Showing posts with label awesome. Show all posts
Showing posts with label awesome. Show all posts

Feb 16, 2013

DIY Recipe Organizer

In the spirit of simplifying our lives and being budget-savvy, I decided that our weekly grocery shopping trips needed to change.  Dan and I can easily drop $100-150 every week to two weeks on groceries.  While this was never an issue before, I can foresee it becoming one in the near future.  Plus, I feel like that is a good bit to be spending on food for a family of 2 1/2.  Now obviously we make food a top budget priority because before all else, we need to eat....however, I've seen blogs where families of four live off of $200 a month for groceries!  I think that is amazing!  I'm not sure if I'll ever be that good at couponing, planning, and budgeting my shopping trips, but I know there is certainly more that I can be doing to save money than I am now.

So I took a good, hard look at what we were purchasing week to week and which items were the most costly.  Turns out prepackaged snack foods are the culprit.  Not only are they pricey, but they are also notoriously unhealthy and packed with lots of additives, chemicals, and lord knows what else.  I figured if I could find an alternative to these packaged snacks, it would be healthier and cheaper for all of us.  (Packaged snacks for us include(d) cheese and cracker sticks, rice krispie treats, granola bars, brownies, fruit cups, etc etc.)  So my plan....replace each of these packaged snacks with a homemade, healthier, cheaper version. Sounds simple enough right?  Wrong, I knew I'd have a 150 lb road block in my way....my husband.  You see, Dan likes his lunches the same way, everyday.  And let's be honest, he's not so keen on accepting change.  For example 95% of our date nights, we usually end up at TGI Fridays.  Not once have we ever eaten at a Mexican, Chinese, Sushi, Korean, Indian, Japanese, or any other of the sort restaurant. (Now I'll admit, I'm partly to blame for this too...I just really like TGI Fridays, but now I'm getting off topic)  Anyway, I knew it would be a challenge to get him on board with my new approach to snack foods. But I was up for it.  I figured if I introduced one new homemade snack food at a time, I wouldn't overwhelm him, and maybe, just maybe, he'd come around to liking them!?  One can hope right?

So the first switcheroo I tried:
 Prepackaged Snack vs. Homemade Version Number 1: cheese and crackers. (one of Dan's favorites)
Product Image
google image
A box of 15 of these puppies is approximately $6.  And what is the snack essentially?  Well 5 crackers and some soft cheddary cheese dip with a few chemicals and preservatives.  How can I replicate this for cheaper?  A block of Cheddar cheese and some club crackers of course!  (Okay, Okay, I know what you are thinking.  Calling store bought cheese and club crackers "homemade" is a bit of a stretch, but since I don't own a goat, and have no idea how to make my own cheese and crackers from scratch, this is as close to it as I'm gonna get people.  So just go with it)
Now a block of Cheddar cheese is ~$2.70 and a box of of 128 club crackers (store brand) is ~$2.50.  Cutting this block of cheese into small squares will give you around 15 servings.  And 128 crackers will give you about 25 servings (5 crackers each).  So do all that math and it comes out to one package of crackers is 0.40, And one homemade equivalent is 0.28.  You save 12 cents per package and $1.80 for the entire box.  Did you follow?   That small hunk of change adds up, and imagine how much more I could save if I did this sort of thing to all of our snack food?

To make this version more hubby friendly, I pre sliced the block of cheese and sorted it out into separate baggies.  Convenience is a big thing for Dan, so the pre-cut cheese in baggies made this more appealing to him and the transition was smoother.  And the verdict....the big guy reluctantly admits that this version "is tastier"!  Zing! I win.

Next week I will continue my slow overhaul of snacky foods with homemade granola bars (I am for real making these ones!), so check back later for that.  But now, the real point of this post.

 Because I want us to be more responsible about our eating and snacking, I decided it was time to organize our recipes.  Up until now, they've had no organization.  Some are in our heads, others on the ipad, others on pinterest, and still more in cookbooks and on recipe cards.  It is far past time for all of them to come together in one nice, organized, and preferably stylish place.  So voila, here is what I came up with.


 An old binder

+ some scrapbook paper

+ some scrapbook vintage-y stickers I had lying around

+ some handy dividers from another notebook

+ post it note labels all cut up and fit on there.

+ recipe pages of course (i designed in word publisher with a picture of vintage notebook paper & downloaded font from Fontex.org)








= a spectacular solution to our scattered, unorganized, recipe problem

Well folks, that's all for now!  Hope you enjoyed.

Feb 12, 2013

5 Totally Awesome Must-Have Books According to This Momma

Hey all!

Good news... not only is my blog going to be about DIY tutorials, but I'm also going to sprinkle in a little mommy stuff here and there, along with family posts, budget-y posts, and healthy eating goodies!   

So straying from the sewing posts a little, I wanted to share with you my totally unprofessional and uneducated mommy opinions on the best baby books around. Ok...here we go.

Not unlike a lot of mommies I know, I love to read.  Seriously, I LOOOVE to read.  I have always been a "bookworm",known to devour one book after another.  My poor hubby knows that when I start a book, there will be very little bonding time or even talking time till it's finished.  But let's go back to the beginning.  The story of my learning to read is actually quite comical.  So comical in fact, that I feel it necessary to share with you all.

Rewind to 1990ish. According to my parents, when I was a little tot, I would memorize my favorite books after hearing  them over and over again.  Once I had them memorized, I would sit by myself in my room and "read" my books  aloud.  Funny part is, I was genuinely convinced that I was indeed "reading".  I'm sure you can picture that scene..., me sitting there, probably holding the book upside down, babbling off all sort of nonsense, feeling self-important and awesome. I was "reading" and I loved it.

Then kindergarten rolled around and part of the curriculum  was actually learning to read...go figure!  The irony of this was, I couldn't learn it!  No matter how hard I tried to learn to read, I had A LOT of trouble.  My parents think that as per my personality, I was just too impatient to get to the reading part to hunker down and learn my basics.  In other words, I didn't feel it necessary to bother with the alphabet and learning what letters made what sounds.  That was a waste of time,  I just wanted to look at a page and well….read it!  If you know me, this is hilarious.  Because 21 years later, my personality is EXACTLY the same.  Little to no patience, focused on the end result, and blatant disregard for the basics!  These days though, I really try to step back and take my time to do things the right way.  The saying "haste makes waste" rings true to me.  But no matter, I digress.  Back to little ole illiterate Mary. 

So after nights and nights of working on my reading with no improvement, my parents caved.  What I'm about to reveal to you all is outstandingly embarrasing...but it must be said.  I know all of you 90s kids will know what I mean when I say…. I Mary Grace ..... was hooked on phonics.    There it is, I said it! Hooked-On-Phonics...... The combination of that and my two patient parents finally got the reading thing to happen for me.  Thank the lord because I was almost a lost cause.  So to wrap up my long, seemingly irrelevant story, I eventually mastered the whole reading thing and the rest is history.  Since kindergarten, I've read hundreds and hundreds of books, and I wish I had more time in my days now to read more! 

But fret not!  Since having Noah, I've entered a whole new genre of reading material….baby books!  And let me tell you what the secret to the baby books is, the baby doesn't care what you are reading.  Well, not yet at least.  So since the baby doesn't care what you are reading, be a little selfish and pick something you want to read. Seriously, why bother with those dull 2 word sentences books that are supposed to be developmentally appropriate.  Or those black n white books with one word per page.  Not only are books like those tremendously uninteresting to you, but they are also a complete waste of energy (in my unprofessional and uneducated mommy opinion) Let me explain...to read one of those one-sentence-a-page books,  it'll take you all of 20 seconds.  Twenty seconds of frantic, pointless page flipping while your baby flails around restlessly in your arms waiting for something more interesting to happen.  Now don't get me wrong!!!  I'm sure those books will be great and educational at some point in Noah's young life, but for a 0-6 month old, I believe not so much. 
So this brings me to the types of books that are AWESOME to read (in my unprofessional and uneducated mommy opinion).  Number 1, I like books with rhyme and Noah does too.  He enjoys the inflections I create with my voice while reading them and the musical quality of the reading grabs his attention more easily.  Number 2, I also like books with some colorful illustrations.  I've seen more than a few baby books with black and white pages and weird sketchy drawings.  Now I'm sure that some genius somewhere has a perfectly good reason for why these books are developmentally appropriate and preferred, but I'm not buying that my 6month old son would rather look at a stick figure then a page full of wonderful, colorful, woodland creatures.  And lastly, isn't early reading supposed to be familiarizing baby with different sounding words, sentence structure, emotion, conversation, etc?  How are you supposed to get all that from the aforementioned one-sentence-a-page books? 
So that brings me to what I believe are the most awesome (to date) baby books for you and your bambino.  But before I get to my list, I must reflect on what I've written and say that it's entirely possible that I'm just encouraging you to be selfish and read what YOU like with complete disregard for what may or may not be developmentally appropriate for the reading age of your child.  But to that thought I say pshhhh, ANY reading is good! (within reason people)

Number 5!  Moo Baa La La La 


This book was recommended to me by one of my fellow mommies.  I love the simple noises, rhymes, and animal sounds in this book.  I'm sure as Noah gets older, he'll love it more too.  It is a little short for my tastes, but it makes the list nevertheless.

Number 4! Ten Tiny Toes


Now this book is just priceless.  Noah and I found it one day at Barnes N Nobles.  I was immediately drawn to the sing/songy rhyming words.  Plus it was just too freaken adorable to pass up.  "And nothing on earth you could even suppose, can ever be loved quite like Ten tiny toes!?"  How stinkin cute. SOLD.

Number 3! Little Blue Truck

I got this book from one of my childhood neighbors.  Love. love. love!  There are a lot of things I love about the Little Blue Truck book.  The illustrations are fantastic, the rhyming and sentence structure are so fun, and the animal noises are a blast to sound out for Noah.  He almost always starts shouting and babbling along with me when I read this book.  When I found out that it had a companion sequel...we bought it instantly.  Not quite as great as the original, but still a fun read.

Number 2! Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You

Ok now this book is just a must-have for every mommy out there.  The first time I read it, I had tears in my eyes.  This author so beautifully describes the love a mother/father/whoever feels for their "baby".  And she does it in beautiful rhyme.  What I love most about this book is the truth and meaning behind the words. As Noah gets older I want him to remember that "My love can find him, my love can fly".  Insert tears.

Number 1! Bear Snores On


Oh gosh, this book is a gem.  Dan and I found it on date night at Barnes N Noble.  Another fun rhyming book with great illustrations.  The book is complete with fun rhymes, different voices, sound effects, suspense, fun, and a fantastic ending!  Imagine our elation when we went to Barnes N Nobles just the other day and found that there are more diamonds like this one! (Yes, we bought them all) Hallelujah!  Fun, exciting, reading ahead!


There you go people.  Let me know if you know of any books I should reconsider ranking into my top 5.  I'm always on the lookout for the next great book to read to my Noah bear!


But in all seriousness, you are bombarded with advice to read to your child daily, so why not make this a fun time for both of you by finding exciting books that you look forward to reading.  I'm hoping that as the experts say, daily reading will set the child up for success in their future learning.  Because I for one, do not want Noah to be hooked on phonics.  =)

Disclaimer:  As I said, this is (in my unprofessional and uneducated mommy opinion) and mostly meant to offer some mommy suggestions for wonderful reading material.  I am not in any way educated in early childhood learning, nor do I pretend to be.  So  Please do not be offended by my sarcasm =)












Feb 10, 2013

DIY Labels for Sewing Projects


 
Keeping true to my current sewing themed posts, I wanted to share with you how I make my homemade sewing labels.  I found a similar idea one day while browsing pinterest, and knew I had to try it.  The original idea came from Tutorial Ideas.  I took her tutorial and modified it a little to my liking and needs.

So since I've been doing a lot of sewing lately, I thought that a cute little homemade label would be a nice final touch to my projects. 

So what you need:
Iron on transfer paper
1.5 in wide white ribbon
your label template
an iron!

Step 1:  Create your label in the program of your choice.  I used Word Publisher, but I'm sure Microsoft Word would also work.  I'm not sure what the Mac equivalent would be, but I know there is one.  To create my label, I played around with different fonts, colors, symbols, etc.  When I found the combo I liked, I "grouped" my design together.  (You can do this by ctrl selecting everything, then right clicking and hitting the "group" button)  This just allows you to copy all the pieces of your label at once.

Once you have everything grouped together, go ahead and copy your label.  Then add copies of your label side by side until you have one row of labels.  Microsoft Publisher helps you with this by making sure you align your pieces evenly, so if your program has it, use the pink/red guidelines.  Once you have an entire row, select all of the labels again and "group" the whole row.  Then copy and paste the rows down the page until you have something that looks like this.

 

One thing you want to be mindful of.... Make sure that your labels aren't any larger than 1.5 inches or they won't fit onto your ribbon. 

Step 2:  Grab your handy dandy t shirt transfer paper.  Make sure your read the instructions on properly loading the paper into the printer.  And before you click print, in the printer settings/properties under paper type, click T-shirt transfer paper.  This will automatically mirror your labels for you.  (I'd print out a test sheet just to be safe)



Step 3:  Now that you have your BEautiful labels, cut em out!


Step 4:  Grab that ribbon and align your labels 2-4 at time along the ribbon for ironing.  (Tip:  Make sure you leave a small edge on top and bottom of label to fold over while sewing.



Step 5:  Iron those puppies on!  I believe I ironed for 15-30 seconds.  I also didn't just leave my iron in one place.  I moved and pressed at different angles.  


Step 6:  AFTER, the ribbon and label have COOLED, remove the backing.  If you remove it while it's still warm, the font will pull up away from the ribbon.  


Step 7:  Admire and SEW to your product!!!  

I use a straight stitch to sew my labels and I fold over the tabs as I go to make sure the edges are finished. 

Hope this tutorial helps you all out!  Let me know how your labels turn out! 






DISCLAIMER:  These are not "heavy" duty labels.  I'm not sure how many washes they will hold up to being that they are transfer/iron on.  If you would like heavier duty labels, you may have to find a different method!

Jan 30, 2013

How Appropriate for the First Day of my Blog!

My hubby and I try to make dinnertime a place and time where we can catch up with eachother on the day's activities.  It's share time.  We share what we did during the day, what made us laugh, funny things we heard on the radio, silly Noah things, etc, etc.  Tonight my husband decided to share with me a video that his sister had shared with him.  You may have seen it already, it's called "A Pep Talk from Kid President to You."  It is currently trending on a lot of social media sites, but incase you haven't seen it yet, here is the link

http://youtu.be/l-gQLqv9f4o



Did you watch it?  Did you get chills?  I know I did.  First things first, how cute was that kid?  I mean seriously, he was perfect.  But that 3 minute video was so powerful, and the message it was delivering is one that every single person can identify with.  As he said, we've got "air coming through our nose" and "a heartbeat" so go out into the world and "be awesome", "give the world a reason to dance".  And perhaps my most favorite message; that little child reminds us that we are all on the "same team". 

Such simple truths.  So this blog is my way of "doing something".  And from this day forward, I'm going to remind myself that I am on the same team as every person I meet.  If this means waiting an extra second to hold the door open for the person behind me or letting someone out in front of me while driving or taking the time to wish the cashier a good day, I will be "awesome".  And I am sure I will be a happier person for it.