Monday, July 28, 2008

How-to Mondays: Organize Your Internet Notes

Welcome to another How-to Monday!

A good friend of mine sent me a link to this new internet based program called Evernote. I am totally head-over-heals in love! Have you ever surfed the web for ideas and had to paste all the links to an email and email it to yourself, just to have a reference of where the ideas came from and a way to get back to them? Evernote lets you take screenshots of the website, Copy pictures, make audio notes, take a snapshot of a handwritten note (I can't tell you how many times I have written notes on a little sticky note and then lost it). Then you can organize them into "notebooks" I have my general notebook which I use for graphic design inspiration. I also have a notebook for craft ideas, recipe ideas, sewing tutorials, etc. It has been a life saver since I offered to help organize a friends baby shower. Every little piece of inspiration is organized into the "baby shower ideas" notebook. It's so easy! Oh and the best part.... It's free! At least for now, it's the beta version so I'm sure eventually they will charge people for it... so check it out now! You won't regret it!

That's it for How-to Mondays! Short and oh so sweet!

Milk does a body good, Right?

So I get this newsletter every so often from "Real Age" It's this health assessment website where you can see your real age according to your grooming habits, nutrition, exercise etc. Basically to see if your a healthy person or not. Anyway, I got my little newsletter and I was reading through it when I stumbled upon this article: "Does milk really do a body good?" I couldn't resist reading it especially since I am on this "knowing exactly what's in what I am putting in my body kick." Reading it gave me more proof that the milk on the market is NOT what I want in my body. I want to switch to raw milk but have yet to find some in North Augusta. There is a organic farm in Aiken that sells it but I am not in Aiken enough or want to spend the gas to go get some. So in the meantime I am going all organic with dairy... something I wish I would have done while I was pregnant but there is nothing I can do about it now. At least little "c" will be drinking organic when he gets to that stage.

The article also got my wheels turning about how much we fall prey to marketing. It is sooo powerful! For example... where do we go to get vitamin C in our diet? Most of you will probably say oranges or orange juice but in reality.... strawberries, kiwi, and red bell pepper have more vitamin C than oranges do. So why do we drink that glass of orange juice in the morning instead of some fresh strawberries? Marketing. Same way with milk... does it really do a body good? Check the article out, there is a great quiz with it to see how much you really know about milk and how much of it is just propaganda. Have fun!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

To Grandmothers House We Go!

This weekend is going to be very exciting. Little "C" will get to see his grandma and grandpa on his daddy's side for the first time! When he was born, his grandma had to have neck surgery around the same time and was not allowed to travel for several months and of course with a new baby we weren't exactly in the best position to drive 7 hours to Florida with a newborn. So now he is 7 months and is getting to see them this weekend. They just sold their house and moved 2 hours from us. So it's very exciting for all of us.

I am a little nervous, to be honest. I haven't seen them in a while and I don't know how "involved" they want to be with the baby... i e. Telling us what we are doing wrong or need to do better. ... you know how parent's are right? My mom does that a lot but once I explain why I do something she's like "oh I didn't know that, okay." I don't mind input... I just want it to be a good experience... especially for little "C". So if you think about it... drop a little prayer in God's ear this weekend for us. I hope I am just nervous over nothing, it's going to be hard to get him down for naps and night time because he is in a new place but other than that he should be happy.

Time to start packing, oh and I'll be reading more of my book on the way so I'm sure I'll have some updates on that soon too.

Monday, July 21, 2008

You Dirty Hippie!

That's right... thanks to my kindred spirit now located in Mississippi... I am now a dirty hippie and I have the lip balm to prove it.

I got a special package this week with a "dirty hippie soaps- kissin' stick." Because of me confessing my fear of being considered a "smell bad, hippie etc" because I like to make my own laundry detergent, use cloth diapers, buy veggies locally, and am considering making my own deodarant etc... She thought of me when she saw this. I must admit it is very tasty! It is the orangecicle flavor and is totally vegan-certified. So a big thanks to my friend for helping me to embrace the dirty hippie inside. I couldn't do it without you!

How-to Mondays: Beans & Rice BABY!

Welcome back for How-to Mondays! I thought I would make a humble attempt to share some info on how I feed my family while keeping the costs down. If you have been through the Dave
Ramsey course then you will totally get the title :)

First you will need a plan! How do you come up with this plan? There are several great websites out there with free meal planning info etc. If you are really on a tiny budget has two full week menus for a family of four; one is a $70 menu and the other is a $45 menu for those times when you are really in a pinch. So that is a great place to start. She also has lots of budget friendly recipes.

I also created my own "grocery notebook" with the scriptures: Isaiah 58:11 and Phillipians 4:19 on the front. I'm not going to write them out for you! Go look them up for yourself. Great security from the word of God. I printed out these menu pages to go in my notebook. I found them while searching around take a look around, there is some great stuff and lots of freebies. I'm not homeschooling yet but if you are I'm sure it would be great inspiration. So back to the menu pages. These help me to organize my meals by day and on the side is a grocery list section so I can write in what I need in order to make those meals. It's such a great help and it cuts down on the "oh I don't know what I should fix... we don't have anything... lets just grab a hamburger or pizza or whatever." When you have a plan there is no excuse!

When on a budget don't forget about those great fillers that you can put into any meal like rice, beans, pasta etc. Instead of making tacos with a whole pound of hamburger meat... use 1/2 pound or less and stir in some black beans. I did this a few weeks ago and my husband loved them and didn't notice there was less meat. I'm sure its healthier too! Also don't be afraid to make some of your own seasonings. Find recipes for taco mix, chili mix etc. It's amazing how easy it is to put together in an old spice jar and it doesn't have the extra stuff like MSG that the stores like to include in the "mixes."

Also don't forget about snacks! It's so easy to pick up the "pre-packaged" junk in the stores - chips, cookies, gummies, cereal bars, pop tarts etc" now does any of that sound healthy or easy on your pocket? Buy big jars of applesauce which doubles great as babies first food (that is litte C's favorite food right now), graham crackers, bananas (portable and healthy), yogurt, raisins, prunes, nuts etc. If you plan these out ahead of time you won't get sucked in to buying that tasty looking bag of iced cookies when it is staring you in the face at the grocery store... then again maybe you will give in... we all need a little splurge now and then, right?

Well I didn't think I had this much info in my brain wow! So I think I should just stop now... this concludes our how-to Monday.

Do you have any meal planning tips??

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

With a little sunshine... love grows.

Baby is sleeping now... after meds for his eye infection and some comforting cold applesauce... his teething subsided and he played for a while. Now it's just mommy and a dirty house. I'm going to clean after a little mini momma break.

An update on the "showing the sunshine challenge" from a few blogs ago. Now that I am more aware of my complaining, pitiful spirit. I have found myself being very thankful for the little things that my hubby does for me and letting myself be happy. Letting the Joy of the Lord be my strength and stop trying to be my own strength. If you rely on yourself for everything its easy to be unhappy and a sour-puss. I can't control everything... even though I would like too... but we all know what a mess that would be. I think God has got it.... I just need a little reminding now and then. I even see a change in my hubby, he wants to help me even more and now that I'm smiling more... so is he. I guess I have more of an impact on the mood/spirit of my household than I thought.

My journey through the book continues. I think in the end it was good for me to read this book. It has challenged me on my thinking. Even though I don't agree with absolutely everything, doesn't mean I can't get a lot out of it.

Time to be productive....

Teething Bites


There it is ... one word to describe the day.

I hate teething! My little boy has been teething since about 4 months - he is now almost seven months and it seems it has only gotten worse. Screaming... and screaming, and screaming. Screaming when I put him down, screaming when I pick him up. He has little scabs on his ears where he has scratched them from the pain. I know he's miserable but could he not be as vocal about it? I'm just at my wits end. I finally plopped him in the crib and walked out..... wait..... silence.... no screaming... no wimpering.... just silence. He must have tuckered himself out. I want to go check on him but I just want to enjoy the sound of silence for one more moment.............. sigh.

........wimper...... wimper.....

here we go again...

Monday, July 14, 2008

How-to Mondays: Self Promotion Website

I know some of you probably looked at the title and were like whoa a website all in one post... not exactly. If you aren't a designer you might not find this as cool but I've finally figured out how to get my portfolio website up! Have another designer do it :) I know what some of you are thinking..."but aren't you a designer?" I think David Arie of the blog "David Arie: Graphic and Logo Designer" described it best:

"Ask any designer if they’re 100% satisfied with their work, and, whether openly admitted or not, there’s a very high chance of a negative response. That’s not to say their designs aren’t successful. Far from it. The statement refers more to the bane of any designers life – being overly critical – especially when designing for their own self-promotion.

When working with clients, they have the final decision, so it’s easier to know when a project is complete. When a designer creates for themselves (a personal logo or website, for instance) it can be tempting to obsess about the details."


So a fellow designer (and long time friend of mine) and I were talking one day and he said I cannot finalize anything on my self promotion website. I keep changing everything! Want to design it for me? SURE!

So we acted as clients. Pretty weird when you are used to being on the other side all the time. I think I am a pretty good client though. I did make the statement I always roll my eyes to (in my head... not in front of the client ) "Yeah, I want it to be boutiquish but not too boutiquish." I can bet twenty bucks that every time someone wants something designed they use that statement... "I want it blue but not too blue... I want it professional looking but not soo professional it looks stale" It's amazing the magic we designers can come up with. We have to be mind readers and invent ways for something to be "red but not too red, cute but not too cute" ... you get the idea.

So anyway... we designed each other's websites and logos and guess what? We both are so happy with the results! Pure genius! So keep a look out-the website is just in the beginning stages so far but I'll post it when it's done. So I guess the lesson to be learned.

If at first you don't succeed... delegate! lol :)

This concludes How-to Mondays!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Wipes Solution - How-to Monday's

Okay so I missed the boat on the How-to Monday thing... since yesterday was Monday! Oh well, I'm trying to start the habit so hang in there with me. So here is the second edition of How-to Monday ... on Tuesday :)

As you know we do cloth diapers when we are at home and it has saved us so much money, kept the amount of waste we produce down, and I'm sure it's been better for the baby. We also use cloth wipes. It's just easier to put the wipe in the diaper and they both go in the same diaper pail. Instead of having to separate the two if you were doing cloth/disposable wipes. Any way because I do cloth wipes I make my own wipe solution. I know all of this sounds really daunting to someone that has never done this before but it's really quite easy once you get used to it and have done all your research. So with all of that said.. here is what I do to make my own wipe solution...

There are many different recipes with essential oils etc. So you can really customize it for what your baby needs (dry skin, lots of diaper rashes, etc). I keep mine very simple and cost effective. I use a large spray bottle and fill it half to three fourths full with warm filtered water. Then I put in one tablespoon of each:

Witch Hazel
(very soothing to the skin... you know the tucks pads that you used after birth... just witch hazel on a cloth pad, also helps the solution stay fresh and not spoil as easy, and I've found that while a disposable wipe will have him screaming when he has a diaper rash... he doesn't have a problem with these wipes, oh and if you aren't sure where to find this... they have it at wal-mart next to the rubbing alcohol)

baby wash
(I used Burt's Bee's... it's mostly natural and has a great scent)

olive oil
(this is optional but it does help the cloth smooth over the bum easier... especially for those poopy diapers, but I don't use it much anymore because he doesn't have as many poopy diapers now that he is older)

Some recipes use baby oil instead of olive oil but I have a problem with using a petroleum by-product on my baby. The Burt's Bee's and the olive oil are a little more expensive but I think it is better for my baby and you are only using a tablespoon of each for the bottle of wipes solution. This bottle will usually last me about two weeks. I just shake it up and spray on the cloth wipes. I like the spray bottle method because I can choose how much solution I want to use. That about sums it up. Hopefully that was thorough enough...

Also I just found out that a friend of mine is expecting and I want to make a pregnancy survival kit for her.... here are some things I already have and I wanted to get some suggestions too:

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Crackers (I carried crackers with me during my first trimester... great for nauseau)
Bra extenders
Belly Butter
What to expect when you are expecting (or some sort of pregnancy book)

hmm... that's as far as I can get... Any suggestions?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

car sales, fitness, and sunshine

Before I get into my post for today I want to give an update to my last blog. The car that we were so desperate to sell, sold that very night. It's amazing what can happen when you align your thinking and rely on God. Makes all the difference.

We got a Wii Fit today. My husband and I have been debating on whether we should get one or not so we have looked around a little and of course you can't find one anywhere! So he went into Best Buy and they had just gotten a huge shipment! Anyway... I love it, love it, love it! It would take too long to explain the greatness of this product but if you have a Wii go out and get the Wii Fit!

Okay so this post is going to be all over the place but that's just me...

Another update on the book I am reading. I am really enjoying it so far. There are some comments that I think are a little radical but it's really hitting home with me. The second chapter is titled "A Merry Heart." Here is a little excerpt that really shot me straight in the heart... "When he first fell in love with you, you were a sweet little thing, full of laughter and fun. From the very bottom of your soul you were thrilled with him. Everyday you woke up planning some activity that involved you both. Is he still married to the same sweet little thing, or have you become a long-faced, sickly complainer? ..... Has your lover seen your sunshine lately?"

Wow... I'm going to start searching for hidden cameras in my house right now. I've been so consumed with life that I've let my girlish charm and sillyness fade. Lately I'm just happy that I got through the day without biting my husband's head off. But you know what... He has been so great... I'm not saying that we don't have our fights and doubts but lately he has been so great at taking a step back and talking it out before it gets too heated. I'm very impressed. My husband was definitely a hot-head when we got married and boy did I love to push his buttons. Something that I'm sad to say I got honestly from my family ... the love of sarcasm and the ability to dish out heart-piercing criticism. We were a great pair.... both strong-willed and hard-headed :) but we were also goof balls, visionaries, servers and jesus lovers. Thank the Lord we had God on our side.

long pause....

I miss who I was .... in the last post I talked about how it's difficult to get the spark back in your soul once it's gone. After reading tonight I wonder if that's me? Have I lost the spark? I see glimses of it now and then but I want it back. I want to be a happy, fun-loving, silly wife and mother who loves life. I want my husband to see that and my son to see that....

So I guess the only thing left to do is ask yourself everyday.... has your family seen your sunshine lately?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hope floats .... then sinks .... then floats again

[hoping, hoped]
1. to desire (something), usually with some possibility of fulfilment: you would hope for their cooperation
2. to trust or believe: I hope I've arranged that
1. a feeling of desire for something, usually with confidence in the possibility of its fulfilment: the news was greeted by some as hope for further interest rate cuts
2. a reasonable ground for this feeling: there is hope for you yet
3. the person, thing, situation, or event that gives cause for hope or is desired:

Hope is a tricky thing. I haven't felt like having much lately... to be quite honest. And you can come to expect that from this blog... complete honesty. At least that's my goal. Anyway... you'll need a little background info so you can understand where I am coming from.

We have been trying to sell our car for about a month or so now. Every time we come close something goes wrong or the person acts like they are coming to buy it and then we never hear anything from them. We have never had this much trouble with a car sale. It's gotten rediculous and I am over it. We really need to sell the car so I have gotten my hopes up time and time again. Finally after getting upset at God, I decided I am not getting my hopes up... I just can't do it anymore. I'm done. So I got up went to work and tried not to think about it. Well, you know God doesn't just let it end that way. He's annoyingly loving that way :). So I do my rounds of hello's at the office and come talk to "C". We got on the conversation of how things were going for each of us and so of course this crazy mess comes up. He could definitely relate and said something that really hit me. "You know hope is a tricky thing. I find myself saying the same thing...even to my kids... oh I'm not going to get my hopes up... oh don't get your hopes up for that. But that's not how I want to be or the example I want my kids to follow. But it's hard." I don't want my baby "c" to grow up that way either. I want him to always hope and dream. When that spark in your spirit goes it's hard to get it back. I don't want that to happen for my son. So I decided to do some digging and see what God said about it (I thought I would give the maker of the universe another try)... this is what I found....

Ps 33:17 - Show Context
A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save.
hmm.... kinda a smack in the face... okay so I was putting all my hope in a "horse" or in this case a car. So maybe I shouldn't have been mad at God. This is what I should be doing...
Ps 25:5 - Show Context
guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Ps 62:5 - Show Context
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.
Whoever says that God is not relevant to today's time is totally off their rocker. So here I am humbled again by how much God knows me and loves me...even when I try to blame him for messing stuff up. I will continue to have hope... have hope in my saviour all day long...
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