Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Publix Prep 4/30 - 5/6

Below are some of the deals that I am looking forward to scoring at Publix this coming week:

Kellogg’s Special K Cereal 11.4 to 14-oz, Raisin Bran, 20-oz or All-Bran, 13.2 to 18.3-oz box BOGO $3.99
-$1.50/2 PRINT

Northlands 100% Cranberry Juice or Naturals Plus 100% Juice Blend, Asst Varieties, No Sugar Added, 64-oz bot. BOGO $3.95
-$1/2 PRINT

50% off Kashi All Natural Entree 10-oz box or Pocket Bread Sandwiches, 5.5-oz box, Asst Varieties
I have some peelie coupons I got off of a Kashi cereal box I'll use for these.

This is just a taste what kind of deals I look for while doing my weekly grocery shopping trip. I like going once a week to the grocery store so that I can take advantage of any weekly deals I find interesting and to keep my perishables fresh (dairy, vegetables, fruit). I look up the weekly deals with coupon matchups BEFORE I go grocery shopping to get the most for my money. For my husband and I, I aim to spend between $30 and $50 per week.

How much do you spend on groceries? Do you use coupons? Do you go to the grocery store with a plan?

Toddlers Don't Dig Chaos

My toddler has an unreasonable number of toys and books - I don't take all the blame, his grandparents, aunts, uncles, great-grantparents, etc. just love to buy him things. But let's be frank, children cannot handle the overload of hundreds of toys, they don't know where to start, they can't decide what to play with and they are overwhelmed at the idea of cleaning it all up. Further, mom can't stand the sprawling toy jungle in her home.

I have to admit, after moving all the small toys and books into one room, I was embarassed at the quantity and the total lack of order.

Worse, the one "toy box", AKA ottoman that resides in the living room, was so deep in cluttered toys our child could not reach the bottom to get out what he wanted, and looking at the pictures I am not sure how he could decifer what was in there!

I visited a woman who had divided her child's small toys into a tub for each day of the week. The child had new toys (which was exciting and fresh) for each day, and a simple task each evening for clean up. I took her cue.

And now each morning we go and get "today's toys" and each evening we clean them up together. How orderly and simple.

Now even the living room ottoman has been re-tooled with only larger scale toys that our child can reach, and just a few.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I wish you could blog a smell!

Because if I could blog a smell you would be breaking down my door to get a taste of this pizza!

Two delicious meals from great on-sale items! Not the freshest ingredients, but quick to make and I plan to improve. (I HOPE to have future posts on fresh tomatoes and spices from my future garden and whole wheat pizza dough made in my new craigslist find, a breadmaker!)

Meal One - Shrimp, Scallops and diced tomatoes over whole wheat pasta.
Meal Two - Shrimp, scallop, mushroom and spinach pizza.

Every so often Publix offers SeaPak frozen seafood BOGO + the SeaPak website ( has $1 off two bringing them to $2.50 a piece (and it’s a Lot of shrimp!) Warning, these are high in fat.

These simply saute up, and I add equal a portion of frozen scallops (they go on sale during the in-season) and one can of DelMonte diced tomatoes with basil and oregano (also go BOGO at Publix.) A tablespoon of cornstarch thickens it up. Serve over whole wheat pasta. Soooo good, serve with a salad.

Meal 2- roll out some pizza dough- brush a little olive oil around the edges and sprinkle with oregano, Parmesan and garlic powder, add leftover shrimp, scallop and tomato mixture with minimal sauce, add either fresh spinach and mushrooms or frozen (but saute first to cook out water), sprinkle with mozzarella and bake. See (1st picture before cheese, 2nd after cooking) Delicious.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Adventures in Cloth Diapering – Part 1

It’s hard for me to remember exactly why I decided to try cloth diapering. I honestly haven’t had the best memories or experiences with them. For example, I remember wearing cloth diapers as a toddler (prefolds, pins, and covers) and my skin was so irritated by the pins that held the diaper on (imagine red rashes on your hips). Or, one time I was holding a baby wearing a cloth diaper and he had soaked through them! Gross. Having somebody else’s baby pee on me made me not like the cloth diapers OR the baby really. I’m just being honest here.

I must have been swayed by the financial savings, or the new and improved styles of diapers, or I’ll admit – maybe even the rebellious part in me that wanted to be different and prove to people that it CAN work. Whichever it was, I was stoked about learning more about cloth diapering, and very motivated to convince my husband this really was a good idea.

Convincing my husband that washing cloth diapers in our washing machine was actually sanitary and not the grossest thing ever was, um, interesting. Eventually, he came around. I think the fact that I was actually PREGNANT and the reality of the cost of disposable diapers made him turn towards the light. Now, he is definitely on board and he even attended a “Cloth Diapering – 101” workshop with me. Isn’t that the cutest?

***We interrupt this program for a special Public Service Announcement: I would like to take a moment and share something that I have learned about husbands and cloth diapers. My husband (and probably yours too) doesn’t like to go on and on about them, talk about how cute they are, touch them, and talk about what I think will work/not work – like I do. I am learning to save that sort of thing for my girlfriends. Please, spare your husband and find a fellow cloth diaper-er.***

After convincing my husband, I did a Google search on cloth diapers. The results were overwhelming. There were too many sites selling them, too many types of cloth diapers to choose from, and the lingo on cloth diapering forums was like trying to read Chinese. I even spent time wondering if I could make my own cloth diapers. My questions and all uncertainty went away after I attended our Cloth Diapering – 101 workshop. It was so informative and I felt like a light bulb was turned on in my brain.

In my next post, I will give you your very own Cloth Diapering – 101 workshop. I will explain the pros and cons of all different types of diapering options and I may even talk about cleaning them. Or what I’ve heard about cleaning them - because, maybe you don’t know, I haven’t had my baby so I haven’t had the chance to practice this. Yet.

Until Next Time,


Making a functional space lovely

I work from home, this is both a blessing and a challenge. Usually, I would sit at my kitchen table spreading out my work materials, trying to stack them back up before dinner and stash them somewhere. My husband set up a small sewing table in our bedroom to give me a space of my own. It was very useful but...well, you see:

For several months I tolerated this eyesore (however functional) in my bedroom. I am a firm believer the master bedroom should be a refuge, a place that is lovely. I would prefer, even, for it not to be a workspace- but it is what it is. So I found a piece of furniture that would fit the space and match our bedroom - and waited and waited until we had the money that wasn't more needed for other things. We shall call this time frame: never.

So I took a cue from the window-mistreatment ladies who do lovely things with fabric and hot-glue guns. I bought 2 yards of fabric on sale for a grand total of $7! I needed more like 2.5 yards, but you live and learn. A little hot glue to attach the fabric, a split in the middle to make room for my legs, a little bit of trim to tie it in to my window mis-treatments, and voila. It blends, it hides my cords, and I have topped it with a lovely sewing box instead of a pile of papers.

My bedroom has returned to a place that can be clean, neat, and lovely- where we can rest, relax and enjoy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The 21st Century Woman

We are a generation of women yet again redefined. We are trying to learn a delicate balance of home, family, work and health.
Though every generation is different- how much more was our mothers’ and now ours. In large part, for many years women were workers at home, learning at their mother's knee how to cook and clean and care for a family. Often staying near, their children received the blessing of their grandmothers’ love and advice to their mothers.
But not so for our moms, or at least for most of them – the world was a different place, both giving them many long overdue liberties and unforeseen burdens. Our mothers were the first generation of women to be looked down upon by many if their only occupation was as ‘stay-at-home-mom.’ Women, after all, could now have it all! A career, a family, a spotless home, a hot meal, a higher degree, beautiful bodies and on and on… And, they actually believed they could do it all and none would suffer. Culture and commerce adapted to fill the gaps with processed food and microwave dinners, afterschool programs and hours of TV programming, night school and certifications, face lifts and tummy tucks. Should we wonder why our generation saw so many of our families broken by divorce?
Our poor mothers! What an unbearable force of expected perfection they carried.
It did not take centuries for women to realize something must give – something does give. And so we find ourselves, a generation of women willing and needing to weigh our priorities, make choices and embrace our imperfection. Knowing we cannot do it all perfectly but desiring to do things well.
We do not look foolishly with nostalgia into the past yearning for the days of yesteryear. We have made gains from our mothers’ struggles. We have pursued education and careers and grown through those experiences and successes.

So what do we desire to do?
To recognize our imperfection
To choose what is better
To make things lovely
To give grace to ourselves and others as we learn how to be women
And to put on joy- learning to let go of that which is of little worth and cling tightly to that which really matters.
We are Christian women who want to love the Lord and constantly and deliberately realign our hearts and priorities to His.
And more functionally – we will enjoy the things that make us smile, beautifying our lives and ourselves in ways that are simple, wise and lovely.


Work and Home:
To do our jobs well, whether professional or at home, but never sacrificing our husbands or children (whom we alone have this role to) for jobs that could be done by someone else.

Maybe not a nightly gourmet meal or grandma's homemade biscuits, but also not boxed and frozen microwave meals. Eating for the health of our families and also for the joy of flavors and experimentation. Simple but not dull.

Cleanliness and Order:
Caring for our homes to make them a place that is refreshing and comfortable, simple and decluttered, safe and maintained, but not sterile or oppressive or creating fear that hinders fun and life.

Making things Lovely:
We need not covet or spend foolishly to have all our eyes desire. But we can be resourceful to make our homes, ourselves, our lives: LOVELY. And THIS will be a central theme in this blog, whether faking a window treatment, re-finishing a garage sale find, creating charming events, setting a pretty table. It need not be perfect, but why not make it special? And feel at liberty to enjoy it.

Realigning our view of money and work, that it would be a means to an end, and not the end itself. That we would be thankful for what has been entrusted to us and wise in how we use it. Learning to multiply it through good decisions without fear of occasionally splurging for things that are truly special.

Caring for our bodies which are a blessing but not obsessing about outward appearance. Being mindful of our insides and out, our souls and our stomachs.

We are young and learning every day in this area more than any other. But we want to be women who bless our husbands, that we would be trusted and cherished by them. To be blessings and guides to our children, equipping them to be confident adults with a healthy view of what is important and showering them in love and joy.

We desire to be like the woman of Proverbs 31 who does many things and has many responsibilities but has not become embittered, overwhelmed or frustrated. She instead is filled with joy and laughs at the days to come.

Proverbs 31: 25-28
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.