Thursday, April 30, 2009

In the Absence of...Music

I am convinced that in a perfect world, there would be the perfect music playing all the time. We all love to watch movies (I take that back, most women love to) that have an amazing song to soar you through the scene and take you to just the emotion and memory to let you relate to the characters.


In this sense, I feel that playing music in my home helps to create the emotions and setting I am looking for...peace, comfort, joy....

Today was a day where I needed to remove the emotions and feelings I was having (ie-exhaustion, frustration, headachetion-yeah, I made it up:) and replace them with the above setting.... When I remember, I pull up a website called Pandora and type in whatever type of music I would like to listen to, a favorite band, or even a song I want to hear. The website then creates a station they think would appeal to your listening interests....its amazing. Over time, you can rate whether or not you like certain songs and eventually create a bunch of different stations to fit your mood.


In our house, we listen to bands like Robbie Seay Band, Hillsong, David Crowder, Sara Groves, Brooke Fraser, we play Classical music, or one day I typed in Raffi (you know, the old 80s child advocate?) and was so pleasantly surprised, its one of my favorite stations.

My oldest daughter loves the "pretty music" which is classical, or romantic period music. She really loves the sound of violins which is great!

Over all, I think its important to create a home that not just you, but your children want to be in. This is one way I "attempt" to accomplish that and create

PEACE, COMFORT & JOY

Thanks!


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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stay at Home...and Pray

Sometimes one of the best things about being a SAHM, is that you have the ability to pray whenever, wherever and however you like. Today was a day where much prayer was needed, and still is if you'd like to join in.

A wonderful family in our church is going through a terrible time. The husband and father has just been flown to Boston for more surgery, after he's already been through surgery at least 4 times that I know of. He has a loving wife and a 5 year old son. The husband had his spleen removed two weeks ago, and is now having some sort of liver failure as well as possible kidney issues. The hospital has had him in a sedated coma and his body is not even closed from the previous surgery to see if they can keep the fluids down.
Please pray for this family, for peace, for healing and most of all, pray for this family to have their daddy back. In God's Will...


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Mothering Magazine

I am always looking for areas of inspiration and "like-minded" people. I wanted to share a little about the magazine called Mothering. It's not your typical run of the mill magazine. It is filled with articles that push the boundaries on what is culturally acceptable, it has information on healthy children and families the natural way, and the editor is not afraid to "tell it like it is" which I always feel is the best way! If you are looking for a little mommy break and wanting to fill your brain with something useful, not just junk and advertisements, try picking up a Mothering magazine. You will either be pleasantly surprised, or hate it! But I guarantee you will learn something new...maybe even about yourself!



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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Try It! Tuesday

Since this week is a kitchen cabinet week, I thought I would share a little tip with you. This tip is great if you have an item in your refrigerator that you want to use up, or a spice you have never used, or just want something different.



Its at allrecipes.com, and its their ingredient search. The site itself is amazing in finding great recipes, but if you dig a little deeper in their site, you can find their search page by ingredients. This is great for picky eaters too because it also has an "ingredients I don't want" section too. My husband, Brian doesn't like cheese-(I know, ridiculous, but nevertheless, we deal with it) so I always type in cheese on the items I don't want list.




If I have a lot of chicken, I will type that in the ingredient search, without cheese of course, and find some pretty great recipes with chicken.




I have also used it for spices- for example- I had garam masala and wanted to try it. I typed it in the ingredient search, and many new recipes came up....that's how I found the great Vegetable Masala recipe that I use.




So there's my thing to Try on Tuesday!!


Hope you like it!
Here's a direct link to the ingredients page:


Ingredients Search on Allrecipes.com

Otherwise, you can just click on the word ingredients at the top of the homepage for allrecipes.com


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Monday, April 27, 2009

Menu Plan Monday



This week is a kitchen cabinet week. This means I am not going shopping due to a tighter budget, and we are making due with whatever we have in our cabinets and fridge:

Last week I tried out the Mexicali Casserole which I attached the recipe to. I thought it was OK, just OK. I would definitely make it again and keep it in the fridge for an easy go-to lunch. We all ate it, but it was a little plain and bland. Thanks!

Monday
: Spaghetti w/ meat sauce, broccoli and bread


Tuesday
: Spicy Turkey Burgers (Recipe Below) w/ attempted homemade buns- usually served on whole foods buns...so good


Wednesday
: Honey Mustard Chicken w/ String Beans and Rice


Thursday: Black Bean Chili w/ homemade corn bread and spinach

Friday
: Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup- w/ a secret ingredient....recipe to come

Saturday: Picadillo w/ Naan bread, brown rice and mixed veggies...recipe to come

Sunday: Slow Cooker Thai Chicken


Spicy Turkey Burgers
Originally got this recipe off of allrecipes.com, but I have tweaked it a little to fit our needs. I also have it doubled so I can save some in the freezer.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1.5 medium onions, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 2teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons Bragg's Amino Acids- (replacement for soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground dry mustard or even 2 tablespoons course mustard
  • 2tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat the grill for high heat.You can also heat a frying pan and put a little oil in it.
  2. In a bowl, mix the ground turkey, garlic, ginger, onion, cilantro, salt, Bragg's Amino Acids, black pepper, paprika, mustard, cumin, and Worcestershire sauce. Form the mixture into 16 burger patties.
  3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Place turkey burgers on the grill, and cook 6 minutes per side, until well done.
  4. Serve with Fresh Spinach, Tomato and your favorite condiment. I love to use mayo, but my husband uses a hot pepper relish which he loves....
  5. Place extra patties on plastic wrap and individually seal them. When ready to use, place in refrigerator that morning or night before.
Enjoy!


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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Finally, the Poopy Party Pictures!

A lot of you were wanting to see how the poopy party went...well, in my opinion, it couldn't have gone any better. First off, Lily made out like a bandit.....many guests actually brought poopy party presents!!Lily received amazing boa type socks and a flower headband. She even got a build-a-bear gift card which we just used last night to get a teddy bear. Lily aptly named this teddy bear "potty bear", with no help from the parents, she just remembered that she got the gift card for her poopy party...awesome.

Anyway, Lily's favorite gift wasn't really a gift at all. My cousins were in Florida vacationing and happened to stop by for the party. They brought with them their miniature doberman pinture named "Jazzy". I couldn't tell who was walking who, but Lily and Jazzy hung out for hours. Not only was Jazzy the proper size for Lily to luv on, but Jazzy was also wearing a princess outfit, which I'm sure Lily was a little jealous of....

The night ended up with a dance party... couples dancing. Lily with G-Bob, S with Claire and cousin JJ with Jazzy..... for me, this is classic memories in the home:)

video
Now the only problem is to convince Lily to go on the potty again....maybe this isn't the best potty training tip....but it was fun while it lasted!
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Friday, April 24, 2009

Why HOME is sooo good.


These past two weeks have been so crazy for our family. Two sick girls last week, and now L is sick again with a high fever! I realized that I was dragging these poor kids around all over the place and it probably wasn't helping them. So yesterday, I decided I was going to declare "Thyme at Home" for REAL! I skipped my Stroller Power class, and went for a stroll around the block with my girls. I skipped story time at the Library, and had a story time with my girls in our own rocking chair; L even got to read her favorite story. By the end of the day, I got more cleaning done, the kids were fairly calm and in good moods and I felt refreshed. Sometimes I think "staying at home" is so underrated. Hope I don't sound too old fashioned, but I thought it might be nice to emphasize the importance of making your home a place you want to be as well as where your children want to be. I am currently in the process of trying to create a welcoming "Pre-School" type atmosphere for my 2.5 year old that is also kid friendly to the baby who is crawling and touching everything. Home-schooling is not for everyone, but I am definitely headed in that direction and I thought Pre-School time at our house is a good way to test the waters. If any of you are interested in possibly home-schooling, or just even furthering your young children's learning skills at home, here are some great resource tools and books. I am finding that the Montessori approach is so creative and insightful for the little ones to really use their brains in new ways. Blogs:
Chasing Cheerios- One woman's journey to home-school/unschool her toddler. She gives great ideas for activities and posts all the time

TOTally TOTS- Anything and everything toddlers!

My Montessori Journey- A blog about Montessori teachings

What Do We Do All Day?- A blog about moms and kids at home....great easy activities
List of Best Montessori Blogs by AP- Haven't looked at all the sites, but there are so many creative things you can find with just a little searching....time to pull our the crafty teacher in me!

Montessori for Everyone- She has her own store, and also free downloads for learning cards to work with your children.

Montessori World- This site is amazing, and tells you step by step how to do things... love it!

Hope you all are inspired to take control of your childrens learning, your home and what is BEST for you and your family...God Bless y'all!

(Here, L was learning about patterning, which is one step to learning how to read...whew, we're one step closer!)

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

I subscribe to a bunch of great blogs for stay at home moms and receive many of the through my email. This morning, my children miraculously are still in bed.... and I got to sip my tea and read OPB's (Other People's Blogs)which I love to do! I thought I would attach some of their blogs on mine, as to not repeat such great information. I am attending my MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers)
group today and we are having a speaker on being "Green". If I learn anything new from her, I'll put a post up this afternoon. I love that the bottom line is:

"Being frugal does not have to mean giving up being green"- In fact, now that we are on a budget, eating healthier and being more aware of what we consume, we are more earth friendly than ever before!

Enjoy these links!

Life As Mom- Frugal Ways to Go Green

The Happy Housewife- Keep the Kids Busy without Television

Passionate Homemaking- Considering God's Creation

Have a great Earth Day!


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Monday, April 20, 2009

Menu Plan Monday- FINALLY on Monday!





Well, I have officially posted my menu for the week on the correct day! I even did my grocery shopping today which is my planned shopping day too! Yay! Here is this weeks menu:

Monday: Turkey Spaghetti w/ Broccoli and Garlic Infused Bread
Tuesday: Vegetable Masala w/ Brown Rice(soaked for 7 hours)
Wednesday: Leftovers for hubby and little ones b/c I'm having a girls night out!!! Brio here I come!
Thursday: Mexicali Casserole - new recipe I am going to try b/c I have all the ingredients!
Friday: Chicken Curry w/L/O Brown Rice and Mixed Veggies
Saturday: Black Bean Burgers which I will share as my Vegetarian Recipe of the Week!
Sunday: Breaded Chicken w/ Broccoli and Baked Potato

Whew, now that we're finished, feel free to comment and ask for any recipes of dinners that I have on here. I almost always start out with someone else's recipe and then try to either make it a little healthier, or change it to fit our likings. Thanks!

Oh, BTW- I just purchased for the first time the organic beef at Costco. I'll let you know how it is. I was 12.50 for 3lbs. Normally I buy the regular ground beef - 5lbs for 14.00, but this is one of my goals...to buy organic beef. Eventually I would like to buy from a local grass fed cow farm.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday...on Thursday

I know, this is getting pathetic, but I promise to be back on track next week. We had family in town, four services of worship at church for Easter Weekend, and 2 sick children. There, am I off the hook? Anyway, I am just now getting to the shopping for the week, which prompts me to do the menu planning. So, here it is:

Thursday: Turkey Spaghetti w/ zuchini
Friday: Vegetable Masala w/ Rice
Saturday: Shepard's Pie
Sunday: Chicken Pot Pie

Ok, this week was tough. Sometimes I just sit and stare at my weekly list thinking, "What on earth should I make?" This is the first month that I haven't taken the time at the beginning to fill out the monthly meal plan. I really like doing this because it helps me prepare for the weekly meals in advance. I don't always have to use every single meal that I put down on the exact day I write it in, but it helps me to gather my thoughts and realize that I do have a lot of options to make dinner. I have also been contemplating making some more actual meals for lunches since we are going through a lot of our meals completely. More to come on the weekly lunch planning too!

Here are some topics that I am interested in posting about in the upcoming weeks:
1. Bread Making
2. Lunch Meal Planning
3. Soaking grains
4. Toddler Enrichment Activities
5. Library Books- see blog of www.thehappyhousewife.com
6. Organization Techniques
7. How do YOU do it? A special series on seeing how others do things compared to our family and possibly learning a thing or two! This is probably going to be a weekly meme ( blog hosting)
8. Budget Life- Yup, Budget is Life for us.... we have one if we do it, we lose everything if we don't !


Thanks!

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Vegetarian Meal of the Week!

This is one of our favorites...and just to let you know, if you wanted to add some chicken to this meal, it would be great too, but we feel the veggies in here are more than sufficient to fill you up! I serve this over brown rice, which needs to be cooked for about an hour, so plan ahead! Also, you can add many different vegetables to this meal if you like...if I only have a little bit left of something, I throw it in! Garam masala and mustard seeds really make this dish so delicious! Authentic Indian cuisine always uses cilantro for garnish. I find it hard to keep fresh cilantro in my fridge, so I use dried cilantro and crush up a little in my hand to add a little more flavor. I plan to write a post about the positives of building a great spice collection. Spices are a really cheap way to create a lot of flavor...more to come.


Vegetable Masala


Ingredients:
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 10 French-style green beans, chopped
  • 1 quart cold water
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes w/ juices
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 sprig cilantro leaves, for garnish or pinch of crushed dried cilantro
Directions:
  1. Place potatoes, carrots and green beans in the cold water. Allow to soak while you prepare the rest of the vegetables; drain.
  2. In a microwave safe dish place the potatoes, carrots, green beans, peas, salt and turmeric. Cook for 8 minutes.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook mustard seeds and cumin; when seeds start to sputter and pop, add the onion and saute until transparent. Stir in the tomatoes, garam masala, ginger, garlic and chili powder; saute 3 minutes. Add the cooked vegetables to the tomato mixture and saute 1 minute. Garnish with cilantro leaves.


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Friday, April 10, 2009

Is Your Glass Full?

Hi Everyone, Just thought I would share a little about a new commitment I am making. With 2 young children at home, we can tend to consistently put ourselves last. For a while now, I have suffered from frequent headaches. One easy thing I can do to avoid such frequencies of headaches is make sure I am drinking enough. So here is my challenge: Before you do anything active at home- ie- cleaning the house, playing with your kids, making dinner, whatever.....FILL YOUR GLASS with WATER! Its amazing how much better we can feel by drinking enough water throughout the day. If I don't have enough water, I can become easily irritated, dehydrated, anxious, jittery, dizzy, and then there's those dreaded headaches.... so if there's one tip I can give you for the day, its DRINK DRINK DRINK....water that is! Cheers!

Ten Reasons to Drink More Water....
  • Get Healthy Skin
  • Flush Toxins
  • Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Attack
  • Cushion And Lube Your Joints And Muscles
  • Get Energized And Be Alert
  • Stay Regular
  • Reduce Your Risk Of Disease And Infection
  • Regulate Your Body Temperature
  • Burn More Fat And Build More Muscle
  • Get Well


Psalm 104: 10-14
10 You make springs pour water into the ravines,
so streams gush down from the mountains.
11 They provide water for all the animals,
and the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds nest beside the streams
and sing among the branches of the trees.
13 You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home,
and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor.
14 You cause grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for people to use.
You allow them to produce food from the earth—
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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Recipe of the Week!

Spicy Turkey Burgers

This Recipe is delicious! I like to use fresh grated ginger as well as the bragg's amino acids for more health benefits. if you don't like as much spice, leave out the chile peppers. i always make a double batch of these and freeze them for a busy weeknight meal and I serve them on a light bun with a little mayo, tomato and spinach. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
2 pounds lean ground turkey
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ginger powder or fresh grated ginger
2 fresh green chile peppers, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce or
3 T. Bragg's Liquid Amino
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon ground dry mustard
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
Directions:

1. Preheat the grill for high heat.
2. In a bowl, mix the ground turkey, garlic, ginger, chile peppers, red onion, cilantro, salt, soy sauce, black pepper, paprika, mustard, cumin, and Worcestershire sauce. Form the mixture into 8 burger patties.
3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Place turkey burgers on the grill, and cook 5 to 10 minutes per side, until well done.



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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Menu Plan Monday...on Tuesday




Hello All! I have been menu planning for about 4 months now, and I love it! At the beginning of each month, I plan dinners for the entire month. Meal planning is very cost effective since you can know exactly what you need for the week and can make a detailed list for shopping, and it eliminates spontaneous grocery store splurges and extra trips to the store during the week. On this blog, I will post my monthly menu at the beginning of each month, and then every Monday, I will post my meals for the week!
This week, I have an extremely busy week with Easter, so I am planning on making some meals ahead of time that can be heated in the oven and we don't have to worry about it that night. Here you go!

MONDAY: Stuffed Peppers w/ Vegetable
TUESDAY: Vegetable Masala w/Soaked Brown Rice (vegetarian)
WEDNESDAY: Spicy Turkey Burgers - Recipe to Come!- Make ahead meal
THURSDAY: Turkey Spaghetti w/ Zuchini
FRIDAY: Black Bean Burgers w/ String Beans- (vegetarian) Make ahead meal
SATURDAY: Picadillo w/ Soaked Brown Rice and Naan/ Vegetable- Recipe to Come!
SUNDAY: Easter meal at In-laws Yay!

Tomorrow, I'll post a recipe from this week! There are a lot of good ones in here, so stay tuned!

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Vegetarian Meal of the Week!

As some of you may have read, I try to have at least 2 if not 3 vegetarian meals a week to cut down on grocery costs. I found this recipes and I love it! It will be a regular in our home. I also posted the link below so you can check out her blog. For some of you, vegetarian meals may be somewhat foreign. For me, it wasn't too long ago that I was saying, "It ain't a meal unless there's meat." But I decided to slowly try a few things, and I must say, they are filling and tasty! Give this one a try, you won't be disappointed!

SNOBBY JOES :

Ingredients
1 cup uncooked lentils
4 cups water

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
1 green pepper, diced small (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 - 1 Tablespoons chili powder (orig. recipe called for 3!)
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt
8 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1-2 tablespoons yellow mustard (wet mustard)

4 to 6 kaiser rolls or sesame buns

Directions
Put the lentils in a small sauce pot and pour in 4 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.

About 10 minutes before the lentils are done boiling, preheat a medium soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onion and pepper in the oil for about 7 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and saute a minute more.

Add the cooked lentils, the chili powder, oregano and salt and mix. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the maple syrup and mustard and heat through.

Turn the heat off and let sit for about 10 minutes, so that the flavors can meld, or go ahead and eat immediately if you can’t wait. I like to serve these open faced, with a scoop of snobby joe on each slice of the bun.

Snobby Joes by .Delight.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Strange tip for Potty Training...


My two year old has been avoiding the infamous #2 on the potty for about 4 months now. She tells me, "No mommy, I'm not ready," or "Put a diaper on me, I have to go poopy." I kept thinking I was going to have this situation forever. Well, about a month ago, I promised Lily that she would get to have a poopy party with chocolate cake if she went #2 on the potty. Wouldn't you know, a month later, the minute she goes, she says, " Can I have my birthday now?" Which to me meant, can I have cake now? I couldn't believe that information I had given her had stuck in her little brain. She was probably dreaming of that chocolate cake from the minute I mentioned it, just waiting till her little bottom and mind was ready to go on the potty.
Needless to say, I am taking advantage of the occasion to throw a party. Yup, I'm throwing a poopy party. Here is the invitation:


I am getting a lot of interest in the upcoming party tomorrow. If you want to bribe your child to go potty, which I am finding a lot of mommy's end up doing so, then perhaps a poopy party is just the ticket! More to come after the party! Also may come in handy as a bribery tool when she's older:)



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Can You Say Schedule?

OK, so its been a long time coming in my house to do a daily/weekly schedule and I thought I would share it! I am going to type up a small schedule on the computer, and then let my 2 year old help me color in the larger schedule that will be posted in the kitchen. I have a few places that I need to be during the week and I am going to include those here as what we will call outings...meaning we will be leaving the house.Here is a little of what I am thinking: MONDAY-FRIDAY Schedule:

7am- Wake Up
7:30am- Have Breakfast
8:00am- Clean Up Breakfast, Make beds
8:15am- Get dressed, Start laundry, Quick Clean-up
8:30am- Pack up diaper bag, make up snacks, pull out items to defrost or soak for dinner
A8:45-11:00am- OUTING (This is either library, food shopping, park, or stroller power)
B8:45-11:00am- INNING (This is when we spend the day tidying up the house, or project)
11:15-11:30am- Unpack car/ groceries/clean out car
11:30am- Start to prepare lunch
12:00pm- Lunch
12:30pm- Prepare for naps- Nurse Baby, Put Down, Read Books to DD1-Nap
1:00-2:30pm- Nap/Quiet Time for Kids - Clean up from Lunch/ Start prep for dinner Devotionals for Mommy/Quiet Time
2:30-4:00pm- PLAY TIME with Kids!
4:00pm- Inside- PLAY while mommy prepares dinner
5:00pm- Dinner
5:45pm- Clean-up/ DH takes kids out to play
6:30pm- Bath Time or Family Time- Play, Family Worship or Bible Time
7:30pm- Prep for Bed
8:00pm- Bed Time for DD1


Well, there you have it! Kind of annoyingly obsessive, but this is pretty much the schedule that I have in my head every day. There will be variables throughout the day obviously, but if we can attempt to stick to this schedule as much as possible, the days run smoothly.

I'll post a picture of the hand written schedule next posting!




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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Deciding to be a SAHM

Deciding to become a "mom" for a living has been one of the best and most difficult decisions of my life. Coming from a family who had two working parents, going to college and having typical "wants" on this earth, I have definitely felt the pressure of going back to work in these difficult economic times. But I have to look to God and what He wants for me and my family, and when I do that, the decision is easy, I want to be a mom, the best mom to my children, and for me (not everyone else), that is staying at home and providing for my children from there. I just wanted to share some amazing things that have gone on in my world since moving to Florida in order to make it through this tough economic time on one income: 1. Brian and I have started to adhere to a tight budget and do not use credit cards for purchases anymore. 2. I have cut our food bill by $400 a month just by making what I like to call..."all things mine" meaning, I do not buy anything that is already made, in a box, or needs to be microwaved to be eaten, yes this includes all snacks, cookies, cereals etc. 3. We have gone vegetarian....well, sort-of- I make 2-3 vegetarian meals a week now to save on the cost of meats. 4. We buy all our meats at Costco now, which is a little compromising since I would love to be eating all organic local farm raised meats, but that is for another budget...not ours-yet (read on to see my future goals) 5. If I want something sweet- like a cookie, I make it myself, if I want it that bad, then I definitely can put out the effort of 45 minutes to make a cookie. 6. No more Bottled Water! That's right, I HATE the water down here in Florida...I feel like it makes me sick. But I have given up the bottle. We purchased three large non-leeching plastic containers that I bring to Whole Foods every week and fill up for .30 a gallon. This lasts us for about 5 days and I refill again. This one is eco-friendly and money-friendly 7. No more coffee-- well, no more coffee out.... When I started budgeting, I found out that over a 3 month span, I had spent $125 on coffee!!! Ridiculous! So I vowed to never get Starbuck's again unless I paid for it in loose change.... FYI- I've had about 3 in the last 5 months :) Yay me :) 8. Monthly Meal Planning- yup, I plan for all of our meals for the month, which allows me to know exactly what I need from the grocery store. I have also stopped buying anything for lunches since I always have leftovers from the night before. I totally recommend meal planning... I still purchase food weekly, but am going to attempt to purchase food bi-weekly at some point. Now that I have told you some of the ways I am already saving, I want to share a little about my future goals: 1. Cloth Diapers- This is a big one for me...Having 2 in diapers right now costs about $125 a month. This is what it would cost me up front to purchase the cloth diapers, but from that point on, I wouldn't be spending but about $4 a month more in washing costs. 2. Making my own bread- I know, I have been working on this one for a while, but it takes a lot of practice. I am already baking bread, but my goal is to make bread that is truly edible on a daily basis...tee hee 3. Join a local Co-Op- this is where I would get our fresh fruit, veggies and eggs while supporting local growers and farms in the Florida area. 4. Start a garden, a good garden- not just an insect restaurant, but a garden that is maintained, actually grows and is edible. Our garden now consists of already eaten carrots, spinach, cilantro, and possibly growing peppers that seem to not be liked by the bugs. Got some good tips from friends as far as eco-friendly dish soap for bug repellent. 5. Purchasing beef from a local farmer. This is expensive, but I think it is worth the money if you can afford it. The health benefits are huge. 6. This kind of goes with 4, but I want to start a compost bin. I just recently learned how to make one pretty simply for about $15. This would cut down our waste as well as allow us to have really good soil for growing veggies. 7. Buy more in bulk. Eventually, once I have mastered the art of breadmaking, I will be going through a lot of flour. I would love to create a bulk system in my home with some items in large bins in the garage, and glass jars in the pantry in the kitchen. I use a lot of flour, rice, lentils, and beans. Hopefully throughout this blog, I will take an aspect and talk more in depth about it.. Thanks for reading and joining me on my journey!

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