Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Meals for the MONTH

In an effort to eat better we're buying a bulk of our food from a local farmer. So, I needed to plan out most of the month (so we only have to make one trip)

Pesto Tilapia
Mexican Shepherd's Pie
Pork Chops
Cajun Night
Mexican Lasagna
Pork Roast
Fried Chicken
Ravioli
Salmon and Rice
Roast Chicken
Spicy Sausage and Rice Casserole
Cabbage Hamburger Bake
Lacquered Chicken
Pork Chop Potato Bake
Chorizo Egg and Bean Tacos
Chicken Oreganato
Stuffed Zucchini
Chinese Night
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Fried Tilapia
Hamburgers
Chili
Hot Dogs


So, that's my list. It's pretty much in order. Some things will be done more than once...and this month I vow to include photos and instructions at least once a week!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

An Explanation...and Under the Sink

So...my son has been extra clingy and fussy as of late. It's very hard to put him down, let alone get anything done. By the time he does nap I'm emotionally drained and don't feel like doing much. So, my cleaning took a backseat and so did my blog.

I'll try to do better this week!

I'm going to just give out the rest of the steps for organizing under your sink...spread them out as you see fit.

  1. Get rid of things that don't belong. (This was covered in a previous post)
  2. Get rid of expired products.
    1. Almost everything has an expiration date. Vitamins are only good for so long. After they reach a certain age they stop being effective and, depending on the vitamin, can actually be dangerous. Same thing with anything containing chemicals (face creams, washes, soaps, etc...) Toss these items. I'm willing to bet that you'll throw away at least 5 items in the process.
  3. If you haven't used it in the past 6 months reevaluate if you need it or not. If it's been more than a year, toss it!
    1. This is a basic when you're decluttering. If you haven't used it in 6 months or more, you probably don't need it taking up space. The only exceptions are expensive products ($50 bottle of perfume that you only wear on special occasions) or products that you don't need right now (feminine products while you're pregnant or nursing)
  4. Utilize storage you have.
    1. Do you have a large bin that you can put all of your lotions in? Use it. Have a Rubbermaid that you can put all of your jewelry in? Use it. Large gift bag that a birthday/Christmas gift came in? I'm sure you can find a use for it.
  5.  Make things easily accessable.
    1. Try to put the products you use most often toward the front of the space. That lotion you use daily goes in front of the lotion you use on special occasions.

That's it. Those are the steps. Try to do one a day. Send me your before and after photos and I'll put them up on the blog!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tackling Under The Sink Part 1

Okay, this week we're tackling that space under the bathroom sink. This will be a 5 part series. One step each day. This should make taking care of it less of a hassle.

Step one: Get rid of things that don't belong there.

For example: We had an ants issue right after we moved in. I realized that whatever spray the complex used wasn't good enough and, in frustration, used my flea spray. It worked like a charm so I kept it under the sink. Well, the ants are gone but the spray is not.


Take a look at all of the products under the sink. Do you use them 95% of the time in the bathroom only? Do you use the cleaning supplies more often in the kitchen? Put them there. Do you apply your lotion before bed in your bedroom? Why walk into the bathroom then?

See? Not that hard.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Project for the week Nov 9-14

Next week I'm starting a new segment of the blog. I'm calling it "Project Of The Week." Concept is easy: Take a "trouble spot" of your house and work on it in small bits all week long until it's fabulous!

What is our first project? Under The Bathroom Sink!! (dun dun dun)

Go look under your bathroom sink right now. No really, get up and walk in there. I'll wait....

....

Chances are it looks something like this:

 
 

"Who goes under the sink?? Why is THIS a project? Now, the entryway, THAT'S a project. Why under the sink?"

1) It's by special request of the owner of the top photo.
2) It's the little things that matter
3) There's probably stuff under there that you'll actually NEED at some point in time. So why not have it easy to access and neat?
4) I'm willing to bet half of you have no idea what all lives under your sink. Start pulling things out and I'll be hearing a chorus of "Oh, that's where that went" and "I own one of those?" Decluttering is good for the soul!

So, starting Monday we'll be tackling little parts of the space. We'll do it in baby steps. Get ready!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Special Request: Kitchen Pantry

Well, it's a bit empty right now. We buy minimally at the start of the month because, with bills, money is kind of tight. The second paycheck is when we throw down the most money. But, I can show you what I do right now.



This is right next to the stove (see the vent hood at the left?) I keep everything that I use regularly (read: each meal) right here so it's easy to grab. Olive Oil, lime juice (the lemon is too big to keep here or it would be there too), spices, rice, sugars, flour, and breadcrumbs live here. The rhyme is this: Things I use most often are on the bottom shelf. Easy, right?


This is the above cabinet between the fridge and the wall (see the fridge on the left?) Things I don't use THAT often sit here. Extra baking soda, peanut butter, chips, cornbread mix, extra salt (we're running out in the other one so this one is standing by), jello, etc... The only thing I use almost daily from here is the peanut butter. Usually one of Stefan's popcorn boxes lives here but it's not put away yet.


We're skipping the top shelf of the bottom cabinet for right now. These are shelves two and three. Shelf two is where I keep all the canned goods. I try to put the newer stuff behind the older stuff. Most of the stores goes here. I put the potatoes here too because if I put them on the bottom sometimes I forget about them! Shelf three is where the extra stores goes. Extra mustard and ketchup are down here. Cornstarch too. And, the big 10lb bag of rice I need to separate out. (I put it into gallon ziplocs because it's easier to handle that way)


Okay, shelf One of the bottom cabinet. Things we use fairly often go here. Cereal, Ramen, and the baking mix are in the back. Stefan's Mac-N-Cheese is here. I also keep all of the Pesto mixes on this shelf. I keep one can of each of our canned goods here for easy removal. When I use a can of corn, for example, I take the one from this shelf and pull one up from shelf two. That way I can look and immediately assess what my choices are if I'm grabbing a veggie quick for dinner. I don't have to dig around or anything.

I keep the bread in the shelf above the microwave (where the bags and glasses are) I'm not sure why it ended up there...it just did. That works best for us.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Meals for the Week: Nov 1-7

Sunday: Chicken and Dumplings
My first attempt and it was a success!

Monday: Spicy Sausage and Rice Casserole

Tuesday: Chili

Wednesday: Pesto Tilapia

Thursday: Chicken Pesto

Friday: Pork Fried Rice

Saturday: Tangy Pan Fried Tilapia

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Simply Homemade: Chicken Stock

I don't know why I didn't start doing this sooner. I wish I had pictures...but not this time!

First, start saving your chicken bones/skin and any extras from veggies (peelings, ends, etc...). Just start shoving things in a plastic container/bag and freeze until you have the equivalent of a whole chicken. (Bonus if you roast a chicken and then strip it when you're done)

Put it all in a large pot and cover with water. Add some black pepper and salt. Get it boiling. When it hits a rolling boil turn it down to a LOW simmer. Cover it so you don't lose a lot of liquid. Keep it this way for 24 hours. (Yes, 24 hours) If you're not comfortable leaving the stove on when you're away from home or overnight you can turn it off briefly. Just make sure and bring it to a rolling boil again when you turn it back on and make sure it simmers for 24 hours (even if they aren't consecutive). 

Fast forward 24 hours...

I usually grab another large pot and put a pasta strainer over it. Pour the liquid into it. This will strain out the large chunks of chicken and vegetable. Now grab your glass jars (I save all of the ones we buy. Jelly jars, salsa, etc...just run them through the dishwasher first). I take a glass measuring cup (because it's easy to pour) and pour it into the jars. If you want to strain it further you can put some cheesecloth or papertowel over the mouth of the jar. It's your choice. Pop them in the fridge and celebrate!

Benefits:

- Saves money! One chicken usually gets me over 2 quarts of stock. That's 2 quarts that I don't have to buy in the store.
- It's Healthy! When made this way you get the immune boost (bone marrow) and calcium (bone) that you don't get from the boxed stuff. Plus, low sodium because it's not packed with preservatives!
- And it just tastes better when you make it yourself.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kitchen Catastrophe

I use my kitchen A LOT. I'm trying to learn to make more things homemade. (Pasta dough, pasta sauce, chicken stock, etc...) A large portion of our meals are from scratch. The kitchen is where I spent most of my time (when I'm not playing with the baby...but there are times when he'll play happily on a pad on the kitchen floor while I do whatever) So, when it came time to start really organizing I chose the kitchen first.

I had a bunch of Rubbermaid containers in the cabinets. These were frustrating because I was always hunting for the lid that matched whichever container I needed. Half the time I couldn't find it. My solution?


I bought a couple of storage containers from Walmart (I think the big one was $6 and the smaller one was $2) I put the lids in the smaller one and the actual containers in the larger one. I put them in a lower cabinet instead. Voila! Easy, organized, and kid friendly. I put the glassware baking dishes up where the containers used to live:



Now they're out of kid reach and easy to grab!

I also found a neat way to store plastic grocery bags. It's called Grocery Bag Origami and it's really easy. Now my bags look like this:


 

So much better than a mass under the sink. And now I can use that space effectively! (I put the blender there)

Other tips to keeping a clean kitchen:

- When making dinner make sure that your dishwasher is empty or running. Keep a sink full of hot, soapy water. That way you just have to drop dishes in and they immediately start soaking. While dinner is actually cooking you can load the dishwasher with some of these dishes.
- Put everything away each night. That way you don't have to clean up right before starting to cook again. (It was frustrating me to have to clean seconds before dirtying things up again)
- Make it a habit to do SOMETHING every single time you enter the kitchen. Got 5 minutes? Spray and wipe down the surfaces (counters, handles, etc...) Got 10 minutes? Unload and load the dishwasher. Did you just heat up a mug of water for tea or hot chocolate? Take a second to wipe the inside of the microwave. (the steam will help loosen the stuff inside)

Little changes are what matter. Don't feel like you have to change everything at once; you won't stick to it. Vow to make 1 or 2 changes this week and go from there.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ghost Cookies!!!



This is one of the easiest cute cookie recipes.

You need:
- Nutter Butter Cookies
- White Chocolate or White Almond Bark (melted)
- Mini M&Ms

Dip the top half of each cookie in the white chocolate. Place it on a sheet of wax paper. Pu the M&Ms down for eyes. Repeat. Leave until set.

See? EASY!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tidy Tuesday (How I Get Things Done)

Okay, first of all here are a couple of my favorite blogs:
http://myblessedhome.blogspot.com/
http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/blog/
http://thehappyatheisthomemaker.blogspot.com/

Don't get caught up in reading all day! Set a timer and read for a set period of time (an hour?)


Some tips:
- Set a schedule.
Don't overwhelm yourself. Only do a few things a day. I have a Daily Three Load of Dishes, Load of Laundry, Load of Diapers I try to get those three things done each and every day (well, sometimes I can only do diapers every 2 days..but you get the idea) If nothing else, I get THAT done! and I try to clean the kitchen every day (because it's the most used room in the house)

- Pick a Daily Task.
This is the one I'm trying to get used to...My week looks like this:
Monday
Master Bath

Tuesday
Kitchen Appliances

Wednesday
Master Bedroom
Kid Bath

Thursday
Guest Bath/Room

Friday
Living/Dining Room

Saturday
Sweep/Vacuum House
Shopping
Kid Bath

Sunday
Light Cleaning

If I don't get that goal done for the day (like, I didn't clean the bathroom) I just move on and do it when/if I have time. OR I wait until it rolls around again.

-Don't do it all at once
I do it in chunks. I set timers, give myself goals, or just work as long as the kid will play on the floor. Put on 15-30mins worth of your favorite music and get started. Just pick a point (maids will tell you work top to bottom, left to right but do whatever works for you) and go! Or, set a goal like: I will clean off the dining table, or gather all the laundry/dishes, or clean X corner of the room. When you're done be DONE for a while. If you look at your house and go "It must all be done TODAY" you'll get overwhelmed and talk yourself out of it.

-Assign chores if you can.
Split things up with your husband if you both work. I'm a stay at home wife/mother so taking care of the house IS my job. If you both work then assign chores. Example: If your daily chores are dishes and laundry split it up. Person A unloads the dishwasher and gathers laundry and handles transferring it to the dryer. Person B loads dishwasher and folds laundry. (My husband and I split up the laundry. He hates folding so the deal is he puts stuff on hangers and I fold everything else. Cuts it in half for both of us) Stefan's family has a rule: The person that cooks doesn't do dishes. Maybe that can apply in your house too?


I am NOT superwoman LOL I should upload photos of how cluttered my house is right now. There's clean laundry (folded) to my left, an empty chip bag/Sonic bag/bowl to my right, and a bin of clean (unfolded) laundry behind me. My kitchen looks amazing, though!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My husband's post on Swine Flu

President Obama has officially declared H1N1 a national emergency, and I'm left shaking my head and laughing at people that actually worry about this. Read the news, and you'll find headlines like "Over 1,000 Dead in US from Swine Flu," or - to tug at more heartstrings "Over 100 children Killed." These numbers mean absolutely nothing. One thousand out of how many? A report I read recently says "millions" of Americans have been infected. Really? Okay. Let's do a little math. For the sake of argument, let's say that only 1,000,000 people have been infected. With around a thousand dead, that gives H1N1 a mortality rate of 0.1%. To put that in other terms, you have a meager 99.9% chance of surviving swine flu! Well, in fairness, the headline did say "over 1,000." Let's go crazy and say by more than, they meant ten times as many. With ten thousand deaths, that brings the mortality rate to 1% and your odds of survival are now reduced to 99%. Remember, they're saying that millions, that's plural, have been infected. Forget about death for a moment. There have been a reported 20,000 hospitalizations. Again, numbers-wise, that's 2% of our proposed one million cases (even less in reality). Now, of these thousand or so deaths and tens of thousands of hospitalizations, how many of the infected had preexisting medical conditions that would make them more susceptible to complications from swine flu? What's that? No one seems to be taking that into account? But surely the media wouldn't just throw numbers out like candy for the sake of ratings...

Now, one hundred dead children is sad. Let us not forget, however, that during the 2003-2004 season, there were 153 deaths in children seventeen and younger forty states that were studied. Estimations give a grand, country-wide total of around 200 child deaths. That's twice the amount of what we're hearing now, but I don't recall a national emergency back then. Never mind the fact that the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (people that count flu deaths) include deaths from pneumonia in their flu mortality count.

While I'm talking about flu, please don't be foolish enough to get the flu-mist vaccine. This is not like the shot in that the mist contains a live virus. After getting it, you're contagious for a few weeks. Most people don't seem to know that one. In conclusion, there is no need to worry. Calm down!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Meals for the Week Oct 11-17

Last week's meals didn't work and got tossed around...and I know I was MIA all week. Franklin has been a Velcro Baby lately...


Sunday: Fried Chicken and Mashed Potatoes!
Quick, easy, but messy...I do need to clean the kitchen anyway...

Monday: Pulled Pork (BBQ) and Roasted Potatoes
First time trying this...maybe I'll be better about pictures this week.

Tuesday: Chicken Fried Rice
Another easy one dish meal!

Wednesday: Mexican Shepherd's Pie
Recipe Here So GOOD! It's one of our favorites!

Thursday: Chorizo, Egg, and Bean Tacos
This is one of my favorites. I'm the little white girl that loves chorizo!

Friday: Roast Chicken
I didn't do it last week so I'm doing it this week!

Saturday: Homemade Ravioli with meat sauce
That's right, homemade! I'm trying my hand at it because I can't have normal ravioli (it all has CHEESE) I'm making chicken and mushroom ravioli and a tomato/meat sauce...we shall see!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Meals for Sept 5th-10th

We still haven't made the Mushroom Cube Steaks! So that goes up today!

Tuesday: Pesto Tilapia

Wednesday: Pan Seared Pork Chops and Mushroom Sauce

Thursday: Spicy Sausage and Rice Casserole

Friday: Salmon and Rice  (I've been craving this lately)

Saturday I'll be roasting one of the chickens I got on SALE (88 cents per pound!!!)


With a few of the meals I'll take pictures and put them up on Saturday :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Frugal Friday

I know, I missed posting yesterday. Franklin is working on a new skill (pulling himself to standing...yes, I'm serious. Yes, I know he's not quite 6 months old) so he's been frustrated lately. The same thing happened when he wanted to learn to sit up by himself. He's also been a very Velcro Baby as of late. This keeps me from doing a lot of things around the house...


But I'll try to get some frugal tips in today!

Breastfeeding and Cloth Diapers/Wipes

Most Americans spend tons of money on formula and disposable diapers/wipes. With my son, it would have been extra expensive as he has a dairy sensitivity. The way we do it, I just have to avoid dairy. The formula route means buying special formula (special = expensive). I have a friend who's son is allergic to dairy AND soy...so if she's used formula it would mean the super expensive allergenic kind. That's crazy. Plus, all of the bottles and brushes and blah blah blah.
My son also has sensitive skin (another genetic gift from Mommy) We've done disposables a few times here and there and he gets a horrible rash each and every time. We even tried the "All Natural" kind only to get a bad rash. (We also can't use Johnson's anything...but I've heard that's normal for a lot of kids...apparently, it's bad stuff) The only time he gets a rash now is if I have dairy (food allergies cause diaper rash), if I have too many acidic foods (orange juice for example), or if he sits in a wet diaper too long (sometimes he'll have a slight rash for the first part of the morning). However, this is the exception and not the rule. I love that we don't have to spend money on expensive diapers AND creams.

Honestly, we save thousands a year just by making these choices...think about it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Word For Wednesday Sept 30th

The theme today is breastfeeding...it's a topic that is VERY important to me.

Genesis 49:25 By the God of your father who will help you,
      And by the Almighty who will bless you
      
With blessings of heaven above,
      Blessings of the deep that lies beneath,
      Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.


Right there it talks about breasts and the womb being a blessing.


There are numerous passages that reference breasts and nursing.


Why would I choose this subject? Breastfeeding is a very important topic to me. Most women choose to not breastfeed AT ALL, and most of the ones that do only do it for a short while. Breastfeeding for an extended period of time is beneficial to the mother and child.

Now, I'm not going to knock formula. For women that are unable to breastfeed, formula is a life-saver (literally).

However, I will say that I believe that pushing formula as better than breastmilk, downplaying the importance of breastfeeding, and making it shameful or wrong to breastfeed in public are tools of Satan. Yep, I said it. Anything that tries to take away your gifts is a tool of Satan. Think about it, if breastfeeding no longer happens there is one less thing to connect a mother and child; so why not let someone else raise him?
- Formula cannot totally replace breastmilk. Science cannot replicate the antibodies it provides. Science cannot cause formula to change its composition during a feeding. Science cannot do better than God!
- Breastfeeding for at least one year is recommended. Two years is better. It helps the mother with healing post-partum, it lowers her cervical/uterine cancer risk, and it protects the child against diseases for which they now require vaccinations.
- Nursing in public is a God-given right. I've heard people say that in Islam, breastfeeding is a child's birthright. I've also heard that in some Moslem communities where the women full cover breastfeeding in public is okay. So I propose this question: Why, in the land of tank tops and daisy dukes, is nursing in public viewed as trashy and shameful?

America has sexualized something that isn't sexual at all. It has taken something beautiful and made it dirty. We need to take it back and make it how God intended.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tidy Tuesday Product Recommendation

I LOVE the product Bar Keepers Friend! It is the BEST cleanser and polisher I've ever come across. I don't have any personal before and after pictures...but I found some (and yes, I've seen it do this on my personal pots and pans)

Click

Amazing, right?


I only have a minute so this is a quick post. I'm going to send you here to read more!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Meals Sept 27th-Oct 3rd

This week is a fairly easy week because we were out of town the past weekend!

Sunday: Out of Town

Monday: Chili (my mom's recipe...sorry, can't reveal!)

Tuesday: Chicken Fried Steak (pretty basic)

Wednesday: (Stefan's Birthday) "Chinese Night" Oriental Pork, Rice, Patty's Green Beans (can't reveal that last one either...we're sworn to secrecy)

Thursday: Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Friday: Chicken Quesadillas

Saturday: Mushroom Cube Steaks (I'll give that recipe out if it's good...we've never tried it)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for my beautiful son. :)

Sometimes I get nostagic because I didn't do something big with my life. I didn't become a model, I didn't finish the acting thing, I didn't get to go to medical school, I didn't travel the world (YET!), and I didn't get into the Air Force...

However...

I get to listen to baby giggles over the simplest things. I get to enjoy "hugs" and "kisses" (he doesn't "know" he's doing them but I take it anyway) I get to see his face light up when I come in after he wakes up from a nap.

That's when I realize that THIS is what I was meant to be doing; and THIS is where I'm supposed to be in life. Nothing is more fulfilling than watching my son grow up. Nothing warms my heart like thinking about him growing up and about us having more children. Being a doctor couldn't do that, being on stage (or back stage) didn't do that, and I'm sure that the Air Force wouldn't have either.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust the Lord with all your heart,
       and don't depend on your own understanding.
  Remember the Lord in all you do,
       and he will give you success.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Word For Wednesday #1

New Century Version (because it's easier to read and understand a lot of times)

Titus 2:4-5  Then [the older women] can teach the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,5 to be wise and pure, to be good workers at home, to be kind, and to yield to their husbands.

The King James Version puts it like this:


4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
 5To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.



Quite different...hmm...


So, for the record, to live according to God's will we (younger women) are supposed to do the following:

1) Love your husband and children Not too hard, right? I hope not. Remember, even when they put you at wits end and you feel like you can't stand them anymore; you still love them.

2) Be discreet and pure Dress for success for God...not a nightclub. Some have different views on this point. Some women use this to show that we should be fully covered. I, however, think that your husband should make the call. If he is comfortable with you wearing a tank top out in the summer time than so be it. However, if the idea of your bare shoulders makes him uncomfortable put something on over it.

3) Homemaking A lost art! Throughout my life I searched for the PERFECT job for me. My mind went to everything. Lawyer, doctor, actress, model, hairstylist, etc... But the job that I've found most fulfilling? Being a stay at home wife and mother. Staying at home (especially before children) is looked down on by society. However, if you can afford it (and I understand many families cannot...or don't want to) staying at home is a great job.

4) Be nice :) Basically, that's it. Be kind to people!

5) Obey your husband Another lost art! No, I don't mean kiss his feet and jump when he snaps his fingers. If your husband is doing his job (loving you as Christ loves the church) you should have NO problem obeying his wishes.


Lets work on these this week!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tidy Tuesday #1

From http://www.realsimple.com/

Daily Quick Cleaning Checklist

Kitchen


  • Clear out and wipe down the sink (5 minutes). No piles of dirty dishes! Move them into the dishwasher, and wipe the sink with a sponge.



  • Wipe down countertops and stove (1 minute). Clean splatters and spills with a damp cloth or sponge and an all-purpose cleanser.



  • Wipe problem spots on the floor (2 minutes). You can save a full-floor mop for the weekend, but use the same cloth (once you’ve finished with the countertops) to quickly clean any spills or sticky spots, which will attract dirt and get more noticeable if left alone.



  • Fold or hang dish towels (30 seconds). Even if they’re clean, a jumble of dish towels on the counter can look messy. Take a few moments to fold or hang them.

Bathroom


  • Wipe out the sink (30 seconds). If you use a premoistened cloth to wipe your face, swipe the sink bowl and faucet handles with it, too. Or use a washcloth, paper towel, or a product like Windex Glass and Surface Wipes, which don’t leave streaks on chrome or mirror.



  • Clean splatters off the mirror (15 seconds). Got foamy toothpaste spray on the mirror? Do a quick swipe with the same cloth you used on the sink.



  • Wipe the toilet seat and rim (15 seconds). Same cloth! Just do the toilet last.



  • Swoosh the toilet bowl with a brush (15 seconds). If you see a ring, give it a quick scrub.



  • Squeegee the shower door (30 seconds). Wipe down glass doors to remove water droplets that can cause spotting. No squeegee? Use a dry towel.



  • Spray the shower and curtain liner with a shower mist (15 seconds). A quick spray with a daily cleanser will reduce buildup of mildew and soap scum.

Bedroom


  • Make your bed (2 minutes). Even a fluffy down comforter pulled up over messy sheets will look polished.



  • Fold or hang clothes and put away jewelry (4 minutes). Even better: Resist the urge to toss them somewhere in the first place! Put them away as you take them off.



  • Straighten out the night-table surface (30 seconds). Take last night’s water glass to the kitchen, stow your reading glasses in a drawer, and straighten books or magazines.

Living Room


  • Tidy the sofa (2 minutes). It’s likely the focus of the room, so neaten it. Fluff the pillows and fold the throws.



  • Pick up crumbs with a handheld vacuum (1 minute). Concentrate on surfaces in plain sight: sofa cushions, coffee table, and rugs in the middle of the room. Look for dust bunnies, too.



  • Wipe tables and spot-clean cabinets where you see fingerprints (1 minute). Use a microfiber cloth or a Swiffer cloth to pick up dust. If the surfaces are streaked or sticky, use a moist cloth.



  • Straighten coffee table books and magazines (2 minutes). Toss old newspapers and corral the remote controls into one place (a drawer, if possible).



  • Clear major clutter (5 minutes). Stash video games, toys, and anything else you might trip over.



    I love this list! It's so useful when you only have a few minutes.

What to Expect...

I'm going to try to update more often. It's been set as a daily chore. I'm going to do certain things on certain days...it should help me think.

Mon: Meals for the Week (recipes included!)
Tues: Tidy Tuesday (Cleaning tips!)
Wed: Word For Wednesday (Scripture for your week)
Thurs: Thankful Thursdays (Something for which I am thankful)
Fri: Frugal Friday (Tips on how to save money!)
Sat: Everything else!
Sun: Day of Rest (no posts)


So keep checking back!


I have no meal plans for this week because we're headed out of town!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Breastfeeding

Finally! I can write this!

There are numerous benefits to breastfeeding: http://www.babycenter.com/0_how-breastfeeding-benefits-you-and-your-baby_8910.bc names a few!

Some of my best advice came from here: http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=1010100&highlight=


A few things that normally come up

Pain - Yes, it is painful when you start. Not only are your nipples sensitive from hormones, but they're doing something they aren't used to doing! A problem means pain, but pain doesn't always mean a problem. It took about 3 weeks for the pain to go away for me. That's not on the side with the cracked nipple...

Injury - Another thing that happens, but is treatable! We had trouble latching on the right side and I developed a crack in my nipple. A week of pumping on that side (the pain was toe curling and I couldn't nurse) and offering a bottle, neosporin, and lanolin and I healed up. It's kind of cracked again, but I can handle it this time so we're still nursing.

Latch - Learn what a good latch is BEFORE you give birth. Yes, there are people at the hospital that can help...but if you get a nurse like my night nurse (I felt more educated about BFing) you'll be glad you were well informed.

When to start - IMMEDIATELY AFTER BIRTH! Even if he isn't strong enough or awake enough to really suck, trying helps! Relationship needs to be developed ASAP and this helps. As soon as they're done with the evaluations you need to try nursing again. Don't be discouraged if he "doesn't get anything" because that's not true. During this time you produce colostrum which is more nutrient dense than breastmilk. As my day nurse told me "A tablespoon of your breastmilk right now has more nutrition than an entire bottle of formula." It can take several days for your breastmilk to come in (not in my case, I was engorged on day two)

Watch the baby NOT the clock. Some will tell you to feed every 2 hours (my night nurse for example) Your baby will wake up to eat! You shouldn't have to wake him up... unless it's several days later and he's going 4+ hours without eating...then wake him. DO NOT try to "develop a schedule" or "train" your child. (Stay away from Babywise books!!!) He may want to eat every 20mins or every 2 hours. He knows best! The first few weeks are hard because he'll probably eat constantly. As long as he's dirtying plenty of diapers there is nothing wrong with your supply. I had a similar issue early on. He eats like that to boost your supply (usually happens during a growth spurt) It's hard, but stick it out.


Hmm....any questions? I'll answer them in the next note.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Every Mom Needs To Know...

This list will probably be never ending! I have, however, come up with a few things that every mom needs to know...

1) Gripe Water : You can buy it at the pharmacy. It's basically ginger and fennel based (it also has sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, in it) . It's used for stomach problems like gas, hiccups, colic, etc... I got it for Franklin because he gets hiccups pretty bad. It works WONDERS. Half the time I only have to use a half "dose" for him and the hiccups are gone in minutes. Also, when he gets gassy or when his tummy gets upset it helps it settle. It's amazing and I recommend it 110%!

2) Maalox and Aquaphor : Mix the two together in equal parts and use on diaper rash/irritation. How? A lot of diaper irritation is because of acids in whatever mommy/baby are eating. Maalox negates the acid and Aquaphor is healing for skin irritation. Aquaphor is also great for cracked/irritated skin during breastfeeding (And, according to Hayley, great for tattoo care)

3) Cornstarch : If the diaper irritation is caused by being wet frequently this is great. I know the first several days of Franklin's life we were constantly changing his diaper and, therefore, he was wet frequently and his skin was irritated from always being wiped. Cornstarch helped out!

4) Nursing pads : Whether you nurse or not you will lactate! When the baby cries your breasts will leak (at least, at first). When you get engorged your breasts will leak. If you're nursing on one side and the baby bumps the other side it will leak. Sometimes nursing one side will cause the other one to leak. You will WANT to wear a nursing pad or you'll be changing clothes all the time.


Crap, I know there's more but I have baby brain (yes, it lingers) and I can't remember. More later, I guess. If you have questions I can answer them in later posts!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Previews

Next week I'm going to do posts on:

1) A few checklist items for every new mom to have!

2) Breastfeeding (the ups and downs and everything in between...possibly even list the benefits)


As well as other fun updates!

Stay tuned

Friday, May 1, 2009

Pictures!

This kid has long toes (like his parents) and really big feet. I'm thinking he's going to be tall... Of course, they said that about me and look at how I turned out!

He's so precious when he sleeps! He did that a lot today because he was up most of the night. He's having another growth spurt so he eats ALL THE TIME!!!

This was right after he'd eaten. I laid him back on his nursing pillow (he enjoys sleeping on it like this) and he threw his hands up and sighed really big. He was QUITE satisfied! :)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Doctor's Appointment...Kind Of

Franklin turned 2 weeks old yesterday! Good Lord, time is already flying by!

Well, apparently our appointment that we had yesterday had been miscommunicated to us and is actually for next week. We had to be there for his PKU anyway so it was only a tiny frustration. He did well for his PKU; he barely made a fuss when she stuck his heel.

He's getting better about riding in the carseat. I think as he gets more head control it will continue to get easier. I'm pretty sure he gets carsick, though. It's not surprising because both of his parents did as children (and do as adults).

Mom had an appointment with her doctor (who used to be in the Family Practice at the hospital where I delivered) and we had him give Franky the once over while we were there. He said that everything is totally fine. Still not sure how much he weighs (I know somewhere north of 8lbs because I've held him while standing on the scale) but I'm not worried. He still eats frequently :) The number of times he eats have decreased as he's gotten a lot better at nursing. So, he eats for longer periods of time because he knows a little more about what he's doing and has better control over his muscles. But, yay!

I did get chastised about not vaccinating, though. I knew that was going to happen. I know I'm not going to find a doctor that is 100% okay with our decision, and I accept that. I'll just be better prepared to defend myself next time. (I'm working on lack of sleep and my brain is not working so I felt like a deer in the headlights)

I'll try to keep this updated more often (if nothing else, with pictures!) Honestly, though, we don't do much but sit around and chill most of the day. I watch sitcoms and shows I DVR and Franklin eats and sleeps. I've started reading a little bit more (more than not at all basically) but I'm finding that I can only do it in short bursts because I get tired...it's odd for me.

No new pictures today (sorry!!!) Hopefully I'll have some tomorrow (or whenever I update again!)

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Couple Of Thoughts


Labor and Pain: Oh. My. God. So, labor pain was WAY worse than I expected. Several people had told me that because I got horrible menstrual pains (like, put me in bed wanting to throw up pain) that labor wouldn't be that bad. I wish! Of course, my body went from zero to "baby time" in only a few hours so that might have had something to do with it. Thank God for epidurals!

Breastfeeding: Another painful experience. I understand now why a lot of women stop breastfeeding early on...it hurts! However, I just tell myself that #1 It gets easier (and has already) and #2 It is the BEST choice I could be making for my child. We've already started to even out in supply and demand.

Pee, Poop, Puke: Within the first week I had all of these on me at some point in time. He peed on me before he was even 24 hours old, puked on me a couple of days later, and before a week was up he had pooped on me. Funny thing is; I didn't care. Of course, when I was up at 5am a few days ago cleaning up baby puke it didn't bother me until after he was back asleep...only then did I realize "I don't handle puke very well" and got nauseated. (and then went to sleep) This kid can also pee like a fire hydrant! Like, to the point that diapers overflow (and that's after one pee) I seriously think his bladder holds more liquid than mine does...

Sleep: I had to look this word up to make sure I remembered what it meant. All I know is I'm not getting any...


We have our first doctors appointment on Wed. I'll update again after that!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Birth Story (finally)

I'm finally getting around to posting my birth story! Sorry it's taken so long... I'll try to not be graphic, but there's a certain amount of detail involved in a lot of it. Deal with it!

On April 14th I had my weekly doctor's appointment at 7:45am (which translates to getting up at 7am and getting seen around 8am) The doctor I saw was not my normal doctor. My normal doctor was going to be out of town that weekend and wanted me to see a different doctor "just in case" something happened. The doctor I saw did the usual exam (checked to see if I was dilated and measured my fundal height) She said I was still only dilated to 1/2cm (the magic number is 10cm...that's when labor happens) and I was measuring right around 38.5 weeks. So, right on target. She basically said "See you in a week" and implied I was going to carry to my due date (April 29th)

Uhm...someone had other plans.

Around 6pm I had a huge increase in discharge. After a bit of poking around on the internet I concluded that when she checked my dilation she irritated things and I was probably losing my mucous plug. (Gross little thing, let me tell you) This meant nothing. Losing a mucous plug (all at once or slowly) could mean labor is hours or weeks away. No big deal. I just dealt with it. I crawled into bed, exhausted, around 11pm.
Well, about an hour later I jumped out of bed because it felt like I'd peed all over myself. Now, this isn't unheard of for a pregnant woman...but it would be a new one on me. So, I conference called my mom and asked, "How would I know if my water broke?" I think, honestly, I knew what had happened all along...but I was in denial because the doctor had basically said I was getting nowhere! My mom called the OB unit at the hospital and they told me to come in and check things out just to be sure nothing was happening. This was around 12:30am.
On the drive over I started having contractions. It felt like menstrual cramps. I'm holding back tears because I desperately wanted Stefan to be there and knew that this meant he was going to miss it.
They got me in to check things out around 1am. By this time the pain was intense and I was rolling around on the bed trying to remember how to breathe. (You know how you tend to hold your breath when you're in pain? That's BAD when you're in labor...) They checked to see if I was, in fact, ruptured. According to the test, no...but according to the nurse, yes. She checked to see if I was dilated and felt me go from 3cm to 4cm. (Yeah, it was happening that fast) That was close to 2am I think. (My sense of time is VERY fuzzy) Somewhere during all of this I threw up (the nurse was amused by the appearance of mushrooms... "What did you eat??" was uttered with a laugh), they took close to 8 vials of blood, and I was given an injection for pain and nausea and hooked up to an IV.
They gave me Stadol for pain...the nurse informed me that it would "take the edge off" but not take the pain away. Uhm, it didn't work. The pain was just as intense. It did, however, make me so groggy and sick that I was miserable with that. I couldn't keep my eyes open because the room kept spinning. I couldn't focus on anything anyone said or keep track of who was in my room or where people were. It sucked. Looking back, I should have just dealt with it until the epidural got there.
I think it was around 2:30am (maybe closer to 3am) when they checked me again and I was at 6cm. Let me tell you, that's FAST for anyone; not to mention a first time birth. Usually the first one takes HOURS to progress anywhere. (I'm sure you've heard about women being in labor for 36 hours before, right?)
They gave me an epidural. (I begged for it) That was an odd experience. As soon as it went to work I had no pain...well, no feeling at all between right under my breasts and the top of my knees. I could feel my lower legs and feet. So, when my foot slipped off the bed I could feel the blood rush to it and knew it was throbbing, but I didn't have the muscle control in my thighs to pull it back up. Also, I kept sliding down the bed and my moms kept having to pull me back up. THAT was a bit humiliating! And you know that pain you get when you sit for too long in a movie or on a long car trip? Yeah, I could feel that too.
My doctor showed up and went over my birth plan with me. 90% of it was going to be followed to the letter. (The epidural and fast progression of labor changed some things) She went to get her scrubs on and came right back. It was a little after 6am at this point. She checked my progress and I remember her saying, "You're fully dilated and effaced...and I can feel the baby's head." My response? "Uhm...What???"
The room came alive! Suddenly there were nurses everywhere, I was being covered in sterile blue dressings, and people were being instructed on where to stand and what to do.
I was given Pitocin (usually given to induce labor) at the end of my labor because I was exhausted (I'd been awake roughly 24 hours straight), the contractions were getting less frequent and less intense, and the baby was in distress.
At 7:12am he was born. Again, the room was alive with activity. It reminded me of a beehive. Everyone had a job and no one was standing still. They gave him his Vit K shot and he didn't even flinch. He was taken to get bathed and whatnot for about an hour (I was instructed to sleep...) and was with me for most of the time after that. I took lots of pictures and videos and kept sending them to Stefan. (He got to come down the next day and spend the weekend!)

Our baby a few hours after birth! Yes, he always sleeps Superman style, even on his tummy!

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