're weight and you're anything like me, you can put away food without even realizing how much you're consuming. Some days I just try to forget what I ate because I am able to consume massive quantities without batting an eyelash!

I'm not a fan of dieting, eating only sprouts and grapefruit, or counting points. What has worked for me in the past consists of 4 very simple steps.

1. 30 minutes of cardio most days. I don't beat myself up if I miss a day, but my rule is - I can't miss more than one day in a row.

2. One Plate Rule No seconds. This is hard for me because I like to pick - especially when I'm putting food away.

3. Keep A Food Log Write down what you're eating. You'll be surprised at how much you're consuming with a little taste here and a little snack there.

4. Don't Eat After 6pm period.

As you can see, my tips do not include specific foods although I eat fruits and vegetable every day. I allow myself junk here and there and I eat dessert...every day. I need something sweet!

At this point - you can't totally model yourself after me because I'm gaining a half a pound a week! But, before I started growing a baby, I was able to maintain a very healthy weight and BMI by doing these things.

Start that log today! And remember, write it ALL down! You'll be less likely to eat randomly if you have to account for it!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tips And Hints Tuesday - More On Organization

Call it nesting or call it the start of a busy school year, but I have an itch to get everything in order. Lately, I've been feeling like I'm accomplishing a quarter of what needs done in a day. I'm finding that I become so overwhelmed with what needs to be done, that I do nothing. So, last night I took the bull by the horns.

If you're feeling like I did last night, let me recommend some ideas to get you back on track. Who knows how long it will last, but so far I feel fresh and ready to go.

A while back I showed you my Daily Life Organizer. Since moving and having life change, I've altered it a bit to suit me now, but I'm going to try to pick this back up again. But before I even looked at that, I sat down with a piece of paper and wrote down the goals that were important for me to maintain each day. These are things that I feel fulfill my family and me on a daily basis.

My list looked like this (in no particular order):

Bible Reading
Active play with hannah
Meal planning
Time with Matt
Catch up on Scrapbooking
Computer time
Emma's Room

If you look at my list - not one item includes cleaning...perplexing.

I look at it this way - In order to accomplish the above goals - I need to organize my day so that I have TIME for the things I WANT to do.

So (and I realize this sounds neurotic) - I planned out my day today - last night. I wrote down what I want to have accomplished during time frames the entire day. Crazy? Maybe. But, I find myself killing hours doing virtually nothing and have nothing to show for my day at bed time, leaving me feeling useless, unaccomplished, and still overwhelmed with what needs done.

So, today's tip is to PLAN YOUR DAY. Write it down and check it off.  It will get you motivated and help you to accomplish your to dos. I find writing it on paper is better for me than typing it on a computer.

Next week - I'll let you in on the Organizational Binder I'm creating. Hopefully I'll still be using it by then!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Spiritual Sunday - A Glimpse Into The Future - From the Past

I find it fascinating to see what God said through the prophets about the coming of Christ. Back in Chronicles, as David is thinking about building a better housing structure for the ark, God reminds him, through the prophet Nathan what his real purpose is, and I find it simply amazing.

"And now I declare that the Lord will build a house for you - a dynasty of Kings! For when you die, I will raise up one of your sons, and I will make his kingdom strong. He is the one who will build a house - a temple - for me. And I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father and he will be my son. I will not take my unfailing love from him as I took it from Saul, who ruled before you. I will establish him over my dynasty and my kingdom for all time and his throne will be secure forever."

1 Chronicles 17:10-14 (NLT)

Imagine how David felt. Jesus was to come from his bloodline. It's just fascinating to me, as well as a reminder of the might and power of God!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wellness Wednesday - What's lurking in your hair/skin products

Say hello to 25 weeks. It's 3am as I type this post and can't sleep because Hannah is having some pre-K jitters and I have some sort of pregnancy related stuffed up nose that's driving me NUTS!

Other than that and my large butt, I'm feeling fine and so is the rest of the family which I'm thankful for.

On to Wellness Wednesday:

Natural and organic products can be so expensive, but do you know what's in your shampoo? Your makeup? Many of us have heard of the term parabens and that they're bad, but why? Last time I checked (5 days ago) Johnson and Johnson still has them in their baby wash - so it can't be that bad right?

I was reading an article in this month's Taste For Life magazine that I receive free at the health food store near me and it made me shudder once again.

"Parabens are preservatives found in 75-90% of all conventional beauty care products. They can travel to body tissue and mimic the hormone estrogen." Have you heard of the rise in breast cancer? It has an entire awareness month! Much of the breast cancer seen recently is "estrogen fed." So many products (including soy) mimic estrogen in the body and are worth taking a second look at. It's been all but unanimously decided that synthetic estrogen is less than ideal for women going through menopause, but look at the other ways it's sneaking into our bodies!

"Propylene glycol is used to help seal in moisture, but it can contain impurities such as LEAD, NICKLE, or [get this!] ARSENIC!! It is also the active ingredient in ANTIFREEZE." This sickens me. Look at your makeup containers and your children's shampoo bottles, but stand near the toilet in case this bother's you as much as it bother's me.

Suave Naturals brand is an inexpensive way to avoid some of this. Their shampoo and body washes for children lack the aforementioned items, but I just checked my body wash which contains propylene glycol.

Obviously everything seems to be bad for us these days, and we can't win. I just suggest making minor changes where you can. Too much can be expensive and overwhelming, but education is the best weapon. BE INFORMED.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tips And Hints Tuesday - Home Organization

I don't know if it's early nesting or what, but I have been wanting everything to be in it's place. The baby's room is a mess and is going to need to be started soon - but for the last 5 months, I've been throwing anything and everything baby related in there. In fact, as of a few days ago, you couldn't even open the door. I would have taken a picture if I could have.

I've been throwing all of my maternity clothes in there and every baby item given to me to borrow or have - not to mention all of Hannah's outgrown clothes. It's a mess. And, as I just went in there to take before pictures - I just realized why I never actually post before pictures. It's embarrassing. But, I must squelch the preconceived notions some of you have of me, thinking that I'm always neat - because it is as far from the truth as it could be. Ask my mom :)

So, please keep in mind, that I have actually STARTED in this room. I have sorted and labeled maternity clothes and put most of them in my drawers after saying goodbye to the last of my pre pregnancy pants and tiny tees.

This is what I'm working on.

That's not every angle, but it's all you're getting.

So, my tip for you today to motivate you to move is to SNAP A COUPLE BEFORE PICTURES! I guarantee you'll  be motivated to take some "afters!" I'll include mine in the MONTHS ahead. We're a ways off completion in this room

Monday, August 16, 2010

Money Monday - Snagging Deals

An update on the depleted emergency fund after our home purchase? By the end of this month we will be 57% of the way there, and then we'll need to start saving for cars.

Today's Monday Post is about "deals." How often do you shrug sales/deals/coupons off, or throw them away because it's only a few dollars, or you can't make time for them?

Tonight, we went to Kohls. I didn't feel like going, but we went. We had received a $10 coupon in the mail and we tried to use it last week, before it was valid and had to put our $10 worth of stuff back because I am so cheap!

We went back today and got a new bed pillow for Matt, a three way picture frame for me, and a shirt for "Red White & Blue Day" for Hannah and we paid...get this...$1.66. They weren't frivolous purchases because we have been thinking about buying those things and we spent next to nothing to get them.

Sometimes it's worth paying attention to what comes in the mail, coupons, circulars, or random deals. If you scout, you can get some great deals - just make sure you know what you're looking for and what you need.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Spiritual Sunday

I'm just reminded in my devotions how beautiful, mighty and powerful my God is.

Let the whole world sing to the Lord!
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.
Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!

1 Chronicles 16:23-24 (NLT)

Isn't that a beautiful reminder?

I'm still on my journey through the Bible - though it is moving slowly. I'm not quitting!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Scrumptious Saturday - Asian Grilled Green Beans

I have air conditioning, but my kitchen becomes STIFLING when I cook and it's hot outside, so we've been using our grill. I made these green beans and even Hannah, who prefers canned, said they were her favorite.


1tbsp brown sugar
1tbsp canola oil (can use sesame oil)
1 tbsp teriyaki sauce (gluten free if need be)
1/4 tsp garlic powder (to taste)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
1 1/2 lb. fresh green beans, cleaned with ends snapped
1 medium sweet onion thinly sliced

In a bowl combine and mix first five ingredients and onion. Toss in green beans and coat well.

Put the vegetables and sauce mixture on top of two sheets of heavy duty foil (about 18 inches). You can do two pouches if you need too. Roll foil edges up to create packet and seal completely.

Place on the grill for 18-22 minutes (25 minutes if you like your green beans soft like we do)

Remove and open carefully.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Family Friday - Reflections

3 & 4 year old first day of preschool pictures.

It always surprises me when I become emotional about something I don't think I'm going to get emotional about.

Enter my firstborn starting Kindergarten in 3 weeks.

She's ready. She's excited. She will thrive.

I'm ready. I'm excited. I will thrive too.

At least I THOUGHT all that stuff.

As of two nights ago I decided:

I'm not ready - I could use another year.

I'm not excited - I'm afraid she'll get lost on her way from my car to her classroom.

I will not thrive - I will be lonely.

I know these feelings are normal, I just didn't expect to have them. I burst into tears as I was laying in bed the other night thinking about how I will see my daughter for MAYBE 4 hours a day after 5 years of having her attached at my hip. I don't do anything by myself.

I had to think; have I used the time I've had with her to the best of my capabilities? Did I teach her all she needed to know before starting school? How to behave? How to be kind? How to be strong and independent?

Did I yell too much? Did I play enough? Does she know how much I love her? Will she be safe?

All that to say, the next day, we read books, sang songs, played barbies and I let her paint my toes. :)

I'm going to miss having my baby girl with me all day every day. I know there will be plusses, and with the new baby coming soon, it'll ultimately be a blessing, but I can't help but shed a tear over a season ending.

I'm very glad, however, at the season beginning. I'm excited for Hannah and I know she's ready to embark on this new adventure! So, I'll be ready too, to hold her hand and guide her through albeit from a further distance than I'd prefer!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thankful Thursday!

I'm generally pretty thankful these days.

But lately.....besides all the normal stuff, I'm thankful for this.

I heart my dishwasher. It's as close to cloning myself as I've managed to get!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wellness Wednesday - Water

I really need to get back into regular blogging because I miss it, and because Facebook can't handle all my thoughts and comments!

Today I am 24 weeks pregnant and feeling very well. I wish I could eat a little less, but it's a bit out of control :)

I've managed to continue a pretty normal exercise routine which I'm very glad about. I'd like to keep exercising until delivery, but realistically, I may have to slow things down to a walk during the last month. I have 16 weeks to go!

Here's my 24 week picture:

Anyhow, I do have a wellness Wednesday discussion for you. WATER! 

Typically, I could go an entire day without a drink of ANYTHING. I'm not generally a thirsty person and I don't love water. Give me juice, and I'll drink the entire half-gallon in a day. But, since I don't like to drink my calories, I usually drink NOTHING.

That's just not working for me now. It's so amazing how getting enough water changes your body. You fill up faster, and if you have digestive issues, getting enough of it may completely restore you to regularity. And, during this heat, swelling, water retention, and dehydration are a given! It is also thought that many headache-sufferers are lacking in water intake.

When I drink my full 8 glasses of water, I feel completely different - but it can be hard to get it in.

This is how I get water down:

Get a BPA free water bottle that you really like. I love this one in pink at Target.

Get the packets of Crystal Light Pure Fitness packets and sprinkle a little bit in your water every once in a while. No artificial sweeteners! 

Make a conscious effort to fill up a glass and drink it down in between meals. Chugging water at meals inhibits digestion.

When at a restaurant, try to drink your first glass of water before your meal comes.

Drink it at room temperature. It goes down easier.

So - go get some water :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tips And Hints Tuesday - School Organization

As I struggle to believe that this little girl...

is now this little girl...

...I must think about school starting and organization. It's getting late, but we still do not have Hannah's teacher assignment, or instructions for the first day. However, the school calendar came out and I put all of dates she has off as well as holidays and school makeup days on my calendar.

Doing this will help you to have this information at your fingertips when planning family vacations and activities.

If you don't use a regular calendar, get one and use it.

Here are some of my back to school tips:

1. Put dates on your calendar: show and tell, school breaks, and permission slip due dates as soon as they come in.
3. Have a folder or a centrally located bin for each child's papers and stuff.
4. For every piece of artwork you save - throw three away. If you feel guilty about this, explain to your child that he or she must pick a favorite and toss the rest his/herself. There's just not enough room for all that paper clutter.
5. Have a clearly set after school routine. Your kids will appreciate it. I believe ours will look something like this.
6. Pack those backpacks and lunches at NIGHT so you're not rushing in the morning.

15-30 minutes to relax/snack
Family Time/Play Time

Find what works for you, but have a plan. Things go much smoother.

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