Saturday, December 29, 2012

Internet ADD

I got on the computer to start writing a blog post.  Here is all the things I have done so far instead of writing the original post:

On top of playing with Addy, changing her diaper, switching out her toys, distracting her from this or that I:

Looked up ornaments on Etsy.
Looked up ornaments on Pinterest (I like making my own ornaments, and I have hopes of selling them in the future).
Manger silhouettes on Google
Cupcake ornaments on Pinterest.
Cupcake theme birthday on Pinterest (Addy's birthday is only 6 months away).
Cupcake Cakes on Pinterest.
Check Facebook.
1st birthday party on Pinterest.
Baby showers on Pinterest. (I am co-hosting one in January)
About to message people on Facebook about the baby shower.
Wrote this post instead.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Snowman Fridge.

I saw it all over Pinterest, so I copied.


Everything is made from construction paper I had on hand, and a roll of magnet tape from Hobby Lobby with a coupon. Less than $1.90 spent. HUGE impact.  You can't help but notice a giant snowman (possibly snowwoman) in the kitchen. I love him! Or her.

Do you have any simple, but big statement Winter/Christmas/Holiday decorations?


Friday, November 30, 2012

Today I am Thankful for Pretty Much Everything

I am thankful that my life has been so awesome and busy the last month, I did not get to write about all the things I am thankful for this month.

That's my excuse for not following through, and I am sticking to it!



Since I seem to not be able to get around to posting long thought out blog posts for now, and I definitely know I will not keep up in December, I am going back to just short posts. Hopefully this will mean more posts, so that if I get any followers, there will be something to follow.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I am Thankful for Leighla

Many a Facebook friends write something that they are thankful for each day of November, and I jumped on the bandwagon this year. Then I thought, hey, why not blog about it as well?
So here ya go. The long version of my Facebook posts :).


"Day 3:  I am thankful that Leighla listened to me today when I said, 'Leighla, please pick your toy up, and get it out of the hallway.'"

This is Leighla: 
 Leighla is our Australian cattle dog. Her name is pronounced Lee-luh, like the character from Futurama, just spelled different.

 This is from when we first got her. Sorry her head is blurry, she did not stay still very often in the puppy days..

Another picture from her first year of life:


  This dog has more personality than many people I know. She loves attention, and not afraid to do anything to get it. She gets very jealous of anyone, human or animal, getting more attention than her.

  She also loves to wear this fluffy collar with jingle bells around it at Christmas.. As you can tell she's now very big.
 There is no one in this world she loves more than her daddy.


 She loves to chew toys. She is pretty good at catching a Frisbee.

 Leighla does not always listen. She barks at nothing and everything. She can be quite obnoxious and aggravating. She has a terrible habit of licking poor Addy in the face (which we are working on).

However, she is smart, sweet, and loves us. It made me smile when she grabbed her toy after I asked her to. She also dropped it in the living room! Completely unexpected. I love her like family. As I do all my animals (hint of future posts).

 In another post on another day, I will explain how we got the cute little puppy. The first time I ever cussed out my husband. And hung up on him. Twice. We got through it, obviously.

 

I am Thankful for a Husband Who Runs Errands With Me.

Many a Facebook friends write something that they are thankful for each day of November, and I jumped on the bandwagon this year. Then I thought, hey, why not blog about it as well?
So here ya go. The long version of my Facebook posts :).



"Day 2: I'm thankful my husband went with me to run some errands this evening."

***I revised this post the morning after writing it. If you saw the orginal post, you saw a rude version of me, justifiable or not. After giving it some thought, I feel it is not fair to the person I was being rude about. I would not post the things I said if this person had internet and read my blog. So, to be fair, I am revising this post. :)

I had to take a family member who does not drive to the store. My most hated store at that. I was bitchy all day, and dreading the task. My husband lovingly went with Addy and I to help a family member out. Bless him!

I am Thankful for All the Positive Addy Comments.

Many a Facebook friends write something that they are thankful for each day of November, and I jumped on the bandwagon this year. Then I thought, hey, why not blog about it as well?
So here ya go. The long version of my Facebook posts :).

Day One: "I'm thankful for all the sweet comments about how cute/sweet/good/awesome little Addy Cakes is."

5 month puppy and mama puppy (that's me!)
While I don't make it a habit of posting Addy's picture all over my blog (I watch way too much Law and Order: SVU), I do tend to post her picture a bit on my personal Facebook account so my ginormous family can keep up (I should do an entire post on our family tree one day, it would be entertaining to you). Every time I post her cute little picture, I receive really sweet comments and a plethora of "likes." Her Halloween picture was no different. Replying to these responses is not my strong suite, but I do appreciate them! So, I wanted to thank everyone for their love and support of my sweet little girl. I just love her, and thankful everyone else does too!

P.S. This was the easiest Halloween costume I ever made. Hair in pigtails, use bobby pins to pin hair a little higher than the elastic, and bam! Ears. You're welcome.

Monday, October 1, 2012

30 Days Eat at Home Challenge!

I'm always nagging suggesting to my husband that the best way to save money is to stop going out to eat so much. So we're taking a 30 day challenge to eat at home/ take lunches to work. I'll post updates, meals, and recipes as we go along. Wish us luck!

Friday, September 21, 2012

How a Novice Cook and Mom Bakes (Non)Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies.

Part of being more domesticated means baking at home. It also saves money (another goal of mine). Here's my attempt at baking Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies.


Step one is to find a delicious looking recipe via Pinterest, and think to yourself, "Challenge accepted." I found the same recipe for the red velvet cheesecake brownies on more than one site, so not sure with whom to give credit. Since I didn't use the food coloring, I guess it's my recipe now :). Step two is to show Husband the recipe and convince him ask if that's what he wants for his birthday (it is his day after all).

Dad was nice enough to let me use his Ghiradelli chocolate, YUM!
Step 3. Gather ingredients. You'll need:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/3 cup sugar (one for brownie, 1/3 for cheesecake)
3 large eggs (2 for brownie, 1 for cheesecake)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (1 for brownie, 1/2 for cheesecake)
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp red food coloring
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
Pandora radio, hence my Kindle Fire in the back off the picture
Bouncy seat for baby
Patience
Love
An oven preheated to 350F.

The next step: Put Addy in her bouncy seat, turn on Pandora (I chose Maranda Lambert) and get pumped to start baking... and then read the "room temperature" part about the cream cheese. Take the baby out of the bouncy seat, and go do something else while you let the cream cheese sit out for a bit.
I chose to catch up on some Boy Meets World that I record every morning.

Alright, now get back to the kitchen. Put baby back in the bouncy seat so she can watch/ you entertain her, and spray 8x8 metal baking pan (original recipes say to use butter) with non-stick cooking spray. Put down parchment paper and spray (or butter) that as well. The parchment paper is to help take out the brownies after they are out of the oven. I will probably try it without this step next time.
Now, put the butter and chocolate in the microwave. Stir until combined and very smooth. By the way, if you drop your chocolate on the floor, it will break apart, and do some of the work for you (luckily, the wrapper was still on it when I learned this lesson cooking trick).






While waiting for the chocolate/butter mix to cool, take a large bowl and whisk the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and food coloring. Then stir in the chocolate/butter combo and stir until smooth. Do all this dancing to the music, and trying to entertain the baby.
The next step includes realizing that you forgot to feed the dogs, and feed them. Had I done this at the beginning, it may have helped with the constant stepping/tripping over them during this en devour. Back to the brownies! Add the flour and salt, and stir just until there are no streaks of dry ingredients. Pour into pan, and attempt to spread into even layer.

Take another baking time out to go change the baby's diaper. Once back in the kitchen, you're ready to make the cheesecake topping. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.
Note to self: Learn to "swirl"

The original recipe says to "distribute the cheesecake mixture in 8 dollops over batter in the pan." Oops. Also notice my lack of swirls, but what looks like knife stabs. I'll have to work on this. Now, you are finally ready for baking, and praising the Lord you actually remembered to turn the oven on! Bake 35-40 minutes, or until it's done (stick a toothpick, fork, knife, etc. in it).
This is what mine looks like.
Go to full-size image
This is what they look like on the internet.

Again, mine,
Go to full-size image
Pinterest
Mine.

Show off. (Great job!)

While my velvet cheesecake brownies will not be entered into a beauty contest anytime soon, they taste delicious! So good in fact, Dad has already found a bigger pan so I can double the recipe next time. :)

*I would like to give some mad props to all the blogs that share recipes with pictures for every single step. Every.Single.Step. I tried, but as you saw, failed. When I make this again, and I will, I will try to update this post with all the pictures.

Let me know if you try this recipe, and what you think! Do you also use this start/stop method to baking?



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Husband's Birthday



As previously mentioned, the hubs celebrated his 28th birthday on Monday. Woo-hoo! I had a great day, and I hope believe he did as well. It's funny how birthdays are celebrated differently with a baby in the house.

Birthday's before Addy:

Pretty much whatever/whenever we wanted! Go out at night, even if it happened to be a week night, probably have a drink (at least me). Dave and Buster's is a favorite. Spend money without thinking. Give an unpractical gift.
Before Addy (aka when we had money), I would have spent $40 on this for him.


 Birthday after Addy:
  
Athletic Crew Socks Clip Art

I surprised him with socks (and unmentionables). Socks, people. How lame. And practical. In my defense, if I had to hear "I need new socks," one more time, I was going to shove one of those holey, mismatched feet covers in his mouth! So I got the hint. Big time. Buy socks. You know you're old when you want practical for your birthday. If the gift is going to be lame, might as well be a good presenation, yes?

Sunday night, I waited until he was snoring fast asleep, and I quietly got out of bed. I opened his sock drawer and took out all million pairs/single socks he owns, and replaced them with the fresh pairs. Some no shows, low cuts, and crew for the colder weather. I did this with the drawer above featuring his new undergarments. Monday morning when he dressed for work, surprise! New clothes. I reminded him later that when he retold the story of what I gave him as a birthday present to be sure to mention the fact I covertly switched out the old for new apparel in the middle of the night.

Husband did get to come home early from work due to his "baby brain," as he calls it. He forgot that months ago he wrote down his birthday as a vacation day, so after finishing work leftover from the weekend, he left. Before a baby, I doubt we would ever forget a vacation day. We did get to have a late lunch at Local Republic because of this.

Back at home, I made velvet cheesecake brownies for dessert (post on Friday about this). It being his birthday and all, we stayed up late... say 11 o'clock? Whew, that was rough! Really we were ready for bed about 8:30, however we toughed it out to watch a TV show starting at ten. It was a wild time, really!

That's how you celebrate your first birthday after a baby, folks. You get socks and enjoy it, go to work on your days off, and you stay in to watch TV and go to bed before midnight.



How have birthday celebrations changed in your house post baby?






Monday, September 17, 2012

Meal Plan Monday!


This week features mostly never tried before recipes. So if you try it and don't like it, don't blame me!

Menu for the Week:
  1. Sloppy Slow Cook Chicken Tacos (first time to try this)
  2. Broccoli Chicken Casserole (first time to try this)
  3. Sloppy Joes (no recipe right now, just from a can)
  4. Our version of the Italian Sausage and Potato Bake (My husband's favorite meal. We add mushrooms and carrots, and do not measure a thing on seasoning)
  5. Stuffed Shells (first time to try this)
  6. Cottage Pie (sub ground turkey, first time to try this)
  7. Bow Tie Pasta w/ Feta and Lemon Pepper Chicken (first time to try this)
I am new to meal planning, and new to sharing my menu plan. I have seen many organized menus over the blog world, some based on this week's coupons, some based on using up certain ingredients, some based around a schedule, low fat, no gluten, etc, etc.

I.do.none.of.this. That's too advanced for this novice cook and meal planner. Maybe one day! These plans have no rhyme nor reason to them except what looks/ sounds tasty, what seems simple, and every now and then requests from my husband.

This is my first time linking with I'm and Organizing Junkie, and I would like to say thanks for having me! Check out all the other wonderful meal plans that are posted each week. I have a few in my rotation that have come from this! You just may see yours!
This guy looks like me when I'm hungry!

If this is your first time visiting my blog, thank you for stopping by! Please take a look around. It is about to undergo some major cosmetic surgery, and post editing to make this blog more entertaining. I finally have a blog schedule going, so posts will be updated more regularly.



Source
 "Y'all come back now, ya hear!"


**I would also like to mention today is Husband's birthday! Happy 28th, Babe!**



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Good Day? Nailed it.

Great day for the following reasons:

1. Addy and I went the whole day using only cloth diapers! This is the first full day of doing this. Bonus 1. No leaks today. Bonus 2. I still have some for tomorrow morning! (Right now I am still using disposables at night.)

2. After taking a few days off due to weather and a small injury, I finally got back into the Couch to 5k training. Week 3 Day 3 done. I felt like I was going to puke by the time I finished, but in a good way. Can't wait to start Week 4. I'm ready to give five minutes of jogging a try!

3. I made homemade brownies today. Delicious minus the fact that I used a 9×13 pan instead of 9×9. Oops. Live and learn. Live and learn. Super thin brownies make me feel less guilty about eating half the pan anyway.

4. Each of the above will be it's own blog post soon.

5. I'm blogging again!

6. Addy is getting better and better at tummy time. Buying a tummy time mat with the pillow has helped tremendously. That girl is getting so big! 12 weeks tomorrow. Time flies.

7. Blogger and Kindle Fire finally got it together so I can post from my KF as I am now. The laptop is better for links and pictures, but I like having this option for quick posts. Like this one.

Good night!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Where I've Been

I have been absent from the blog world for awhile now.

1st reason: I was actually cleaning and getting ready for the baby. Have some great posts on organizing if I ever get around to it.

2nd reason: During the last few weeks of pregnancy all I wanted to do was sleep! No energy what so ever!

3rd reason... as of June 1st... BABY ADDY IS HERE!!! She's freaking awesome, although it's hard work! Now, I'm not going to make a habit of posting her pictures all over the internet, but one from the hour she was born can't hurt, can it?

I'm looking forward to getting back to blogging. I may change what I write about slightly. We'll see after I get more than 2 hours of sleep at one time :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Facebook Timesaver

I am addicted to Facebook. I say addiction because I find myself hitting "refresh" all the time even though I am not even interested in half of what I see.

It is such a time suck.

Here's the solution for those of us addicted but do realize we need to spend less time on there:

1. Go through your "likes." Do you really like what you read? Do you like it because you really like it or because a friend asked you to/ a great deal? If you still feel the need to "like" the page, you have the option of "view in news feed." I went and un clicked this on almost all my "like" pages.
2. Do the same for your Friends.

Ta da! Now when I hit "refresh" it is a ton less things to read. And I got rid of the annoying friends posts that I feel too guilty about deleting forever. (Although I did delete some friends a few months back. Liberating I tell ya!)


Monday, April 30, 2012

Not Lazy, Just 34 (almost 35) Weeks Pregnant!

Working on the sales floor of a giant retail store means being on my feet A LOT. By a lot, I probably mean too much. But hey, I start maternity leave in 24 days (not that I'm counting or just as excited about that as the actual baby or anything). When I come home or have days off I just want to sit. No matter how much stuff needs to be done around the house, or dinner needs to be cooked, or the dogs need to use the bathroom.
While I am not the most motivated person on earth (a change I have been desperately trying to make), I do like to be productive every now and then. So I started a list.

Chores I can do sitting down
  • Fold Laundry
  • Thank you notes (still need to get this one done from the first shower, and I have another in a few weeks)
  • Sort through paperwork
  • Pay bills
  • Work on household notebook
  • Plan meals
  • Pet and play with the animals
  • Sort through boxes/ organize
  • Finish the second dog bed (made one of fleece, but never finished the second)
  • Work on one sister's cook book (a wedding present I forgot to bring her last October, so I want to add more recipes)
  • Also send her Christmas present (this is what happens when you live in separate states)
  • Think/buy/make Mother's Day gifts
  • Online shopping :)
  • Sew Addy's wipes (bought tons of flannel for homemade diaper wipes.. I've made 3)
  • Blog :)
  • Enter HGTV's Green Home sweepstakes (you can enter 2x daily!)
  • Look up vet information and call them
Wow. I made this list last week, and have yet to do almost any of them.  I slack. I did start the laundry today! Finally washing some of Addy's things.

Any other chores I can add to the list?

Friday, April 27, 2012

5 Things I Can Live Without Thursday

5 Things I Can Live Without: Thursdays are posts where I let the world know what I am getting rid of in my quest to minimalism/ preparation for baby.  The title was taken from The Dehoarding Diary.

Somehow the cleaning products have made lots of cleaning product babies, and there are 1/2 used plastic bottles full of chemicals all around the house. I really enjoy just using vinegar and water, and the others in the house use it the majority of the time as well. Since reading up on more natural cleaning products and reading Clean Start: Your Guide to Natural Home Cleaning, I don't know why we keep the other cleaners. So I asked Dad to go through some of them, and we're getting rid of the ones we no longer want. So far here is what we're giving away: 
Once I get to cleaning the basement and garage there will be more. I know they're hiding down there somewhere!

The plan was to bring the unwanted bottles to my baby shower and let the ladies take home what they want. However, as usual, I did not get the task done on time. A friend really wants some of these cleaners, so she can pick them up whenever, and I will find someone else to take what she does not want. I love actaully acting on my beliefs/ wanted lifestyle and getting rid of these toxins!

How is everyone else doing? Any awesome changes?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Minimalist, I'm Not: More Cable

*A series confessing my minimalism gone wrong and/or things I refuse to give up.*

So, it's no secret that the past few months I have been trying to give up so much TV, and wish for no cable in the future.
Well, thank you so much AT&T U-Verse for dashing these dreams!
A salesman came by a couple of weeks ago to let my husband and dad know that U-Verse is now available on on our street. So now we have higher internet speed, DVR control in 3 rooms, and way way more channels including some movie channels for apparently less than with the previous provider. More for less is a good thing, if you're not trying to break the addiction to TV.

I am extremely proud I have not been watching TV as much. Re runs bore me, One Tree Hill is no more, and most of our shows are either done for the season or done for at least a few weeks (Come back, Once Upon A Time! I miss you so much!).
We have added yet another TV drama to the mix, Touch. This was my doing. Oh well. I can work on minimalising in other areas for awhile.  :)

Pretty Awesome Deal


 http://life.yourway.net/2nd-annual-simplify-your-family-life-sale/

I cannot wait to start reading these books!

I apologize for not posting about this sooner.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

House Management Notebook

I feel a little nerdy about this, but I am going to start a Home Management Notebook (Or House Management Notebook or Family Organizer).

Links for ideas and more information:

http://www.household-management-101.com/household-notebook.html
http://simplemom.net/home-management-notebooks-are-a-great-idea/
http://organizedhome.com/household-notebook

I haven't quite narrowed down how I will use it besides the calender and cleaning schedule yet, but as each website suggests, it will take time to learn what works for our family and adjustments will continuously be be made.

My goal is to get everything on the computer eventually, but the Household Management 101 site is right.  I better make sure it works and get it going before filing everything on the computer and setting up that system.  Maybe after we fix the battery and I can actually take my laptop to different rooms! (imagine that... a portable computer!)

Plus, I haven't done anything creative in awhile.  Pictures and more posts coming soon. I have actually been semi productive, had good blog thoughts, and still need to write about my reflections on the 24 Unplug experience.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Money Saver: Cell Phone Plan Change

My text to Husband today: 10 weeks!  Call tmobile and get rid of internet. Think of others ways to save $. Brain storm babe! We're going to have a money sucker in 10 weeks!

The money sucker I am referring to is the sweet little baby girl that has been kicking me a lot lately in my belly.  I am 30 weeks pregnant today. I know she still has a lot of growing to do, but I cannot wait to meet her!  Plus, she is sucking the life out of me - washing dishes wore me out this morning. While I want to clean and purge more, I have a feeling it may not get all done.  I am learning to be okay with this.

Husband called the cell phone people, and we are now saving $67 a month!  He ended up getting a new phone, and after that's paid off, we'll save even more.  Woo hoo!

I'll learn to be okay with no internet on my phone in time.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I'm doing it: National Day of Unplugging

I made the commitment for The National Day of Unplugging. Tonight no phone, TV, internet for 24 hours. I will start after I clock out of work because I don't know when sundown is (nor do I want to have to keep looking at the clock to find out etc), so  at 8 pm I'll turn my phone off. I am still debating whether or not listening to Pandora radio or  reading a book on KindleFire counts.  I am going to do my best w/o both.

  • I will miss talking to my husband while I am at work tomorrow. And I always call while taking the dogs out in the morning.
  • I wrote down the recipe for dinner tonight so I don't have to go online to look at it.
  • I have to find my watch so I don't need my phone as a watch at work.
  • I am super sad that I have to spend my day of unplugging at work.  What a waste of peace and calmness ha ha.
  • I hope I know others who do this so I'll someone to share experiences with.
  • While I have no desire of going off the grid forever, I hope this makes me more aware of how I spend my time etc. and hopefully the start of good habits.
  • My husband's response when I told him today: "Does this mean I have to do it too?"  ha ha.  I love him.  (answer: "No, but I want be watching TV tonight.")

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Somewhat Getting Back On the Wagon.

First off, thank you so much, Michelle, for asking about me.  I'd tag your blog to make sure everyone gets a read, however I can't remember how, and I am trying to get off the computer :).  I will update this post later and link your blog. Your comment made me smile.  I am doing well, just not been working on my goals as need be, and therefore not much to write about.

I have not been doing well with my goals, not even No TV Mondays!  I do intend to get back to that this Monday (We had to see who "A" was on Pretty Little Liars in hopes I never have to watch the show again... but I still might.  I going to look into getting the books instead.)

I am considering this: National Day of Unplugging.  Consider joining me?

Updates to come!

Hope you all have a wonderful day.

"Be the change you want to see in the world" -Gandhi

Friday, March 9, 2012

Found This Today


I am going to work on cleaning the bathroom and bedroom today as we are supposed to "move" this weekend.  (Moving = switching rooms with my dad as there is no space for a baby in our room.  Thanks, Dad!)  I hope this is a blessing to my husband when he gets home.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Off the Wagon

I have not been doing much good in any department of goals lately.  Hopefully today will be a better day, and I will have something new to post soon.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Small Update-Budgeting

- I sure hope this not-wanting-to-do-anything funk I am in is over soon.

- Something is up with the washing machine, so I may have to learn how to hand wash soon! Ugh.

+ We are seriously trying to stick to a grocery budget so far this week and including the $30 dog food, we a're only $2 over!  This happened because husband came with me, and wanted a certain cheese.  No more husbands at the grocery store :).  I also forgot a can of sauce, but I am going to come up with something else to eat instead so we don't go even more over budget.

+We decided to give ourselves a $20 allowance each week, and we can use it for whatever we want.  So we can go out for lunch or dinner, but it has to be with that money. So far it's working= neither of us has spent our money! Great way to actually make our lunches and eat at home.

+I got some great recipes to try for Mostly From Scratch Wednesdays.

+We survived another No TV Monday :)

+Writing this has somewhat motivated me.  So thank you.  :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

5 Things I Can Live Without: Thursday

There is a possibility that I am either out of the nesting stage, or I am entering a little burnout. I have not been cooking nor taking my lunch to work (but after reviewing our bank account last night, that is definitely going to change!), the decluttering process is getting slower by the day, the cleaning has been less, and after 3 successful loads of laundry being hung dry I used the dryer our of pure laziness.

I think I just needed a little break. So hopefully all this hard work is turning into habit, I just need a vacation from trying to do all this stuff, and quit doing so much research on new things to try (I am currently obsessed with diy soap, shampoo, lotion, etc).

The nice comments are so encouraging, and they could not have come at a better time (I received one while writing this actually, and it almost made me want to not write the above at all)!

That being said, I did keep track of the things that I am getting rid of/ did get rid of since last Thursday, and wow. Way more than 5!
  • Deleted 100s of emails, and it may be over 1000 now.
  • Went paperless on 3 bills (2 student loans and credit card)  
  • Unsubscribing to many spam emails (1000) more to go -Instead of just deleting, I have started the unsubscribe process. I was married well over a  year ago and still receiving wedding emails. --never give wedding vendors your email!
  • Most apps off my phone - I thought I would miss these, but not having to charge my battery all the time is worth it. I do still get Facebook on the browser, but it's becoming less frequent.
  • Many games off of my Kindle Fire
  • “likes” on Facebook - I deleted Facebook page likes that I have no idea why I "liked" in the first place.
  • Another shirt
  • 4 things of makeup - 3 to the trash unfortunately
  • Threw a pair of shoes away, unfortunately
  • Easter eggs in car - I bought them for my sister after season last year, and somehow I still have them. At least they are in the car now, and not in the house.
  • Dryer – well not really. I was doing really well. Clothes were hung, but towels and sheets are still in the dryer until I figure out some space issues. This morning I just stuck it all in the dryer because I did not prepare yesterday and my only pair of work pants need to be dry before 10:30 (It's around 8:40 now)
  •  Trash out of my car, and everything else out (except the Easter eggs and hopefully donations soon) 
  • All VHS tapes are in a box to donate!
  • 2 puzzles are in the same box
  • A book
  • A board game that for whatever reason we have two of. How do these things happen, and unnoticed?
The next step is to get the donation box to my car, and to the charity (most likely Goodwill).

Oh! I finished the count on the clothes for my husband and I. Without adding the clothes that had to be thrown away (still makes me sad that things go in the trash, but hopefully in the future I can work on this) the tally is... drum roll please...

83!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

We Survived!

I'm not sure how much more productive we were on a TVless Monday, but we had fun, and I had much needed time with the husband. He was happy to have the TV back on Tuesday though :)

Some highlights of the day:
  • We learned what Oobleck is, what slacklining is, started a puzzle, and played online Madlibs (remember those?).
  • I learned a lot about more about minimalism and about air purifying plants (next on the list: buy plants for the house).
  • Thank you notes from my graduation went out, a sympathy card went out. By "went out" I mean put in the mailbox - President's Day = no mail person
  • I also finally, FINALLY! tried my hand at hang drying the clothes! Another post on that soon. I say success though, and the nerd in me enjoys laundry even more.
  • Cleaned the front closet again and started the linen closet - would be done if I wasn't so disorganized.
I am pretty excited to make No TV Monday a regular thing. It is already helped me not watch as much, and when I am watching, less interested. Already have a list of shows I'm about ready to toss.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

DIY Laundry Soap

I made another batch of laundry soap today.  Two actually.  This way a family member can try it for free.  I can be nice sometimes :)

I use this recipe, however there's a 1000 more online, so you can find the one that fits your own needs. I do use Ivory bar soap instead of Fels-Naptha.  Making the liquid version is probably even cheaper than powder, but it's not my style.  I may try it later on.

It only takes 20 minutes, and that includes everything from getting the materials on the table, grating the soap, mixing the ingredients, and washing the dishes.  The dishes come out the the cleanest you have ever seen them :).

I also add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.  It makes the clothes so soft, and I do not mind that it takes away any fragrance that the soap has.  Laundry comes out smelling clean without any soapy fake smell.  Just clean (which smells like nothing, but I like it now). And no need for fabric softener in the dryer.

Making my own laundry soap:
  • Saves money.  Here's my run down:
    • The ingredients cost $10.89 before tax. According to my calculations, it's $1.26 per batch. It looks like to be about 3 to 4 cups in a batch, so anywhere between 24- 32 loads of laundry per batch.
    • I tallied how many loads of laundry I washed with this last jar, and I only got around 21 loads of laundry. However, I believe I over scooped a few, and I am forgetful, so my tally maybe off.  I will keep tally this batch as well, may be it will be more.  21 is not bad though.
  • Helps the environment.
    • This is debatable.  Borax is controversial in the "green" world, as it can be toxic.  Regular laundry soap is not that good for the environment either!
    • Less plastic- everything except the soap comes in cardboard- recyclable.  I will probably try a different type of soap with less fragrance and better packaging.  The soap I bought was a 10 pack.
    • Not using fabric softener.  Google it.  Terrible for you and environment. 
    • Every product is just cleaning products, no extra dyes or unneeded ingredients.  Not 100% true for the soap, but you can easily use castille soap.
  • Using all products that are versatile.  Somehow it makes me feel better knowing all the ingredients can be used for something else it case I need it.  I am almost out of soap, so if I forget to buy some, I can just use the Ivory.  You can clean the house with the other two ingredients.
  • Having fun and staying motivated.  I do not know what it is about making the soap myself, but it makes me want to do laundry more!  Seriously. I am such a nerd, I know.
If you are not into making your own soap, you can still save money by:
  • USING LESS DETERGENT! The measuring cup and back of the laundry detergent will tell you to fill to level three for full loads. BOO! For a couple of years before making my own soap, I filled the cup to level one, sometimes less, and the only difference I noticed was less smell on the clothes.  Huge money saver. Remember, the detergent is more concentrated now so even the tiniest amount over "the line" has more soap than needed when measuring.
  • Mixing powder detergent with baking soda or washing soda. I have not tried this, but it was listed a lot when researching the topic.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

5 Things I Can Live Without: Thursday

Okay, I am a day early, but I had to share!

As I mentioned before, I took everything out of our closet and our dresser.  Husband and I have been going through all the clothes for almost a week now, and I am done with my stuff!  The only thing I need to do is go through the clothes in the basement and dirty laundry. Husband's clothes are almost done too, but he works more hours than I do, so it takes him longer.

My tally:
46 items I can live without.  This includes a purse, belts, scarves, tops, bottoms, things you would normally find in closets or dressers.  I haven't looked at shoes yet, but I am feeling pretty good right now.

This fits my goals by:
  • Living with less
  • Easier to clean, and less laundry to do
  • A great sense of accomplishment of actually finishing a task! 
  • All of these things are going to a charity.  There have been a couple of throw away items not mentioned.  So that is more than 46 items!

Becoming a Mother, Becoming a Minimalist?

I find it funny that most women who start nesting bring more things into a home to decorate and get ready for a baby, and I am trying to purge everything!

A few weeks ago, about the time I started this blog, I heard of the concept "minimalism" and "being a minimalist" from reading The Zero Waste Blog (I really need to stop mentioning this blog so much, but it is just so good!). The Dehoarding Diary had many websites listed to help the girl on her journey, and many being minimalist blogs.  My favorite of these has been http://mnmlist.com/, who has the same author as Zen Habits.  After reading all of his posts, I am now in the middle of reading http://www.missminimalist.com/, who is also great, and she even posts testimonies of other minimalists, many of whom also have blogs on the subject and lifestyle.

I believe embracing a more minimalist lifestyle goes hand in hand with all the goals I posted on the first post of this blog:

"I have so many things I want to try to save money and/or become more environmentally friendly such as:

  • quit using the dryer so much (if at all)
  • becoming a better cook
  • de-cluttering the house minimalism at its best
  • getting rid of my car minimalism at its best
  • cloth diapering
  • no more paper towels
  • greener cleaning (DIY cleaners I imagine) 
  • start a garde
  • living with less the definition of minimalism
  • etc. etc. etc. 
I also need to learn the "basics" of being a stay at home mom:
  • cleaning With less stuff, there is less to clean
  • cooking
  • taking care of a baby
  • less procrastination (the reason all the above as never been done) With less distractions in my life, there will be less reasons to procrastinate.
  • sticking to a schedule
  • sticking to a budget (I am determined to do what I have to do to stay at home with the baby at the least the first couple of years, and am willing to sacrifice a lot to do this) Not buying things is the best way to save money.
  • juggling a husband, baby, 2 dogs, 3 cats, 2 tanks (one with three turtles, one with the only fish the turtles didn't eat), and my dad whom we live with I won't have time for the rest of the junk in my life anyway!
  • becoming more patient Less stuff means less of a hassle to find things.
  • etc etc etc."


While reading all these blogs I mentioned above, I started getting rid of things.
  • Over half the papers in my desk and files (many I still have because I have not emptied the paper shredder-I am a work in progress)
  • My husband and I have 30 clothing items so far we are donating (and more to go)
  • I have started throwing trash away in the garage and sorting through those items
  • I have made many trips up and down the stairs to take things to the basement that I will eventually donate or I do not believe belong upstairs (please no lectures on pregnant women carrying things downstairs, I am being careful, and the loads are light) 
  • Many apps on my phone and Kindle Fire.  Including the Facebook app on my phone.
My thought process has changed.  For example, while working in the terrible hell of retail, I now just see Junk.  And lots of it.  Especially the Valentine's Day stuff.  I wanted some of that a month ago. I wanted a lot of things that now I simply see no point in. Looking at items in the house now I wonder "why do I have this?"
I even gave Husband official permission (in a text and on Facebook) to not get me anything on Valentine's Day.  He thought it was a trick, so I still ended up with two cards and a small stuffed animal. The point it, I loved cards and small gifts, but now I would rather just do something fun together.

I am also considering the following ideas (I have decided not to go into details on this because I feel these will be good posts later on):
  • Giving up my smart phone.
  • Giving up cable.
  • Giving up my car.
There are concerns with my new outlook on life:
  • Balance.  Especially for my daughter.  I do not want her to grow up with nothing, nor with everything.  I'll have to learn the right balance to the amount of toys she has, etc.
  • Family holidays, especially Christmas:  When I say I do not want anything, people do not listen. Just as I have not listened and bought things for others despite them saying "I don't want anything." I love the fact people want to give me things, but I really do not need anything at this point.  While Bea (from ZeroWasteHome) is good at refusing things, I am not going to do that.  Also, how to celebrate Christmas and other Holidays, such as Easter, with my family and with little waste as possible and with little junk as possible, but still be fun. 
  • Also gift giving to others now.  While it is my view we all have enough, should I still buy "gifts" for them as well, or go with consumable and experience gifts that I now want?  (Ex: baked items, tickets to museums, movies, promise to hang out, vs. physical objects)
  • Learning to compromise.  While decluttering now, I am leaving the kitchen for last because over half of those things are my dads.  I will have to learn how stay minimalist myself, even if my husband and dad don't embrace the lifestyle (I have not talked to them about this, so they may love the idea).
  • I do not want to hurt people's feelings if they find out I gave something away that they gave me.  I know many people who place a lot of worth on objects, but I am not one of them (I haven't been for a long time, I have just been too lazy to go through things and get rid of it).
  • I feel this way today.  Will I feel this way in a few months?
  • Habits take a long time to form.  I just hope I can stick to my guns long enough for these habits to take shape (I have started many new projects and habits, with no lasting success). 
Sorry for such a long post, but I wanted to include how I felt, and the new(er) journey I am going through.  For whatever reason I feel I have to explain myself (probably from experience-when I was a vegetarian it was always "why," and even considering cloth diapering has had me to defend my reasoning over and over).  I look forward to questions, comments, concerns, and even criticisms.  I think this post covers most of it, though.  :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

5 Things I Can Live Without: Thursday

This past Thursday I asked (maybe told) my husband to look through the closet and pick out five things he no longer wanted.

I would have done the same except that I found six things just by folding that day's laundry.

So this past Thursday we found 11 things we can live without.  We have them in a bag to take to a thrift shop.  I love having my husband on board with this, even if it is because I just keeping asking/reminding/telling him to please do it for his pregnant wife. :)

Since then, I have taken everything out of our closet and dresser and we are currently going through it. I'll keep ya updated.  :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mostly From Scratch Wednesday: Chicken Burritos

Have you ever tried Stouffer's chicken enchiladas?  Delicious!
Sinfully delicious.  Between whatever they use to make frozen foods taste good that are usually bad for you and all the packaging that gets thrown away (hopefully recycled)  this was a good first meal to try and substitute.  I also read while researching the microwave popcorn bags, that the same terrible ingredient found in the bag is also found in the plastic of these convenient easy meals.

So I searched for what I thought would be an comparable substitute on Cooks.com.  I love this website because there is about a million variations on anything you want to make.  I chose one with simple ingredients, and something I could put in the oven.  Not sure my obsession with putting it in the oven, but that was the requirement.  Maybe due to trying to mimic the frozen dinner.

Delicious!  Even though I bought soft taco tortillas instead of burrito sized.  Oops. In the end in worked out because I also did not cook enough chicken.  Lesson learned.  I also added cooked rice mixed with salsa at the bottom of the pan to try and get it closer to the Stouffer's meal.

Next time:
  • More chicken, less salsa.  I like tons of salsa, but husband was not impressed by the ratio.
  • Possibly add beans to the mix.
  • Possibly add mexican style corn to the rice.  The Stouffer recipe has corn in it, and it's only one simple step.
  • Track the cost.  I had most of the ingredients at home, so I did not spend much money.  I will update this post afterwards as that is another reason for this experiment.
  • Buy the right type of tortillas!
  • Find a good virgin margarita or sangria recipe to go along with this yummy Mexican dish!  :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

5 Things I Can Live Without: Thursday

I am writing two posts today, as I feel the two subjects deserved their own title and space.

After feeling defeated, unproductive, unmotivated and restless, I finally finished reading Dehoarding Diary last night. After reading it I felt newly inspired to keep up my cleaning and decluttering efforts.  Everyday for the last week, even if only 30 minutes, I have successfully conquared throwing things in the trash/recycle, moving things to their proper location, filing, or putting things in the "I do not want this" bag. For whatever reason yesterday, cleaning the car did not feel enough, and I felt I had wasted the day. The Dehoarding Diary helped me realize that nothing changes in a day.  The diary is for an entire year, and when she quit writing, she still had a long way to go.

  • Habits take time.
  • Small changes/efforts add up.  I am not going to clean my entire house in 30 minutes or even a day.
  • Taking a day off is okay, and needed.

These are the thoughts I am taking from her blog.  That and her "5 Things I Can Live Without: Thursday" idea.  Every Thursday I will make it a point to put 5 things in the "I do not want this" bag.  This bag is a collection of items to take to Goodwill or to sell somehow (I have a ton of schoolbooks that I do not want, but since some cost over $100, should I really just give them away for free?).  I will try to list the items in this blog to help motivate myself, and possibly others.  Hopefully I can get my husband on board so we can get some of the bigger things out (do we need the tvs in the basement, the extra dresser, the the love seat?) as I cannot handle these things myself.

In other progress:
  • I found the recipe for the chicken burritos I want to try tomorrow night, I just have to get the motivation to go grocery shopping. (I am also making changes to the recipe, and this is major because I always feel I will mess up the recipe if I don't do it exactly the way it says.)
  • I remembered to bring my lunch to work Sunday, but forgot a fork.  Instead of getting a plastic fork, I used my bread to eat the casserole.  One less fork in the landfill, and hopefully lesson slearned to not forget my fork again!
  • Husband's grandparents bought us a crib for Addy!  It's all getting so real!  I am trying not to panic about all the things we have not bought for her, and the things in the house we still need to get done to get ready.  Everything takes time.

Defeated Once Again by Miney and Mo

Last July 4 my husband called saying he found some kittens in the backyard of his dad's house. "Do you want one?"

How could I rescue just one!? So all 4 kittens came to live in my garage (these pictures are where I found them, not my garage-although it's almost as messy).

Eenie
Meanie
Miney
 and Mo

Poor Meanie passed away a week or two later, and one of my brothers adopted Eenie, now named Waylon. So I decided to keep Miney and Mo, and have them be outdoor cats (only after they are fixed). After all the hours (probably adds up to days!) spent in the garage getting the kittens to warm up to me, Miney still doesn't liked to be touched, and runs away from us. Come on, Miney, it's been over 6 months now. I feed you. Stop running. Mo, the more social one, comes out and demands attention... except when I need him.

Two times have made vet appointments to get them altered, and two times they have taken this day and the day before to hide and not come to me. How do cats know these things! One of them days being yesterday. I sat in the garage with the smell of garage things and cat litter for over 2 hours, and they wouldn't come out of hiding. Tuna did not work this time. This is very disheartening to a pregnant woman. Maybe even non pregnant women.

I decided to be productive through my frustration, anger, feeling-sorry-for-myselfness, by cleaning the garage a little (maybe if it's cleaned, they'll have less places to hide), and my car. Although I did not finish, I completely emptied the trunk, and about half the stuff in the seats.  Very little remains. I am still upset with the kittens, especially since they were sitting in the window this morning while I took the dogs out.  GRR!

From now on, I am going to try to spend more time with them, and more consistently in the past. I must get them spayed and neutered and out of the garage (before they start making incest babies!). It will be rewarding to not have to cancel another appointment too.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Mostly From Scratch Wednesdays

I had plans all day to sit tonight and write an awesome blog post.

However, I spent most of the day with in-laws, and while they are sweet, and they bought us a crib today, I am now exhausted.

So, I will just let my new goal be known.

Once a week, I believe it will be on Wednesdays, I will pick one meal that I usually make out of a box, or something we order, or a meal I like at restaurants, etc, and learn to cook it "mostly from scratch."

Mostly From Scratch Wednesdays.  I like it.  By "mostly from scratch" I mean that if the recipe calls for tomatoes, beans, broccoli, what have you, I have the freedom of using the canned or frozen item.  After I get more basic cooking skills down, I'll start a From Scratch Day.  This will a take awhile...

I believe chicken enchiladas or chicken burritos will be my first endeavor.  Second.  My first was popcorn.  Of course I'll post the recipe and rate my results!  I assume I'll have some awesome fails that will seem hilarious to the outside world (I'm known for leaving bowling water on the stove so long it burns the pan, undercooking/overcooking things in both microwave and oven, and forgetting to put eggs in a cake).

Good night!

Friday, February 3, 2012

I'll Never Buy Microwave Popcorn Again!

I am so excited over my tiny accomplishment of popcorn making.  (It's the little things in life.)
I have been eyeballing popcorn makers for quite some time now.  I heard long ago that microwave popcorn bags are bad for you, but I have an addiction.  I love popcorn!  With a birthday last week, I started to think, "Hey, that's a great gift from the husband."

As I read The Zero Waste Home blog this week, I am determined to minimize the clutter in my house, and minimize the clutter that will come in contact with my house.  Plus, popcorn machines are typically made of plastic, which I am learning is the arch enemy of eco-conscious humans.  So I Googled (my answer to everything as you will see) "making popcorn on the stovetop," and would like to give a big THANK YOU! to Elise (that's my middle name!) who posted this recipe onto Simplyrecipes.com   Here's the delicious result of my experiment:
It's so easy and cheap, I'm wondering why poisonous microwave popcorn was even invented?
For those who still feel the need to make popcorn in the microwave, you can also put popcorn in a brown paper lunch bag.  I feel that this is still wasting a bag and tape, but it's much healthier and cheaper than buying the microwave popcorn from the store.

Learning to make popcorn (I know, it's the simplest thing, but I said before I'm a terrible unmotivated cook, so I have to start small!) I am:
  • Saving money.  The 32oz bag of popcorn (and you only use 1/3 cup at a time) is about $1.60, where as a 6 bag box of my favorite microwave popcorn is around $3.50 (of course buying canola oil, butter and salt cost money, but I always have that in the house anyway)
    • Also saving money from buying a popcorn maker.
  • Eating healthier.  This popcorn had minimal butter and salt, yet still tastes delicious (as I am not a dietitian, I cannot calculate the actual fat and calorie savings, but I do know it's less).
    • Don't forget about all those chemicals I'm not putting in my and the baby's body!
  • Not adding unnessessary appliances and clutter to the kitchen.
  • Not creating more eventual waste from the plastic and other parts of buying the popcorn maker.  Plus the plastic wrapping and and probabaly styrofoam cushion and cardboard box.
    • I should however look into buying canola oil and butter not in plastic containers.  One step at a time.  The bag of popcorn I bough is also wrapped in plastic, as I could not get myself to buy the 3x more expensive brand just for the glass jar.  Maybe in the future.
  • Having fun.  It's fun to see popcorn shoot out of the top when you take the lid off, and I think my future child will have fun with the process too.  I had fun making it when I was a kid.
In other awesome baby step accomplishments of yesterday, I reached my other two goals for the day:
  • Remember to bring my cloth bags to work (I work in a retail store where I usually buy lunch and shop after work).
  • Do not buy a drink at work (I have an aweful addiciton to vending machines, not bringing my cup, and soft drinks).
Added bonus: I refused the plastic bag Subway puts sandwiches in, and resisted the urge to use a disposable cup for water when I left my cup in car earlier that day.  Hooray!

 Now I must work on another goal: cleaning!  Nothing like the possibility of your husband's grandparents (who I am sure June Cleaver learned a lot from- his grandmother is amazing at everything!) to motivate you to get your house in order!  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I am Finally Doing This

There is something about being pregnant that has finally motivated me to start doing the things I have always wanted, and changing for the better.  I am becoming a mom! I do not want Addy (my future daughter  due June 7) to grow up the way I did (not that it was all bad), nor end up learning/changing things at 27 like me.  I want her to grow up with good habits in place.

I understand that this is probably hormones :), and may not last past month 6 (I am 22 weeks this Thursday).  I am still thankful that it's happening at all. :)

This blog started due to my homemade laundry detergent (another post about this in the future), and the amount of feedback from Facebook friends and a co-worker who suggest the blog.  After posting
the link to The Zero Waste Home on Facebook, a discussion among friends led to me telling them I am in the process of making my own reusable flannel wipes (again, another post on this in the future) for my baby. Which led to this comment: "Jenny--keep me updated as to things you are making to keep me motivated!"  This made my day.  Sealing the deal that a blog is appropriate for the journey I'm embarking on.


I have so many things I want to try to save money and/or become more environmentally friendly such as:
  • quit using the dryer so much (if at all) (This will be difficult as I recently learned a clothesline is agianst the HOA here)
  • becoming a better cook
  • de-cluttering the house
  • getting rid of my car
  • cloth diapering
  • no more paper towels
  • greener cleaning (DIY cleaners I imagine) 
  • start a garden (next year, not this year as I can't see myself raising a newborn and newborn carrots and tomatoes)
  • living with less (modeling most of what Bea and her family from the Zero Waste Home does)
  • etc. etc. etc. 
I also need to learn the "basics" of being a stay at home mom:
  • cleaning (I'm terrible at this, simply terrible.)
  • cooking (not motivated in the kitchen at all, but hopefully this will change)
  • taking care of a baby
  • less procrastination (the reason all the above as never been done)
  • sticking to a schedule
  • sticking to a budget (I am determined to do what I have to do to stay at home with the baby at the least the first couple of years, and am willing to sacrifice a lot to do this)
  • juggling a husband, baby, 2 dogs, 3 cats, 2 tanks (one with three turtles, one with the only fish the turtles didn't eat), and my dad whom we live with
  • becoming more patient
  • etc etc etc.

This list will get longer, and I intend on writing about each of these goals, what works, what doesn't, my personal adventures in these matters, etc. I hope others read this to help encourage and inform me, and possibly be inspired too.
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