Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Summer Schedules








School schedules, cleaning schedules, baby schedule, summer schedules...schedules. I might be a little odd, but I really like schedules. I'm one who likes to know what I'm doing and when. Either in the morning, before bed or sometimes during the day, I jot down my items I'm doing and write a time down for them as well, even schedule when I have play time with my girls. It may sound over the top, but it helps me to mentally be present with them instead of thinking about my to-do list as I play.  Now, that being said, being someone who likes to have a schedule and follow a schedule, it can be hard for me to diverge from said schedule. And if I need to, well because life happens, it's harder for me to do than I'd like to admit. That is something that I feel God has been helping me to work on. They say when you pray for patience, God gives you opportunities to practice that patience.  Well, He has given me opportunities to practice diverging from my schedule and not getting frustrated and flustered. However, there is definitely still some work to be done.  And my girls have helped me learn to let things go off my schedule many more times than I used to be able to do. Just recently, they woke up way too early, but instead of getting frustrated that MY time was disrupted we took some snuggle time on the couch together instead. 

To all you new moms, one thing I remember a lot of people telling me was the first thing I should do was to get that baby on a schedule, it will really help you out.  And you know what, our first baby did awesome at having a schedule. Which worked great for me. Then came our other 2.  Little J was here and there, as most of you know, I started to stay at home after I had her, so she had a little more freedom with mom always being around.  But with also watching a few other kids, she got on a rough schedule pretty quick.  As for Little S, she has yet to have a schedule. Her schedule consists of waking up at whatever time she decides for the morning and then eating approximately 3-4hours apart, with maybe a few random naps thrown in there here or there. So don't fret if your little one isn't on a schedule right away. Sometimes we can get more stressed trying to put them on a schedule than if we just let them be how they are. One thing that helped me, was to write down when Little S did anything, eat, sleep, poop.  Then I could recognize that she was sleeping about 2 hrs after she ate, even if it wasn't always at a specific time.  This also helped me to know when it was best to do housework and when I could play with baby. Because as the saying goes, dishes will always be there.  But it's also true as a mom of little kids that at some point you HAVE to actually do them as well instead of letting them take over.   

So summer's here and now I'm trying to balance a summer schedule along with a baby schedule (who doesn't follow a set schedule). This was not easy for me to do when I started to write my summer schedule down...see the Lord's still working on me. Anyways, just a couple weeks ago I decided to sit down and put one together. I'm sure you get it, summer just calls for a whole different routine. You might have kids home from school, or those summer projects are calling to you, or you just want to take some time to have at your nearby lake, for us it's the pool.  Since planning in the summer can be way harder to stick to, I decided to use a rough one instead without times blocked, and so far it seems to work well. Ok, so I didn't get rid of all time slots, but it's definitely more flexible! :) 


Pre-Morning (5:00ish-6): devotions, me time, laundry 
Morning(6:00ish-8:20): get ready, breakfast, wash breakfast dishes, hang laundry, play outside 
8:30 Walk with a friend
10:00 park/play outside 
11:30 lunch 
12:00 wash lunch dishes 

Afternoon: 
45 min - 1hr. playtime with the girls 
30 min. - 45 min. Cleaning agenda
15 min. - 20 min. reading time 
4:30 Make supper 
5:30 Watch for Daddy/walk to meet Daddy 
5:45 Supper 

Evening: 
wash supper dishes
play time 
bath + teeth + bible story + bed 


And as I said before, I have a nursing/napping baby to throw into the mix as well.  But since she's not too scheduled, I've left her off the schedule.  That's also why I went from times to just amounts of times in the afternoon, then I don't get stressed if it gets to that time and then it doesn't work to do that item.  


I will say that having a schedule can also help you save money.  How? 

1. Save on gas

For example, we visit a few different farmers markets in the nearby towns.  One of those towns I do some grocery shopping as well.  So I make sure to try and schedule both our shopping trip to the grocery stores on the day that the farmer's market is open.  That way I'm making one trip to the town instead of two, saving a little on gas.  

2. Save on supplies

For my cleaning schedule, I know if I missed cleaning the bathroom or kitchen, or windows because I have set days to do those items. This way I'm not over cleaning them and then in return using up my supplies more than need be.  Don't get me wrong, in the summer we go through more cleaning supplies even though we go outside a lot, I feel I clean more too...but I'm not cleaning something that's already cleaned. 

3. Only buying what you need 

This kind of goes hand in hand with saving on supplies.  But this comes to play especially in the summer.  It's so easy to look at that summer to-do list, buy everything you need to get those projects done, but then never make enough time to do those projects.  Then more likely than not you forget about them by next summer and are out the money for them.  

4. Prioritize 

This is also summer related.  When summer comes so do all those fun things to take the kids to.  Zoos, amusement parks, aquatic centers, strawberry/raspberry picking centers, town summer festivities and more.  If you don't plan out what you want to do, you may end up spending more than you planned to. Instead take some time in the beginning of the summer and think about what places you want to go to this year.  Don't worry you still have time to do this!  For example, we had a few family vacation trips that we wanted to take this year and so we opted out of going to a big zoo to save on gas. Want some cost-friendly ideas for summer? Check out a previous post I did 10 things to do this summer 

5. Save on water 

Just like with supplies, I have a laundry schedule.  I wash our sheets once a month (maybe that's more often or less often than you do, but that's what works for me).  This way, I know at the end of the month, I change the sheets and then sometime that month wash the dirty ones. (We have a spare set for each bed so I don't have to wash right away.)  So this way I'm not trying to guess when the last time I washed our sheets was.  But I also take that time to wash our washer.  We have a front loader and so need to empty the water regularly, doing this the same time I change our sheets, helps me to not do it too often, but keep up with it so that we keep our washer nice and in return don't have to replace it soon. 

So, schedules they can be helpful as long as you don't let them rule your life.  Just remember to make them work for you.  And if you are a new mom or dad, remember it's ok to take time to do housework, yes it will always be there, but you can make that time together with your little one was well.  






Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Baby Food: the third time around





We've hit that stage again with Little S, she is now eating baby food!  I feel it makes them so much more happy, because they feel like everyone else sitting in a chair ( well high chair) and eating food (well, what was real food, until mashed).  But really, they just seem to feel like they are apart of the whole experience at the table.

In the weeks leading up to us starting baby food, little S would reach out for anything and everything she could to try and put in her mouth.  And if she was in her saucer instead of on my lap at the table with us, she'd be fussy.  She just wanted to be apart of what we were doing and she was starting to recognize that she was not.  

So we started her on baby food.  Now I will say we haven't done well with making out own this time around.  Our Spring was crazy busy and I feel I'm now slowing down, I know right as we enter SUMMER, but I didn't get around to making my own baby food this time around.  However, I can't say that's a bad thing, because I only knew how to make 3 different types of baby food, peas, carrots and applesauce.  

But recently I was reading this post; on a blog called Think Baby, written by a few moms and they have all kinds of different recipes for baby food!  I love that this one has pumpkin and even avocado!   But before you look at the recipes, check out their post on The Baby Brezza.  To all of you new moms out there if you can you should invest (or add to your registry) this baby food maker.  My other two girls, I made their baby food in a blender which was more time consuming, but this thing...well you'll have to check out the post to see for yourself.

So now I've got some great summer plans, making new types of baby food!  Oh Little miss S is in for a treat!  She's pretty excited herself! 

Do you have any favorite baby recipe blends? I'd love to hear some more ideas! 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Re-use

Reuse those clothes or shoes for your kids.  Sometimes I feel my generation is not doing it's best at recycling.  We give past generations grief about how they didn't treat the earth very well, but think about how much they really did recycle.  They didn't need to recycle in the sense that we do now, because they didn't have anything left to recycle.  Old clothes (that were used as hand me downs until they were almost scrap), then became rags to wash windows or cars.  By the time the rag could be "trashed" it had already been used many times over in multiple different ways.  Milk didn't come in a plastic container at the store, but rather a glass one that was re-used.  These are just a couple of ways people reused instead of just buying something.

I'm slowly trying to get back to the re-use, re-use, re-use, until you have gotten all the use out of said item that you can.

Now I was pretty blessed with my first two girls.  They were born almost exactly 2 years apart, which made it really easy to re-use those clothes and shoes from my first.  Yep, little second child got hand me downs.  Now, of course, she got her own clothes from family for birthdays and Christmas and just because, but we didn't need to buy anything new.  You can save so much money on hand me downs.  Clothes can be expensive, but any re-use you can get out of them the better.  Plus the more you are re-using the less garbage we are making.

Shoes too, why get rid of a perfectly good pair of shoes just because they were already worn by your first kid?  Now, I will say Little A is starting to get rough on her shoes as she has started preschool and is older.  I'll be surprised how many will work for Little Miss J, but if anything they can be a back-up or just for things we don't want to mess up her new shoes at.

Another way you can make kids clothes last longer is alter them yourself.  Like I said in my last post about homemade curtains, you can check that our here, I'm not a great sewer, but any bit you can do is helpful.  Altering their clothes can make a shirt that was too short into something different, just by adding a little more fabric.  Again, this isn't something that I'd say I'm particularly good at, but it's something that I'm trying to better at.  Clothes can be repurposed into different clothes.




Thursday, March 1, 2018

Budget, budget, budget




Budget....budget...budget.  I don't think I can say this one enough.  One of the best ways to save money is to budget.  Set a budget and stick as close to it as you can each month.   But, how do you know what your budget should be?

When we decided I was going to stay home, we wanted to make sure we were going to be able to make it.  Nothing like deciding to stay at home and then after a while realizing you have nothing.  Mainly we needed to see where we spent our money and what if we needed to we could cut out.   I briefly talk about this in my intro to this blog, but I thought I'd go a little deeper and make a post about budgeting.

The budgeting challenge:


1. Write down every expense you make, from cash to credit, bills to groceries:

I mean EVERYTHING.  Spent a $ on a piece of candy, write it down.  Found a sweet flea market buy for 25 cents, WRITE. IT. DOWN.
Find a notebook or some scraps of paper and record for about 2-3 months if possible all the expenses that you make.

  ***The budget planner pictured above is from The Happy Planner, I got this as a present and LOVE it!***



2. Start looking at the needs and wants:

Start going through and highlighting all the wants.  Leave the needs alone, things like house insurance or mortgage, or tithes.  Anything though that's something you can live without doing or having, highlight.  Things like, eating out weekly or bi-weekly, cable, Netflix, Amazon Prime, HULU...these add up; especially if you have more than one!


3. Look at the highlighted areas and see where you can cut, or edit:

For example, we use our cell phones because we don't have a land line, but we looked around to see if we could find a cheaper version that still got us calls and texting.
Also we decided we could cut out Netflix and Amazon prime because we didn't use them that often to make it worth paying for them.  But rather, would just check out movies or TV shows at our local library instead.
There's always something that you can cut if you are really serious about saving money.  Let me say that again, There's ALWAYS something you CAN CUT, if you're REALLY SERIOUS about SAVING MONEY.  Those extras will always be there.  I think that's the important thing to remember, this savings is only for a season. While after you save the money you want or grow out of the season you need to be saving in you can always start to add those extras back in.  Although I'll be honest with you, after you've lived without them for a while you realize you don't miss them that much.  But to make you feel better, just remember it's a season of time.  And the more you are able to cut out, the faster you save and the quicker you can add those things back in if you want.


4.  You need to make sure that you are only spending what you're making:

Realize how much you make in a month and make sure you aren't spending over that.  If you are, you need to make some cuts.  This sounds so basic, but it can be difficult.  That's why it's important to write everything down for a few months so you can see if you are truly living in your means.  We didn't relize when I started staying at home that we weren't living in our means for awhile.  I mean we don't really spend a lot, but those Walmart runs started to add up and writing everything down really helped us see where we were literally just wasting money.


5. Make your budget:

Now that you have 2-3 months of your expenses written down and you've gone through to see if you're spending more that you make or realizing you're not saving as much as you'd like, now's the time to set a budget.  You can go about this different ways.  One way we do it that we found works best for us is to make funds in our savings.  This is just something that we have,  whereas the bank just has the final number.  Say we have 10,000 in our savings, maybe 2,000 of that is for insurance, and 300 is for Christmas, and so forth.  You just need to decide based on what you make in a month, how much you want to put in each fund and how to save that. 

This is just the start to your budget planning, but tracking what you spend and setting places for your money to go is very helpful!  Hope this helps you get started!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Homemade Curtains



Now, I have to start off by saying, I'm not a sewer.  My sister got that talent in the family and she is awesome at it! I however, can do a few home projects.  But, with that there are things that anyone can do even if you aren't an awesome sewer, you just need some basics.

Sewing Machine
Thread
Fabric
Project :)

Something that I can sew and save a little money on, are curtains.  Curtains are pretty forgiveable when it comes to sewing.

I started by making some for our basement.  I wanted to make it a little nicer there, but didn't care too much if they didn't turn out well.  This was the perfect place for me to practice.

So far, I've made curtains for all the windows in our basement.  Plus, I've started making a curtain like door for the pantry.  It's one of the rooms we keep the cat litter in so the curtain will help block the smell.  Each new curtain I make, I improve my sewing skills a little more.

Sewing your own items, whether it be clothes, or curtains any little bit is helpful.

I'll post my simple step process in a few posts, my sewing machine is down for bit, but stay tuned for my how-to.  



Thursday, January 18, 2018

Budget Friendly Holidays

Hey friends! I hope you all had a great Christmas! :) 

If you're like me, now that the holidays are over you're thinking of next year.  Sometimes all those ideas that you see during the holidays can get lost in the shuffle, because well let's face it, you're busy. Now that we are into the new year and are at a lull of the holiday season for a bit, now's the time to be planning on how to save for next year. Especially since you probably just put all your Christmas decorations away and still know what you have! 
Planning ahead is a great way to save money. Holidays can be expensive so I brought Stephanie on board to share some ways to save while still celebrating the spirit of Christmas. 




Decorate Your Home For Holidays In A Budget Friendly Way

We believe that we spoiled you already with generously sharing all the tips and tricks on how to make the best out of holidays while still staying on the budget. Well, guess what? We will continue to do so.

And how can we not want to do this when Christmas is just around the corner. How to make sure that your little ones will experience a true magic of Christmas without having to spend so much money on fancy things?

Since you already made Halloween super interesting without having to delve into your pockets too deep, we strongly believe that you’ll make your own Santa come down the chimney by simply following some of these tips.

Make a Run for the Thrift Shop
Holidays are beautiful but they are around only once a year and it’s good reason for you not to spend too much on brand new decorations for your Christmas tree every time. Instead of exclusive shopping in big malls and shopping centers for decorations, visiting thrift shops and hitting garage sales if any in your vicinity may work well for your budget. Also, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get the products of lesser quality.

With a little bit of imagination and creativity, you can even go for various DIY sets and try making your own decorations instead of buying new ones. Apart from the fact that this will be good for your wallet, it may even bring the family together and supplement to the overall Christmas spirit in the house.

At the end of it all, holidays are about getting together with your family, isn’t it?

Spice Up And/Or Sweeten the Christmas
Once again, Halloween is no longer here so you won’t have to worry about the treats. However, having all kinds of sweets around your house will certainly supplement the festive atmosphere in the house.

Better yet, you should put your culinary skills to the test and try making some homemade delicious Christmas treats. Serve them around the house so every visitor can get a good snack when they decide to visit your lovely home.


Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/cRfWUqkr0-s

Arrange For Your Own Santa
Keeping the Christmas tradition and arranging for a visit from a Santa is almost imperative for every family blessed to have kids around the house. While Santa’s can be quite busy (and costly) during the busiest time of the year, you may want to shop for a Santa outfit and arrange for some of the family’s friends or relatives to fill in Santa’s shoes.

It might sound a bit funny but it can actually work quite well as someone who knows you and your little ones can roleplay much better than someone from the outside. Also, you’ll have all the time you need to work on the Santa’s visit and the entire scenario.

Last but not the least, it will cost less. You may need to return the favor (maybe return the visit dressed up as Santa), but it’s all part of the process. Most important thing is to make holidays unforgettable to your family and to have a good and pleasant time.

Can't wait to hear all about the new Christmas ideas you try! 



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