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Monday, June 18, 2012

Blog Break

For the next 2 weeks or so, I'll be living a lot more offline, and that means a break from blogging.  What I'm Reading, Menu Plan Monday, and the fun of craft projects and baking and everything else will return after that.  During the break, we'll also be celebrating the baptism of our new niece, and moving across town into a house!  I'm looking forward to the busy-ness, and I'm sure I'll enjoy the calm after everything settles down. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Monday/Tuesday: Crockpot Bean and Sausage Stew, Homemade Bread
Wednesday: Chicken Broccoli Mushroom Alfredo
Thursday/Friday: Slow Cooker Jambalaya, Mini Corn Muffins
Saturday: Mexi-Beans and Rice
Sunday: Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

Sunday, June 10, 2012

What I'm Reading...

Organize Your Weight Loss.  I'm such a list person and organization freak in other areas of my life, that maybe I just need to be more organized about weight loss.  (I'm An Organizing Junkie)

Maybe The Answer Is Owning Less.  I'm starting to agree with this more and more.  (Organizing Your Way)

Frugal Summer Fun From A To Z.  I only skimmed this list so far, but it looks like there are lots of fun things on it.  (Money Saving Mom)

And that's it!  I've been doing lots of reading offline lately - I'm re-reading the first three books in Christopher Paolini's Inheritance series, so I can finally read the last one, which I've had since last October.  I've also been doing lots of little projects around the house and enjoying being outside in the sun, so I haven't spent much time on the blogs.  I suggest you do the same!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Little Projects

I've been doing lots of little projects around the house lately.  My favorite was probably reorganizing our dvd collection.  Here it is before:  

We also had some of the kid movies in this diaper box, which didn't really have a home.


Enter the new movie system!  I love how much space this saves!  We don't have that large of a movie collection any more, so this holds all of our dvds with room to spare.  I just need to order more sleeves to finish putting them away, aside from our tv show seasons, which I have to decide if we are going to keep or sell, since we don't watch them much after that first time through.

We've also been able to sit on our front lawn and watch the Blue Angels fly overhead as they practice for their air show.  This picture doesn't do it justice.  They were close, and loud, and pretty cool to see.

We gave this little guy his first haircut.  I will miss his adorable baby curls, but he was getting way too warm and sweaty with how hot it has been lately.  He's looking so much like a big kid now!

I spent an unexpectedly child-free hour yesterday (Jesse took the boys to the mall) organizing my piano music and other items that were stored at the foot of our bed.  I found a bunch of things to sell, some to throw out, and a few things I was able to put to use.  One of those things was our wedding binder.  Since I like to organize, I had everything set up for wedding planning in there.  It's safe to say I won't need that any more! but it was fun to look back on it all.  I used the dividers to redo my kitchen binder, and now my recipes are set up in a much more useful way for how I currently menu plan.

Aside from baking a half batch of granola and starting to pack for our move, I've been relaxing and enjoying summer with the family.  How about you?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ribbon and Button Bookmark: A Naptime Project

Naptime projects are quick, easy projects that can be done in less than an hour while the little one(s) sleep.

Even though I don't have a ton of time to read with the two kiddos running around, I still like to indulge occasionally.  (With most tv shows in reruns, I find I have a bit more time for reading at the moment) But if I leave my book anywhere the kids can reach, my bookmark will inevitably get yanked out  fall out completely on accident.  Enter the semi-kid-proof ribbon bookmark.  It's loose enough for me to slide it around a little bit, but secure enough that little fingers will have a hard time getting it off the book before I catch them.  I like that.

You can find the tutorial here, but it's pretty simple.  All you need is a length of ribbon, a button, and a hair elastic, plus some thread to put it all together.  And you can still find where you left off reading last month when the kids napped at the same time and you had nothing else to do...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Apple Stamping and Yarn Block Painting

Jonah loves painting, so every so often we'll do a project during Matthew's morning nap.  I found apple stamping and yarn block painting on Pinterest quite awhile ago, and they both looked like fun additions to the potato printing we did awhile back.

Jonah put on his paint shirt (one of Jesse's old button-down shirts with the sleeves cut off) and we got to work.

These are my two finished pieces.  I really like the look of the yarn block printing, although I wish I would have spaced my lines better.  I am OCD even when it comes to creating art pieces.  Go figure.  And once I got the hang of the apple printing (toward the left side in this photo), I like how it turned out, but I had too much paint to start out, so it just got kind of gloppy.

This one is Jonah's masterpiece.  He really liked the blue apple and the yellow block.  And then he liked to mix the colors together to see what color they made.  Educational! Sidenote: The boy knows all of his basic colors now, and I'm so proud!

This was actually a really easy project, since we had all of the supplies on hand, except for wooden blocks.  I used a few pieces of styrofoam that came with a picture frame we just bought, and wrapped the yarn around those instead.  I am planning on hanging some of these prints in the boys' new room when we move, since they'll have a blue/red color scheme for the most part.  You'll have to wait a few more weeks to see that...stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Black Bean & Sausage Soup Recipe

I wish I had a picture for you all, but I didn't realize how big of a hit this soup would be!  I got the inspiration for this recipe here, so go look at that picture if you are a visual menu planner.  Mine looked more or less like that...

  • 2 (15oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed (or use 2 cups of cooked black beans from dry beans)
  • 2/3 of a 14oz. chicken or pork sausage link, about 9oz. (I got a U-shaped one and used the two longer parts and saved the curve for another time, if that makes sense)
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped (or a good sprinkle of onion powder)
  • 2-3 cups of broth, depending on how broth-y you like soup (I used pinto bean broth from the last time I cooked pinto beans, and it was hearty and awesome, but any vegetable or chicken broth will do)
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder (all spices are approximations, given that I just kind of dump them on)
  • sprinkle red pepper flakes

Put all ingredients in a pot.  Heat to boiling.  Reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes, until carrots start to soften.  Serve each bowl with a dollop of sour cream and/or a bit of shredded cheddar cheese.

This soup would also be good served over rice for an even fuller meal.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Target and Walgreens Coupon Shopping

I was looking through my coupons and realized I had some Target diaper coupons that expired today.  I didn't want to waste them, since they were pretty good, so I stopped there this afternoon.  I found a bunch of Pampers on "clearance", meaning that they were a few dollars off their normal price.  

  • Pampers Box: Normally $29.99, marked down to $25.48.  Used $2/1 Target coupon (mailer) and $2.50/1 (came in previous box) = paid $20.98.
  • Pampers Big Pack: Normally $19.99, marked down to $16.82.  Used $1.50/1 Target coupon (mailer) and $1.50/1 printable = paid $13.82.
  • Huggies Wipes: $5.89.  Used $1/1 Target coupon (mailer) and $0.50/1 (insert) = paid $4.39.
  • Pampers Wipes: $1.97.  Used $1/1 Target coupon (mailer) and $0.50/1 (mailer) = paid $0.47.
  • Coffeemate Creamer: $3.29.  Used free coupon.
  • Total spent was $39.89, for almost 200 diapers and a bunch of wipes.  Happy about that!
This picture of 2 Ecotrin is from last week at Walgreens, but I never posted it: (They were $1.50 each, get a $2RR when you buy 2.  I used two $1.50/1 insert coupons, so paid nothing, but got $2 back.)

So then I used my $2RR from last week in my first transaction today, to get the Omega Fish Oil caplets.  They were $10, get $10RR, so I spent $8.74 after tax and got $10RR.

  • 4 Coffeemate Creamers: 2/$3.  Used three $0.50/1 (insert) = paid $4.50/4.
  • 2 Green & Black Bars: 2/$4.  Used two $1/1 printables = paid $2/2.
  • Arm & Hammer deoderant: $3.29. 
  • My total was $9.99 pre-tax (you can't use Register Rewards for tax, and I wanted to use the $10 from the first transaction) so I grabbed a caramel for $0.39.
  • Used my $10RR.  Paid $0.96, most of which was tax.

What I'm Reading...

How Do You Stay Motivated To Get Housework Done?  I've assigned things to each day, and generally keep up on them (except bathroom day). (Money Saving Mom)

20 Uses For Vinegar Around Your Home.  I already use it to clean my coffeemaker, and to deoderize and soften our cloth diapers in the washing machine. (Green Your Way)

Why No Sugar? Break The Sugar Habit Challenge.  We have been cutting back on processed foods and sugars more and more as we use things up from the pantry.  I don't know that I could go cold turkey yet though. (Food Your Way)

8 Creative Uses For Flat Soda.  (Simple Organized Living)

5 Ways Free Samples Save Us Money.  I agree with all of these.  My favorite use of free samples was when we ran out of Jonah's night-time disposable diapers, but our order was still being shipped and wouldn't be here for 2 days.  We had a few sample Pullups that I pulled out, and we didn't have to go buy a whole package of diapers. (Money Saving Mom)

Use Rechargeable Batteries.  We use rechargeables in our camera, but that's about it.  We don't use a ton of batteries anyway. (The Simple Dollar)

Why I'm Not Printing Photos Any More.  I agree with this post so much.  I printed out a ton of pictures right after Jonah was born, and also put some in frames.  I finally switched out and updated the framed photos a few months ago.  I just don't really do the printed out pictures.  I'll probably switch them out again in a few years, but until then, I'm fine with just sharing them all digitally.  (Simple Organized Living)

Reflections on Becoming My Mother.  I am not always the same as my mother, but there are moments where I do something that is completely her.  (Offbeat Mama)