Thursday, November 15, 2012

My 'go-to' baby items!

If you are a first time mom, registering for a baby can be quite overwhelming!  Do I really need all of those things I see in the stores?  NO you don't!  Don't go registering crazy... First of all... wait a bit to see what free items you will be given.  So many moms with too much baby junk want to just give their stuff away!  Believe me, you will be given a lot of things if you're friends with a lot of mommies!  Also, go to second hand stores for things you don't get on your list that you still need... You don't really want to buy a used car seat, however, if you don't know the history of the car seat. That could be dangerous.  I have a used car seat, but it's only because I knew the mom I bought it from and it had not been in a wreck and was used by only one child.  Try to go to garage sales for furniture for the nursery, and the Just Between Friends sale is awesome for clothes, shoes, toys, strollers...etc!  I got a Peg Perego stroller there in great condition at a fraction of the cost of buying new!  So, if you don't get all the things you register for, don't fret!  There are plenty of money-saving options!  

Ok, so here is my MUST-HAVE list for my newborn...  I may have another list of MUST haves when he starts to grow a bit more, but for now... I MUST have these things... 

Number 1:

Noise makers are amazing!  They are a great way to reduce SIDS and help your baby sleep anywhere.  Justus can sleep anywhere we go because he is used to the noise.  I bring it with us in the car too and it helps soothe him in the carseat (which he HATES!)

Number 2: 

These blankets are seriously awesome.  I have the patterns above.  4 swaddle blankets may seem like a lot, and not really worth the money you (or whoever buys them for you as a gift) spend, but they are so worth it to me.  I need all four because sometimes he'll leak out of his diapers in the night and get the blanket wet, or he'll spit up on it during his nap... I have gone through all four in two days before.  Get the four pack! 

Number 3:

So, I was NOT going to use pacifiers... but babies get cranky, and sometime for no reason.  You will see that they will search for something to suck on.  It doesn't necessarily mean they are hungry, they just want to be soothed!  Hence, the Soothie!  These ones are the only ones my baby boy will take.  They have a more natural shape.  The other ones are kind of flat on one side and he just spits them right out.  

Number 4:

I highly suggest getting a breast pump!  I honestly don't know how moms can be breast feeding moms and not have a breast pump.  They will save you in so many areas!  If you are away from your baby for the day, you will NEED to pump.  If you want to have a couple drinks at night, you can give them some expressed milk from a previous pumping! If you feel extremely engorged and can't get relief! I bought the MOTOR of this pump on craigslist for CHEAP!  Do not re use the tubing, bottles, or accessories!  Just reuse the motor. Cheap pumps are not good pumps... Medela is what they use in the hospitals, so you know they're good!

Number 5:

If you are a breast feeding mother... Do not get the boppy!  They slip out of place and the baby rolls off of them.  This one is flat on top with a head support on both sides.  It goes around your back for back support and clips so it doesn't move.  You can adjust it to fit snugly around yourself.  It is bigger than the boppy, but for good reason!  I highly suggest this pillow!  I got mine used at the JBF sale I think, and just bought a new cover for it.  

Number 6: 
This is the bag I use as my diaper bag.  My sister bought it for me for my shower and  I love it!  There are so many perfect bottle sized pockets on the outside and tons of room on the inside!  Seriously the perfect diaper bag!!

Number 7:
I love this pack n play.  This is the one that we have in our house.  Jordan's mom found it on craigslist for a great deal!  We kept it in our room for the first three months so that I could get to him right away if he needed me.  He is now in his own room (sad day) so we will give it back to his parents.  BUT we have another one we will use.  I just really liked this one because of the changing table and the raised middle part for the baby to sleep on.  It's great! 

Number 8:
If you are a stay-at-home mom and don't put your baby in daycare, these are great!  Most daycares wont let you do cloth... but seriously, I don't know why not.  They are SO EASY!!!  Changing diapers is gross no matter how you look at it... so why not use REusable?  These are my favorite brand.  I did a lot of research and these are by far the best!  Hands down!  

Number 9:
Ok, IF you do cloth diapers, these will SAVE your diapers.  I use the pre-soak stuff, the detergent, and the odor remover sprinkle.  My diapers do not smell and barely have any stains because of this stuff... I highly recommend you get this anti ammonia detergent or your diapers will probably start smelling after a while.  

Number 10:
LOVE the Moby Wrap!  I bring it with me everywhere... once you get the hang of how to put on this ridiculously long fabric... it's AWESOME!  Justus loves being up close to me, so when we grocery shop, go out and about, or if I need to get things done around the house and he's cranky, in it he goes!  It's wonderful!  I absolutely 100% recommend you get one of these!  

So that's it for now... I don't have any more time, and these are really the only things I really really need and would miss if I didn't have them.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

100 things I love about Jordan...

I was thinking about Jordan today while I was cooking.  I was thinking about how thankful I am for him and how lucky I am to have him.  I started listing reasons I love him in my head and I kept on thinking of them, so I decided to write them down.  I actually had to make myself stop writing at 100... I keep thinking of more.... for now, I'll stick with the list of 100.  It's a good thing to do to remind you why you married your husband in the first place.  I challenge all you wives out there to do this... It made me really look forward to seeing him when he gets off of work tonight!  :)  

100 things I love about Jordan
1. He believes in Jesus
2. He makes me laugh
3. He gave me Justus
4. He loves me just the way I am
5, He is honest
6. He is a hard worker
7. He has a great family
8. He talks to me about everything
9. He is my best friend
10. He works two jobs so I can stay home with the baby
11. He listens to my silly ideas
12. When he does something, he does it the best he can
13. He likes eating the food I make
14. He doesn't complain when I don't cook
15. I have known him since I was little
16. We were friends first
17. He plays wii with me
18. He doesn't need cable or internet.
19. He likes to live simply, like me. 
20. He lets me do cloth diapers (and tries to change them too)
21. He is a great daddy
22. He is a great husband
23. He tells me he loves me
24. He lets me hug and kiss him whenever I want.
25. He has the same sense of humor as me
26. He is silly
27. He is a republican
28. He works on little and big projects with me
29. He likes to let loose and have a good time
30. He sounds exactly like Frank Sinatra when he tries
31. He likes pretty much every genre of music
32. He can play pretty much every instrument (and he learns if he can't)
33. Coldplay
34. He isn't pretentious 
35. He is active
36. He takes care of our house
37. He listens to me
38. He offers solutions to problems
39. He isn't naive
40. He will teach our boy how to respect adults and others
41. He will instill a good work ethic in our boy
42. He has a great work ethic
43. He doesn't frivolously spend money
44. He can't sit still for more than 10 minutes
45. He is very attractive
46. He makes me feel needed
47. He makes up silly songs and sings them over and over again
48. He is respectful to authority and adults
49. My Great Aunt thinks he's a gentleman
50. He talks football with my 5 year old cousin
51. He loves my family
52. My family loves him
53. He told me he wanted to marry me on our like second date
54. He asked me to marry him four months after we started dating
55. He only wears Tshirts
56. He doesn't care if I only wore Tshirts
57. He likes my super fair skin tone
58. He lets me get my hair highlighted
59. He doesn't like going to the movies
60. His wii character is "The Most Interesting Man in the World"
61. He likes dogs and cats
62. He lets me do the budget
63. He is creative
64. He is a good dancer (when he wants to be)
65. He danced with me on our first date
66. He won't see Twilight
67. He let me pick out the last two places we've lived
68. He bought me a kitten for my birthday
69. He is great at giving and thinking of gifts
70. He weighs more than me
71. He doesn't shower me with useless words
72. He SHOWS me he loves me
73. He makes our son laugh
74. He is trying to grow a mustache
75. He encourages and inspires me to be healthy and active
76. He thinks I look prettiest when I feel ugliest. 
77. He would be happy living in a box with me
78. He actually tells me about his day when I ask, "How was your day?"
79. He gives me an ornament for christmas every year.
80. He loves Christmas
81. His favorite movies are all rated G or PG
82. He is confident
83. He doesn't use credit cards
84. He makes wise decisions
85. He is proud of his family roots
86. He comes from a family of hard working, stand up men
87. He wears the pants in the family
88. He lets me be the kind of mom and wife I've always wanted to be
89. He likes hanging out with my favorite people just as much as I do
90. He likes going on vacations with me
91. He has been through and overcome a lot in his life
92. He takes a negative and turns it into a positive
93. He doesn't hold a grudge against me, EVER
94. He sleeps with his legs hanging off the bed 
95. He makes me food when I'm too busy with the baby
96. He does me favors
97. He doesn't have facebook
98. He became a firefighter after working so hard to become one
99. He was my first kiss in high school
100. He was the first boy to tell me he loved me

Sunday, November 11, 2012

25 reasons I'm glad we don't have cable

Jordan and I had cable when we first got married and I thought I would never go back to not having it.  Well, in May, I stopped working so I could be home with my darling baby boy (a decision I will NEVER regret!)  Because of that we got rid of cable and internet.  (the internet I'm using now is "borrowed" from our generous neighbor!)  Since not having cable... I have noticed a difference in our marriage and in my day-to-day life.   I was a TV/cable addict for a while... Some people may not have a problem with it like I do... so to each their own!  I lack the self-control to just TURN IT OFF sometimes!  :)  Props to you if you can!

25 reasons I'm glad we don't have cable:

1. I spend less time sitting down (except when I'm feeding Justus)
2. I find things to clean in my house that would otherwise go unnoticed.
3. I have more free time. (TV had always distracted me from the free time I actually had - hence the complaint, "I don't have time!")
4. I actually play with my baby on the floor and look into his eyes while I'm doing it. If the TV was on,     I would be probably be sitting on the couch with him and not looking at him as much, giving him my undivided attention.
5. I cook more
6. I listen to more music (I'm on a Mozart kick lately after watching Amadeus with Jordan the other night. It creates such a calm atmosphere)
7. Jordan and I have time for DIY projects that we want to do.
8. I don't get frustrated if I miss a certain TV show
9. I don't feel the "need" to finish a TV program if I start it. (how many useless Househunters episodes and My Fair Wedding episodes can you watch in one day, seriously...)
10. We don't have the constant JUNK from commercials and programs filling our minds.
11. Jordan and I find watching a movie together in the living room a little more special. It kind of feels like a date.
12. Jordan and I talk and enjoy our friendship more while playing Wii sports together (we have intense competitions!)
13. Justus isn't going to grow up with the TV being on all the time as the norm.
14. I am inspired to get outside and moving more.
15. Jordan and I sit and talk more often.
16. We are saving a TON of money
17. We go spend time with family members if there's a special game on or something instead of just watching it at home.
18. When friends come over, we actually talk to each other instead of just sit there and stare at the screen together.
19. I am not constantly hearing terrible things from the News.
20. We can watch TV shows we really like in their entirety at the end of the season instead of waiting a week to find out what happens between each show. (It's like watching a movie together... way more fun)
21. It's getting back to the basics of life... which I am all about.
22. I grew up HATING the TV and wishing we could just go throw it in the lake. (even though we didn't have cable, it seemed to always be on!)
23. We are saving electricity!
24. I don't waste my time watching all of those stupid singing competitions anymore.  (they drive me crazy)
25. My days don't feel like a waste!

I'm sure there are many more reasons to be glad we don't have cable, but these are the main ones... I thought we would "need" cable... but we most certainly don't.

Starting a new(ish) chapeter... It's called Being Frugal.

I have always wanted to be a very domestic housewife/mother... I am not usually a very crafty DIYer, but thanks to Pinterest, and the new facebook group started by a former MOPS member, I am inspired, nay... convinced that it's possible!  I don't have to come up with all of these great ideas on my own... I have an amazing support group and resource at my fingertips!  Today, on my journey of becoming domesticated and frugal, I made some chicken stock from a whole chicken that I bought and cooked in my crock pot!  here is the website with all of the great things you can do with a chicken.  And here is the link to my crock pot rotisserie recipe I use.  This last time I made it, I didn't use the spices or rub it calls for, I actually just made it my own and seasoned the entire chicken according to my own taste.  You just can't go wrong, really...

Another thing I have been on a kick of making lately is granola bars... I have been trying to search the internet for a granola bar recipe like the Nature Valley Oats N Honey granola bars for weeks.  I eat them like crazy and they're just OATS!  It seems logical to make them yourself, no?  Well, I came across a recipe that i LOVE in my The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.  I don't know if I can share the entire recipe word for word from the cookbook for copyright issues, but I'll give you the gist.  it's simple as pie (that you pick up from the store)

The recipe calls for:
3/4 C almonds (I didn't have any on hand so I didn't use any)
3 1/2 C old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 C canola oil (I used coconut oil because it's yummier and I didn't have canola)
1/4 tsp salt (I didn't add that either)
1/3 C honey
1/2 C packed light brown sugar (i used dark because that's what I had)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I love cinnamon, so I eyeballed it and added a little more)

1. put your oven rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 300 degrees.  Line a 9x13 pan with an aluminum foil sling (put foil one way with it coming up over the edges of the pan and another piece of foil going the other way with it coming up over the edges. it's just so you can lift the granola out of the pan for easier cutting.)
2. toast almonds (if you're using them) in a skillet over med. heat til golden brown about 5-7 min stirring often. transfer to bowl. THEN add oats and oil to skillet to toast to golden brown and aromatic.  about 4-6 min.  put in the bowl with the almonds and stir in salt (if you wish)
3. Add honey and brown sugar to skillet and heat until the sugar is dissolved, stir frequently so it doesn't burn the bottom.  should take about 5 min. take off the heat and add cinnamon and vanilla extract.
DO PAST STEP AND NEXT STEP AS FAST AS YOU CAN!  The honey mixture turns into a hard rock candy if it cools too long.
4. QUICKLY add honey mixture into the oats and almonds.  MIX FAST!  pour mixture into the pre-greased 9x13 pan.  PACK the granola mixture down into the pan HARD!  I got out a small bread pan and a layer of wax paper and pressed it down really hard with the pan.  it needs to be about a half inch to an inch thick.  Put in oven cooking about 20-25 minutes rotating the pan halfway through.
5. Take out and let cool 10 minutes or more so when you cut them it is hard!    Cool bars completely before eating.

YUM!  Seriously... cheap and delicious!

Nutrition Facts per bar (according to cook book version)
calories: 180  Fat: 8g  Sat Fat: 0.5g  Chol. 0mg  Carb. 26g  Protein 4g
Fiber 3g  Sodium 40mg

Here is the finished product!

This should give you an idea of what the foil sling is to look like.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

From Poster to Podge to Pallet

So, I have been inspired by pinterest like none other lately, and I decided to take on something that seemed fairly simple.  It really shouldn't be that complicated, but Jordan and I are old-school so it took a little longer than people who have a lot of "tools" and "equipment"  haha.  I got this idea from this website.

Here is our photo journey of this project.

Pallet we bought for two dollars.. Poster we already had in a cruddy frame. 

Justus wanted to come watch, but there were mosquitos... I had to do the right thing...

Jordan trying to separate the boards... ended up being too tedious.  

We didn't have a table saw.. like most DIYers... so he hand sawed it.  He crazy.

Justus and mama watching Daddy do all the hard parts.  :)

Our battery operated drill was not charged... it took about two hours to get all of the screws drilled into the back.  We put two boards across the back to hold it all together.  

Before we put the poster on... boards all together.

ugly bendy poster frame

Me, finally helping.  (it was MY project... but whatever, he did all the hard parts)
I put Mod Podge on the boards and then put the poster on top slowly scraping the bubbles out with a credit card type material.  

We went inside so I could dry the poster... we had already been working on it for like 4 hours by this point and were getting impatient.  We are the kind of crafters that don't finish a project if we wait til the next day, so we decided to work on it until it was DONE!

Jordan went into all of the cracks between the boards and sliced the poster pieces out of it, which REALLY makes it look like part of the wood.  It really looks like it's painted on there because of his detail work... which I'm pretty sure took three hours. 

He even found cracks throughout the wood pallet and scraped them out.  Looks AWESOME!

I had to keep bringing him beers... he was doing MY project after all... 

Justus, still a part of the project... 

Jordan holding up his proud work!

The Mod Podge on top of the poster was still drying, that's all the white parts.

This is where we hung it.  I FREAKING LOVE IT!!!!

Any questions regarding how we did this... comment! It should be a lot simpler than we made it!