Saturday, December 29, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan 12.30--1.05

 I hope everyone is enjoying the last few days of 2012.  I am so excited for what 2013 has to offerMy little man will be here and I have so many new ideas to share with everyone.  

I want to incorporate more recipes into this blog and share more organizing/craft projects.  I am also going to be sharing more of what I eat to stay healthy during pregnancy and I want to take you along for the journey of me getting ready for baby!  

Stay Tuned!  

  
We only needed a few grocery items this week.  I haven't had time to make yogurt because of all the holiday craziness and it HURT shelling out $4.99 for it!  

Can you tell I was craving white chicken chili enchiladas tonight?  Recipe coming for that this week!    

Weekly Meal Plan:


Monday:  New Year's Eve!  Trader Joe's orange chicken and vegan fried rice.

Tuesday: Roast, cabbage, potatoes, carrots.

Wednesday:  Chicken and wild rice soup (from freezer). 

Thursday: Shepard's Pie.

Friday: Leftovers or breakfast. 

Saturday: ???

Thursday, December 27, 2012

DYI Survival Candles

Everyone is in for a big treat today!  My friend, Renee, made survival candles and is going to share them with you.  When I saw she was going to be making them I quickly begged asked nicely if she would be willing to do a guest post on them.  She gladly obliged my groveling and did.  :)  

DIY Candles - Reeeneeebear Style

A while back I re-pinned a how to make your own survival candles.  Like most pins I have, it is an awesome idea that I would probably never get around to doing.  However, after having our own power outage and almost gagging because all I had at the time were cinnamon candles, I decided that perhaps this would be a super useful project.  



I decided to go about this a little differently.  I wasn't crazy about turning two of my pots into a double broiler.  I'm all about easy and fast clean up.  So I decided to use my electric skillet and some aluminum pans.  This worked really well so I'm going to share it with all of you!

 
The Materials:



8 oz Canning Jars - I got mine at Walmart.  They were very inexpensive.  I want to say it was around $10-15 for 2 cases (24 jars).  

10 lb bag of Soy Wax Flakes -  I bought these from amazon.com.  You do have to pay for shipping and it seems crazy but all in all you get a 10 lb bag of  really easy to use wax for around $24.



5" wicks -  Now there are a couple ways you can go about this.  You can buy the tabs and wicks and make your own or you can go the lazy way and buy a jumbo bag of pre-made wicks here at amazon.com.  They run at $6.22.  The shipping looks crazy, but the same people ship the wax and the wicks so they only charged me shipping for the wax.  Both items came in the same box.  



Large Pan - You can use your judgement on this.  I got a small square cake pan.  You could get a larger pan   if you want to melt more wax at one time.  This worked pretty well for me.  I could fit 2 smaller pans in at one time.  Although to make all 24 candles, it did take me a couple of hours.  This is what I used:





You don't really need 3 but I couldn't buy just a single one.  



Small pan -   I chose a Mini Loaf 5 pack.  These are the exact ones I used:







I really recommend this size for melting the actual wax.  I was actually able to skip the "measuring cup" step and just pour the wax directly into the jar from the pan.  



Electric Skillet - You probably already have one of these.  If not....then WHAT do you use when making pancakes?  Seriously??!!  :)  Okay if you don't have one, you can get a cheap one at Walmart.  I think mine was in the $20 range.  



Ove Glove - Okay, cheesy as it may seem, I have 2 of these things.  My mom got them for me for Christmas and I really love them.  You can usually find them where all the "only seen on TV" stuff is.  I see them at Target all the time.  You probably don't NEED one, but it sure made things easier!  

Let's Get Busy!


Now that you have all the stuff, let's make some candles!!!!!!



1.  Set up your skillet and turn it on!  I set it at 350 degrees.



2.  Place the larger pan directly on the skillet.  Fill this pan halfway with water.  

    1.  Fill up the smaller pans with wax.  Go ahead and fill them all the way to the top.  Trust me.  It will be alright!


    2. I really recommend this size for melting the actual wax.  I was actually able to skip the "measuring cup" step and just pour the wax directly into the jar from the pan.



  1.  While you are waiting for the wax to melt completely, start prepping your jars.  This consists of taking the lids off and putting a wick in there.  Don't worry about if things are perfectly centered or anything.  We will work on that later!
6.  Okay, now that your wax is all the way melted...
 


it's time to pour it into the jars.  I put on my handy ove glove and just picked the small pan up by the sides and poured the wax into the jars directly.  To start out only pour about one inch of wax in each jar.





Now go ahead and center the METAL part of the wick.  The actual wick will be leaning every which way.  That's okay.  Right now we just want the metal part centered.  After that wax has cooled a little bit, you can straighten the actual wick.  By having a little bit of wax in the jar and letting it cool, you will be able to pull on the wick without the metal part moving.  While you are doing this, you should start melting 2 more pans of wax.  

I would keep pouring a little in each jar so you can give that wax time to cool.

See how the wax has dried and now I can straighten my wick without moving the whole darn thing!  This really doesn't take very long.  The less wax you put in, the faster it dries.  Just make sure you put in enough to cover the metal thing.





  1.  Eventually, you can pour in the rest of the wax.  Don't fill them all the way up to the top.  Leave some room.  I only filled the "smooth" part of the jar.  



Now your wick might go wonky.  Don't worry.  You will have plenty of opportunities to straighten it as it dries.  Here you can see my candles at varies "drying" stages.  It looks funny but they will all turn out the same.  I promise.



  1.  When the candle is almost all the way dry (meaning you can press on the top and your finger only makes a small indent or better yet none at all!), go ahead and trim your wick.  I wish I could tell you a length, but to be honest I just trimmed them short enough so I could put the lid on :)



See and the wick is centered for the most part!



Clean up after this project is a snap.  If you spilled any wax on your counter top it is very easy to scrape off and doesn't leave a residue.  The pans you can either keep for your next candle making adventure or throw them away!  



Congratulations!  You have successfully made emergency candles!  I kept the canning jar box and put the candles back in the box for easy storage.  I also slipped a little pack of matches in each row just in case I couldn't find my Aim N' Flame  :)





Now I'm not sure how long these candles will last.  I went ahead and burnt one just to see how it worked and it is a very nice burning candle.  It burned very even.  I had it going for about 4 hours and it barely burned any of it at all so I'm thinking they would last a pretty long time.  I suppose if you wanted to get all fancy you could get some scent to put in there or dye to make the wax a fancy color, but I wanted these for the sole purpose of having something in case of an emergency.  



Either way, now I'm ready for the next time the electricity goes off or the zombie apocalypse!    
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Isn't this awesome!?!  I am going to make some of these.  I also think they would be great to give people as a little "survival" gift.  We just had a blizzard here last week, but we were lucky enough not to lose power.  About 5 years ago we weren't so lucky!  We lost power for 5 days!  On the 5th day my husband and I drove an hour away and paid an enormous price for a generator.  We have since gotten a box installed on the front of the house so all we have to do is plug in the generator without running extension cords.  We can run the furnace, deep freeze, fridge, water heater, and one kitchen outlet.  If this isn't enough then we can also run the extension cords.

Having a generator is all fine and dandy, but if your power is only going to be out a few hours then you don't want to go to the trouble of setting it up.  These candles are PERFECT!   Plus you won't be knocked out by the scent of cinnamon...or in my case pine.  :)  I love pine scented candles.  lol

Let us know if you make these! 

This post has been linked up with Frugal Tuesday Tip
and
Homemade Mondays 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Week 20 Update!

It is so hard to believe I am 20 weeks and half way done with this pregnancy.  On Friday we had our anatomy scan, regular ob appointment, and I had to do my glucose testing.  I won't know the result of the glucose test until Wednesday due to the holiday. 

The appointment went really well.  Baby is measuring 10oz and my fundal height is measuring right on.  Plus I have only gained 2lbs.  I have no idea how this is even happening!  All I can think of (and my doctor agrees) is  that I am not eating for two.  Sure I have a few sweet treats, BUT I do not pig out on them and it is not constant.  For the most part I just eat fruit, chicken, veggies, and a few carbs.  I am confident I will be able to stay within my 20lb range. :)

I do not stuff myself with a lot of empty calories during the day.  I try to make wise and healthy decisions.  I don't deprive myself of what I want...I just don't go overboard.  I have one more month of working outside of the home and then I will strictly be working my Shaklee business from home!  I am so EXCITED!!!

We found out the gender of this baby!  Are you ready?!


 We found out we are having a sweet little boy!  I am still kind of in shock because I have thought this was a girl from day one.  I never even really toyed with the idea of a boy. *L*  There is NO mistaking that this is a little boy.  Needless to say, my child is NOT shy and he was flashing the goods.  We didn't even need the u/s tech to tell us it was a boy. 


We are so happy to be the parents of little Landry Martin!  


My husband is already excited for all the Minnesota Vikings gear, Hot Wheels, RC Cars, and little golf clubs! 

Watch out Tiger and Adrian...Landry is going to give you a run for your money!  ;) 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Light the Night-Fight the Fright

My friend, Jaima, from Ring Around the Rosies is doing an amazing thing.


Please pass the word along and go HERE to find out more information.  These kids have been through more than most of us adults can even fathom.  This is just one way to ease the nightmares. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fresh Orange Juice

Have you ever bought a bag of oranges and they just didn't meet your expectations?  I have been on a HUGE orange/clementine kick since I got my heartburn meds back.  :)  I LOVE LOVE LOVE Cuties (those tiny super sweet clementines), but there are times when I just want an orange.

I bought a large bag of oranges recently and they just were not good.  They weren't as sweet as I like and they were not very juicy.  I put them on the counter and forgot about them.  When I was cleaning the kitchen this past weekend I thought I better use them up.  I hate seeing money being thrown away and that was what was going to happen with these oranges.  

What does one do when they have a large quantity of oranges?  You make orange juice!  We drink a lot of OJ in this house and the organic OJ is $5.99 a half gallon at my regional grocery store.  It is EXPENSIVE.  

Eating organic is really important to us, but it is hard.  I do not live near a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.  I have to rely on my local grocery stores to provide organic foods.  With that there is a large price tag.  This means I do make a lot of our foods from scratch.  I'm not saying I will be making our OJ every week, but this was a great way to use up oranges that just weren't up to my standards for eating.


I do not have an actual juicer, but I do have a Vitamix.  It is super powerful and juices things just fine.  I would not recommend doing this in a  normal blender though.  You could squeeze them by hand (this is the one I have), or you could use an actual juicer

I peeled all my oranges.  I was not worried about getting all the white bitter stuff off because this is where all the nutrients are.  Plus the Vitamix will pulverize it. 



I added half my oranges, a splash of water, and a few ice cubes.  Then I turned it on high and let it work for about 45 seconds.  



The end result....fresh OJ!  I then repeated this process to use up the other half of the oranges.  

It is so simple, tastes delicious, and didn't take long.  This OJ is full of pulp (which we like), but if you don't like pulp then I suggest straining it through a cheese cloth.



Do you make your own OJ?  I got just under half a gallon of OJ and only spent $3.50 (the cost of the oranges).  That is way cheaper than the $5.99 I usually pay for organic OJ. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan 12.16--12.22



Happy Monday!  I debated whether or not to even post a meal plan this week.  We are gone so many nights!  I thought last week was crazy, but this week proves to be even crazier.  Here are the few meals that will be eaten at home.  After Christmas my meal planning will be back to normal.  I promise.  :)



Weekly Meal Plan:

Sunday: Family Christmas that afternoon.  We ate so much at lunch we had popcorn for dinner.  :)
Monday: Gone.  My husband had a late doctors appointment a hour away.  We didn't get home until later, so we grabbed something to eat.  
Tuesday: Salsa chicken, baked potato.  Salsa chicken is an old weight watchers "recipe" from my college years.  I have not made it in FOREVER.  It is so simple, but I will post a recipe on it.
Wednesday: Homemade alfredo, green beans, garlic bread.

Thursday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans

Friday: Gone.  We are celebrating our 20 week u/s and finding out the gender!  We will be dining on some delish Olive Garden for a late lunch.  If we are hungry that night there will be popcorn.


Saturday:  Gone.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Easy $2 Gift Tutorial

This is such an easy gift idea and the best part is that it only costs $2!  If you are looking for a last minute gift, or need a little something extra check this out.  These would be perfect for co-workers, secret santa's, or just about female adult.  I guess you could give it to a guy too.  Especially, if he liked cooking.


The first thing you need is a pot holder and coordinating kitchen towel.  You can get these for $1 each at Dollar Tree! 



Put the pot holder "face down" and line the kitchen towel "face down" on top of the pot holder.  Make sure the center of the towel and center of the pot holder are lined up.  Once they are both lined up in the center I put a few pins in to secure it.  

Then you can either sew a straight stitch by hand, or I used my sewing machine for short work.  



Once the straight stitch is done snip the excess thread.  When you hold it up the pot holder will have the plain side facing outwards.  Bring the loop of the holder up and sew a button on to secure it.  This is not done in this picture because this was my mom's job. :)   I decided it would be ok to not show the button because I will not see these again to take pictures.  Once she is done with the buttons they have new homes. 


They are so easy to make!  I was able to get 10 of these done in less than an hour.  My mom then took them home and she will be sewing a big button on, so the loop can be hooked.  These are perfect for hanging on the door of your oven.  She plans on giving them to the people she works with.  

Let me know if you make these! 

This post is linked up to Frugal Tuesday Tip.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Cards: Saving Money and Keeping Organized

Is it just me, or are cards outrageously priced?  I love looking at cards, but I just don't see the point of spending $4 on something people are going to throw away (or in my case recycle).  Over the past two years I have implemented a system that saves me time, stress, and money on the act of card giving.  :)

Do you want in on a little secret?  It is so easy and a no brainer!  I toyed with the idea of even writing about this because I feel that a lot of you might already do this, but I am going to share anyways.

1.  I HATE when I realize I missed a birthday or anniversary.  I feel bad sending a card late.  Or I really hate when I realize someone has a birthday in just a couple days and I won't be going to a store to get a card.  I live in the middle of nowhere, so just running to Walmart isn't an option most days.  

I have alleviated this problem by grabbing a free calender from my vets office every December.  :)  You might be thinking I am crazy, but I promise I am not.  This calendar hangs in my hallway I walk by SEVERAL times a day.  On this calender I write everyone's birthday/anniversary on the appropriate day and the number of years behind it. I just transfer everything off it from the previous year. 

This is awesome for me because I see this daily and I always try to scan it when I flip the page the beginning of the month.  The best part...it is free.  A LOT of places hand out free wall calenders as Thank You's during the holiday season.  Make sure to pick one up, or you can purchase them at anywhere.  


2.  I always have cards on hand!  I am a huge fan of those boxes of cards.  I like having birthday and sympathy ones on hand.  They come in handy and they have a wide variety of designs in each box.  Plus they are really affordable!  

I also have boxes of thank you's in the house.  I currently have my Shaklee Thank You's (not shown), regular, and baby Thank You's.  I found the baby ones at the Christian Book Store for 50% off!  I made sure I grabbed a few boxes.  You never know when someone might give you something and you need to drop them a little note.  It is the polite thing to do.  :)  

Next, I really like having a few Bridal Shower, Wedding, Mother's Day, ect cards on hand.  This way if I forget to get one at the store, or if a date sneaks up on me I have one on hand.  

I like going to places like Target and Walmart to get these cards because they have sections of $.99 and $.49 cards.  If I have a few extras then I am not wasting my time and gas driving 30 miles one way to purchase a card.  Saves time and money!  

Another thing I like to do is purchase my Christmas cards when they go on sale for the following year.  I can get a box of 12 for around a $1!  I always make sure I pick up a few boxes of my favorite designs.  

Do you like to spend a lot on cards?  I used to, but over the years I have changed my way of doing them.  I display them for the appropriate amount of time and then they get recycled.  I just don't like spending a lot on them and I don't like the clutter.

I actually think giving a box of mixed cards would be the PERFECT Christmas gift for a grandparent, or really anyone.  They have boxes where there are x number of birthday, sympathy, thank you, ect.  Plus they are fairly cheap.  Or you could always make your own cards and get creative!  

This has been linked up to Frugal Tuesday Tip

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Shaklee December Promotion

This offer is ending SOON!  Hurry before it expires!

 

Monday, December 10, 2012

18 Weeks!

I forgot to post my 18 week baby bump.  


Before you ask...yes, there is only one in there.  ;)  

Here is a recap of what has been going on...

I still have not gained any weight!  I know, it is crazy.  I look huge, but no weight has been gained.  My doctor and I have a goal of gaining no more than 20 lbs this pregnancy, so no weight gain right now is fine with her.  

A lot of the no weight gain is because I follow my diabetic diet fairly close.  I eat a lot of fruit, very little red meat, and I am starting to like veggies again.  ;)  I mostly drink water, so that helps as well.  I would be lying if I told you I didn't cave into my Dr. Pepper addiction a couple times a week.  I do.  However, I do not keep the stuff in the house.  If I want a Dr. Pepper I have to go to the gas station and spend the outrageous price for a 20oz bottle.  Due to these guidelines I have implemented on myself, I only have a Dr. Pepper 1-2 times a week.  I have given up all caffeine except for that. 

At my 16 week appointment (I was really 16 weeks 6 days!) I got to hear the heartbeat for the first time.  All other times they could not find it with the doppler.  It was really hard to find and I couldn't really hear it.  I have also not been feeling the baby move AT ALL.  My doctor confirmed that I have placenta previa. 

I'm not happy about it, but I have hope that everything will work out.  My doctors are keeping a close eye on me and I have been taking it easy.  I still have not gained my energy back, so sleeping is no problem for me!

Before getting pregnant I was on Prilosec.  Once I found out I was pregnant I stopped taking everything.  I then started taking Tums and Zantac.  They did NOTHING for me.  I was so miserable.  My doctor wanted me back on Prilosec and gave me permission to start taking it again.  Oh my!  I am a new person!  I am been eating oranges like crazy because I have missed them so much.  I have not had a single episode of heartburn in over a week and that is a blessing.  

My nausea is worse, so I am taking Zofran everyday.  It works, but not in the mornings when I am rushing to the bathroom the minute I wake up.  I am either going to be one of these 'lucky' women who has morning sickness until 20 weeks, or the entire pregnancy.  Who knows with me!  I have to get up so many times in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, so that makes me nauseous and I end up getting sick then as well.

I have been experiencing A LOT of low back pain.  Massage just isn't cutting it, so I will be making a chiropractor appointment soon.

I think that is about it for right now.  Nothing too exciting has been going on.  I will feel better after I can start feeling this baby move!  I go in for my anatomy scan December 21st, so we will hopefully find out the gender!  I also have to do my 1 hour glucose test that day.  Since I am so high risk for diabetes and I failed my hemoglobin a1c, I get to do the GD test at 20 weeks.  :/ 

Any guesses on the gender?  Next time I update will be after my anatomy scan.  :) 

Weekly Meal Plan 12.9--12.15

Happy Monday, Friends!  My eating from the pantry/freezer has been going great!  I realized just how much food had accumulated in this house these last 4 months.  I just hadn't been cooking properly since becoming pregnant.  I was dealing with (and still am a bit) nausea, heartburn, and sheer exhaustion!  

I only spent $20 this week on groceries.  I went to Sam's Club and got a TON of Cuties (tiny mandarin oranges--I have been going through these like candy!), OJ, Cranberry juice, milk, and bananas.    

Crazy to think that was all I needed!  You might be wondering where all the fresh veggies are.  Well, living in Iowa they just aren't in season right now.  My freezer is packed with fresh frozen veggies I put away this summer.  We have been eating on them.  :) 


Weekly Meal Plan:

Sunday: Roast, potatoes, corn

Monday: Rotisserie chicken, fried potatoes (I made a bunch on Sunday for the week.), green beans

Tuesday:  Homemade chicken noodle soup

Wednesday: Breakfast (toast, eggs, fruit)

Thursday:  Dinner with our Doula!!!

Friday:  Leftover soup

Saturday: ???


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Homemade Yogurt

Do you remember me writing about my "green" goals a few weeks ago?  One of my goals was to cut even more processed junk out of my families diet. We have done a lot over these past few years, but there is ALWAYS room for improvement around here!  I am not ashamed to admit that I am far from perfect in living a natural lifestyle.  I strive to be as natural and healthy as possible, but I am a work in progress.  

About a year ago I bought a yogurt maker and used it a few times.  Then it got shoved to the back of my cabinet where it had long been forgotten.  I actually do not mind homemade yogurt at all.  I do add thawed frozen fruit to mine right before I eat it, but I think it tastes good.  It is really good in smoothies and homemade frozen yogurt (post on that coming soon)!  

If you are used to the sugar filled yogurt in the stores then it might take you a few tries to get a taste for it.  Otherwise, it tastes just as good as anything I have ever bought.

Tonight I thought it was time to pull that yogurt maker out again.  After all, I did write my goals down for the world to see.  At 5am I will be putting 6-6oz containers of delicious yogurt in the fridge.


There are many yogurt makers on the market.  This is the one I have and I think it works great.  I follow the instructions it came with.

  1. Pour 1qt. milk into a saucepan.  Heat milk until it boils, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove pan from heat and all milk to cool to room temperature.  Pour into pitcher.
  3. Add 1/2 c. natural yogurt into the milk. (Use store bought, or some leftover from your previous batch).  Stir until well blended.  Do NOT add any sugars or flavorings in the yogurt making process.
  4. Pour evenly into jars.  Do NOT put lids on jars.
  5. Place the cover on the yogurt maker, plug in, and turn to desired cooking time.
  6. I cook mine for 10 hours because I like thick yogurt.  The shorter you cook it the thinner it will be.
  7. Once your yogurt maker dings it will automatically shut off.  
  8. Put the jars in the fridge for several hours until chilled.
I like to keep some thawed frozen fruit in the fridge, so I can add it and the juice into my yogurt.  Strawberry, mango and blueberry are my favorites!

Isn't homemade yogurt so easy to make?!  At the grocery store I pay $.99 for a 6oz container of organic yogurt.  CRAZY!  At home I can make it for about $.34 a container plus the cost of the fruit I add in.  That is a HUGE savings!  The yogurt maker pays for itself in no time.  

Now I know you do not have to have a yogurt maker to make yogurt.  I know there are sites where people make it using a crockpot and cooler.  If you want to try this method I would search YouTube.  

This is just another way I am trying to cut the junk out of our diets.  Plus I am saving money too!  Let me know if you try this, or if you already make your own.   This would be perfect to start your young kids on now.  That way they will never miss the sugary junk from the grocery store! 

This post is linked up with Frugal Tuesday Tip.

Shaklee Special 12.5--12.14





This is an awesome special!  Now is the perfect time to stock up on those heavy items such as Performance, Cinch, Basic G, laundry detergent, ect.).

Don't miss out!!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Getting It Done

The number one question I get when I meet people is "how do you get it all done?"  I just kinda laugh because the answer is..."I DON'T!"  What I have learned over the years is how to streamline and simplify my life.  This did not just come overnight.  In fact it is a trial and error process every week.  

I have a lot on my plate.  More than most people actually because my husband is in a wheel chair.  I am his primary care giver, I do all the housework, I take care of our animal shelter pets, I do the cooking, basically I do a hefty portion of things.  He is our family breadwinner, pays the bills and mows the lawn (thanks to amazing modern technology).  

I thought I would share with you some of the products and concepts I use on a daily basis to help me get as much done as I do.  

First, we have a routine.  Like I said, my husband is in a wheel chair.  He can't just hop out of bed in the morning and go to work.  Instead it takes a team effort on both our parts.  Over the years we have established a pretty awesome routine that works for both of us.  Without it I am sure we would both go gray.  ;)

Our house was designed and built by him.  That means everything in this house is 100% accessible to him.  This includes our basement because he put an elevator in.  Having everything accessible to him makes both of our lives easier.

Next, we have no clutter in our house.  You heard me right.  We have no clutter.  Everything has a place, my house is not over flowing with knick knacks, ect.  We have a very open floor plan and I like to keep it as minimal as possible.  I just hate clutter.  

By having your house clutter free it is so much easier to clean, find what you are looking for, and it is so much less stress in your life.  

Photo Credit
Another way I keep up with every day life is by cleaning everyday.  I know some people will wait and clean once a week, every other week, ect but that does not work for me.  I vacuum daily, dust weekly, clean my kitchen daily, spot clean bathrooms daily, and deep clean bathrooms weekly.  This is what works for me.

I also keep my cleaning products simple.  I LOVE my Roomba!

Photo Credit
My Roomba is amazing because it does the everyday type of vacuuming for you.  I just make sure the canister is empty and hit a button.  Now it doesn't vacuum furniture, so I do that daily.  Especially since we have pets.  However, this device is a lifesaver for your everyday standard vacuuming.  

I also keep my cleaning products simple.  I use Shaklee products because they are eco-friendly, affordable, and work!  One bottle of Basic H2 cleans almost everything in my home.  



I never let our laundry build up.  The thought of having 5 loads of laundry to do in one day makes me cringe.  Instead I have a laundry system that works great for me.  I have three LARGE tall laundry baskets near my washer/dryer.  We have a clothes shoot upstairs and the clothes land on the ground by the baskets.  I sort the clothes and put them in the right basket (towels, whites, darks).  Once a basket is full I do that load of laundry.  Generally, this is about 3-4 loads spread out through the week.  I know this is soon going to increase once the baby is here and I am cloth diapering.  My system might need some tweaking then, but for now this is perfect.  
 

Next, I keep a calender with me at all times.  Some people might like to use their phones for this, but I am old school.  I like to physically write my appointments and things down.  I just use a cheap $2 pocket calender from Walmart and it is a lifesaver.  I love that it is small enough to fit in my purse, but big enough for me to keep track of all our commitments. 

Another thing I think that really important is knowing when to hire help.  We have a huge driveway and there is no way I am going to have time (nor do I have any desire) to remove snow.  This is hired.  Period.  The only thing I have to do is quick shovel by our doors.  Which takes only a few minutes.  The money spent on snow removal is 100% worth it.

I also schedule time for myself.  This is more for me to keep my sanity.  Our lives are busy and I think everyone deserves a little pampering.  Every three weeks I have a standing appointment to get a hour massage.  I have been doing this for years.  It is my time to just relax and shut my brain off.  Once the baby is born I might have to adjust this a bit, but I will still be getting my massage.  

I think massage is a great way to get rid of all the nasty toxins in our bodies.  Those toxins can make us sick.  I would not be able to get as much done as I do without staying healthy.  I am RARELY sick *knock on wood* and I want to keep it that way.  I eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water, and take my favorite supplements


I also LOVE to read.  I use my Nook, so I am able to read a bit in bed before I go to sleep.  I can still keep the lights off and not disturb my husband. 

I know everything on here is common sense.  I even feel a little dumb for posting it after I go back and read it.  However, I get this question ALL THE TIME when I meet people.  Honestly, I think people just need to manage their time, make their routine work for them, and keep their surroundings conducive to getting as much done as possible.  

I make lists and have sticky notes all over the place.  This helps me clear my mind of the million things I need to do, but without forgetting them.  It is just as important to declutter your mind as it is to declutter your home/life.  Keep things simple and don't get caught up with the big things.  Start small and you will eventually have a routine that allows you to get tons done in a day/week.  


Disclaimer:  I am not sponsored by any of the companies I have mentioned.  All products have been purchased with my own money.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan 12.2--12.8

December is going to be "Eat from the pantry month" around here!  Somehow the food has accumulated in this house and I see no reason for us not to eat it!  For the month of December we will be eating from our pantry and freezer.  The only items I will need to replenish are perishables.  Otherwise, I have everything in this house to make healthy and nutritious meals.  

I may have to get a few things for Christmas potlucks, but those items will be minimal.  Who wants to join me?  This is a great way to save money during the Christmas season!

Weekly Meal Plan:

Sunday: Roast, mashed potatoes, stuffing
 
Monday: Chili  (I have been CRAVING this.  Now that my Dr. gave me a stronger heartburn med I can eat it again!) :)

Tuesday:  Breakfast sandwiches and apples

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday:  Baked chicken, squash, baked potatoes

Friday: Tomato soup and fruit

Saturday: My nieces 1st B-day party! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ornament Wreath

Have you ever seen an ornament wreath?  I think they are so pretty.  I was recently at a craft shop and they had handmade ornament wreaths for a whopping $30!  No way!  I looked and saw how I could make it for much much much cheaper.  

Last year I bought all new bulbs for our tree because my husband and I are huge Minnesota Vikings fans.  I picked up purple, gold, and Vikings ornaments for 60-90% off last year at Hobby Lobby.  That meant all my Martha Stewart ornaments were just sitting in the basement.  What better way to use them?  

Disclaimer:  It gets dark at about 4:30 here this time of year.  The lighting in these pictures is horrible.  Sorry about that.  Also, I do NOT recommend using glitter bulbs.  Shortly after starting this project it was clear I would be in a glitter nightmare.  It gets EVERYWHERE, but I am cheap and was using what I had.  

 You will need a wire hanger (I had to scrounge the depths of my basement to find one!), any NON BREAKABLE bulb ornaments you might have, and embellishments (optional). FYI:  You will need A LOT of bulbs!  My guess would be 70-80. 


Step 1:  Unwind the hanger at the top and shape it into a circle.  This does not need to be perfect.  


Step 2:  Feed the ornaments onto the hanger.  Use the side that is not shaped like a hook.  You can use any ornaments you want.  I just randomly put mine on.  As you get more on the will fill in and start looking nice.  

Step 3:  This step was a little tricky for me.  Once your hanger is completely full of bulbs, twist the ends of the hanger back together.  Be gently while doing this because I had a few bulbs break off at the metal part.  

Step 4:  Add a bow!  I cannot for the life of me make a nice bow, so I spent the $3 at Walmart and bought one.  Totally worth if for me.  :)  

Now your wreath is ready to hang!  I had every intention of putting this up on the door, so I could show you.  Yeah, well...I seemed to have misplaced my door wreath hanger.  I need to get a new one this weekend.  

This took me about an hour to make and about just as long to clean up all the dang glitter!  I am STILL finding glitter all over the desk and office.  :(  Have I ever mentioned that I hate glitter?  :)  The plus side is that this only cost me $3 (the price of the bow).  I used what I had on hand and if I ever get sick of the wreath I can still use the ornaments. 

This post has been linked up to Frugal Tuesday Tip.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

16 Weeks!


Sorry for the bad lighting!  On Saturday I turned 16 weeks.  I have a doctors appointment on Thursday.  Not much has been going on this week with me and the baby.  My husband was in the hospital last week, so that was really stressful.  Otherwise, all is good.

I have been peeing a ton!  I know that is TMI, but dang.  It also takes me forever to get comfortable at night. My belly just seems to get in the way. ;)  I also have a lot of swelling (as you can see) and cramping.  If I am on my feet too long I pay for it at night.  

I take Zofran about 4 days a week because my nausea is NOT better.  My heartburn is also worse, so I am asking for something stronger than Zantac on Thursday.  I am eating every 3-4 hours to help with the nausea and to help keep my blood sugar regulated.  I am still eating 15-17 carbs a day to help with that as well. 

Next weeks update will be a little more interesting because of my appointment!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan 11.25--12.01

Well, last week did not go as planned at all.  I cooked a total of zero meals until today.  My husband ended up in the hospital for 5 days on a clear liquid diet.  We postponed our Thanksgiving until today.  Needless to say he was ready to eat real food today.  I made a feast and there are tons of leftovers!

Weekly Meal Plan:

Sunday: Thanksgiving Dinner

Monday:  Creamed turkey over biscuits, carrot and raisin slaw

Tuesday:  Mashed potato pancakes, bacon, eggs, homemade applesauce

Wednesday: Turkey noodle soup

Thursday:  Leftover soup

Friday:  Pizza...it might be homemade, it might not be.  We will see how ambitious I am. :)

Saturday:  We never got to go to our dinner and movie because my husband was sick, so we might do that.