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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

This Week

*I'm more then 1/2 finished with Christmas shopping. All of it has been done online thus far, which makes everything oh so easy.

*My Christmas shopping is easier this year since we have adapted the 4 gift rule: "Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read". Since the kids really don't need anything to wear this year we are substituting another "something you need" gift. Plus stocking suffers. Loving this simple concept!

*I went from looking a little chubby to completely pregnant in one weeks' time. Uh oh!

*I haven't had much time for reading this past week but am a few chapters into The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble and so far it's okay. Does anyone have as much trouble with keeping characters straight in a book that introduces so many at the beginning and keeps switching back and forth? This book is going to have to get more captivating in order to keep my attention because right now I'm a little lost.

*I dropped off another bag for donation yesterday. But I picked up a few baby outfits at Goodwill and St. Vincent De Paul. I am already starting another donation bag today and the kids are doing a toy purge soon...or I'll be doing one for them!

Have you started/finished your Christmas shopping? What are you getting your kids this year?


Friday, November 23, 2012


I worked last night. For the 8pm sale at our store. And I was able to witness the 10pm sale madness as I tried to leave left the store after my shift.

CRAZY. That is the only way to describe it.

I've been on the shopping end of things on Black Friday before. Only to get the $2 movies that Walmart has had in the past, but still. As a shopper you only witness your little area of the store while purchasing items.

As a worker you see the madness from a different view.
First of all, I'm saddened by the fact that many stores are now opening on Thanksgiving. Every store that is open on Thanksgiving needs employees to work. How selfish is it for a store to pull people away from their families on a special day just to earn some extra money. Profits surely go before people at these businesses.

They are called Black Friday sales for a reason - they used to be held on FRIDAY! Now shopping is invading a day that was meant to express our thankfulness. This is incredibly sad.

Second, I know that it's awesome to get a good deal. I know that some people do Black Friday shopping with family and friends as a fun outing. I get that.

But as a worker I saw people trampling over merchandise. Pulling things from the pallets so quickly that the pallet displays collapsed. Filling their carts with things that could only be described as last minute purchases of junk. Pulling out credit cards to charge all this "stuff", putting them into debt for months or years even. It became, literally, disgusting.

Luckily, no one here got in a fist fight or trampled over people. They seemed to be aware that the people around them were more important than a "good deal" (even the drunk people were more....err...."cozy" than crazy). Yet, people have lost their lives in the past at these shopping events. Being trampled to death in the name of shopping just doesn't seem worth it to me.

I was already feeling odd about Christmas this year. Decided to make it more about "Christ" than presents several months ago. Seeing this madness only reiterated that feeling for me.

While I walked out of the store into a jam packed parking lot, surrounded my people pushing cartloads of stuff, my heart was heavy and I seriously felt like cryingYet I also felt thankful. Thankful that I have enough. 

For the next month my goal is to help others...whether that be charities, people I know in my own life, or complete strangers. That will be my Christmas gift to myself...to see Christ in everyone around me and to ask Christ to help me see a need that someone else may have. One doesn't have to be rich to do that - whether it be bringing a plate of goodies to a lonely neighbor, writing a card to someone who may need a lifting up, donating items to those in need (both humans and animals), there are actual needs around us.

For that lesson, I suppose I was thankful for Black Friday. 


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Winner Is...

More people guessed girl than boy on the poll...
the majority was right! :) Out of the 8 people who wrote "Girl" in the comments, Random.org chose number 4:

Sara November 15, 2012 3:27 AM

Will that Sara please e-mail me at babys_mama1 "at" yahoo . com with your name and address?

The kids were thrilled to learn that they are going to have a little sister...that is what all three were hoping for!

Box to Basket

Since I've been getting a few subscription boxes I wondered what to do with the boxes once they were empty. I was about to throw them in the recycling bin but they are so sturdy that I hung onto them, thinking I would use them to ship something myself.
I've recently been looking at those linen lined baskets sold at stores for some organizing that needs to be done. I love baskets for everything but new they can be expensive and used they are hard to find. Baskets are great for little trinkets, kids underwear and socks; the possibilities are endless.

While organizing the craft section at work last night inspiration struck. Straightening the decorative Duck brand Duct Tape rolls I ran across adorable penguin design. For just $3.37 I had to buy a roll.

I used a Kiwi Crate box (shown above) and cut the top off. I then chose a piece of scrap book paper (I thought the dark blue paper with white dots reminded me of snow) and cut it to fit in the bottom of the box.
I then just covered the outside and inside of the box with the duck tape. It was incredibly easy. It took less than 20 minutes and this was my first box!
I love the look of it and the boys were excited to stick it on top of their dresser for their treasures. Becca is already begging me for one for her desk so I think I may have to pick up the Hello Kitty design for her.

This box took about half the roll of tape, so cost only about $1.65. That is much, much cheaper than what baskets sell for at stores. I'm anxious to start making some for the baby; baskets for socks, diapers, blankets. There are so many designs of Duck Tape to choose from that you can have a wide variety of baskets.

I think that these would also make adorable gift baskets for giving holiday treats or gifts. Or make baby shower baskets, birthday gifts, or just because gift boxes. Even if the recipient just throws the box away after taking their gifts/goodies out it is still cheaper than buying a basket or even a gift bag in some instances!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Menu Help

I've done a poor job with grocery shopping and meal planning recently. It's gotten to the point that hubby and I were running to the store several times a week to pick up meal items here and there. That wasn't working for the budget and we never seemed to have any good food in the house.

In the December issue of All You magazine (found at Walmart), starting on page 48 is a week's worth of healthy meals...breakfast through supper. This is the first time that I've found a week's worth of meals in a magazine that doesn't include weird foods or recipes that my family wouldn't try. Every single meal looks easy and healthy.

The best part is that it took the guess work out for my meal planning this week. I made a shopping list for every single food item and went shopping. Our menu will start tomorrow and last us a week (we will skip a day on Thursday for Thanksgiving). This was an awesome help and I'm just passing it along to all of you in case you are in a cooking rut and need a little jump start to get back on track.

For example of how easy this meal plan is, tomorrow our menu is:

1 hard-boiled egg, 2 slices whole-wheat toast with 1 T. peanut butter, 1/2 grapefruit, 1 cup coffee (for me; milk for the kids)

2 slices whole-wheat bread with tuna salad, baby carrots, yogurt


Whole wheat penne with meat sauce, lettuce salad with tomato and cucumber, milk


While this meal plan is for low fat and counts calories, I adjusted it for us by not buying the low-fat or fat-free items suggested. There are some new recipes included in this menu and it will take the guess work out of this next week for me!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ending Soon

The poll will be ending soon! 18 people have voted but only 8 have left a comment stating which gender they voted for. Please go here to leave your comment; because the poll is anonymous you must also leave a comment in order to be put in the drawing for a fun surprise. It's such a fun surprise that I don't even know what it will be yet! ;)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Citrus Lane

One of the fun things about having a baby so far after my last means that instead of hand-me-downs from my other kids we get to start afresh with baby things.

Having recently gotten on the bandwagon of subscription boxes I was thrilled to come across a code for Citrus Lane, a box I've been wanting to try out! It's a monthly subscription box for infants, babies, and toddlers. They match each monthly themed box to your child's age, so different aged babies/toddlers get different items in their box.

What I love about subscription boxes is that you get to try items that you've never heard about. It's also a total surprise what you are getting each month so it's almost like getting a little present in the mail!
This was my first box from Citrus Lane and the kids and I had a blast going through it...the first things that we've bought for the baby so far!
This month's theme was "Fun With Food". Included in the box was:

*String Bean toy by Under the Nile ($8). Joe has a doll similar to this and it is one of his favorite toys...he sleeps with it and brings it in the car with us so I know the baby will love this, first as a teether and later as a little doll.

*Green Eats set of four snack bowls ($6.99). These are made from recycled milk jugs and are BPA free. I love the green color and I know that these will be favorites of all the kids.

*Goodbyn Snack Container ($5.49). BPA free and perfect for car rides, sticking in a diaper bag, etc.

*Juice Beauty Nutrient Moisturizer ($9) for mama. Can't wait to try this!

*Madecasse Chocolate Squares ($2) for mama. Hiding these for a day when I need them!

About $31.50 worth of items this month. Each Citrus Lane box costs $25 but you can often find good deal codes for them (I bought a Groupon deal for $35 for three months). You may be able to still use the code "takehalf" for 50% off your first box. Otherwise, I know the code SPRINGFUN will take 10% off your order. Some boxes are valued quite higher than this month.

You can also buy a gift subscription for someone...this is a perfect gift for a new mama!!

*This post is not sponsored by Citrus Lane, I just wanted to show off my fun box. Afflilate links are included in this post.*

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Money/Mommy Wars

In my circle of stay-at-home moms I've gotten a bit of startled silence when mentioning that I got a part-time job. I've received a couple comments on my blog, and even an e-mail stating "You've proven yourself wrong - a family apparently can't live comfortably on a limited one income budget."

I think it hits on all sides of the "mommy wars": stay-at-home vs. working, one income vs. two when someone who is a self-proclaimed stay-at-home mom living comfortably on ( a smallish) one income mentions getting a job.

I partly did it for my sanity; when you go weeks without talking to another adult other than your husband or mom you realize that you need a social circle, even if it is just co-workers at a job that you don't particulary like. A change of pace in your day can also help your sanity, especially when your days start to remind you of the movie "Groundhog Day". My hours correspond with my husband's so the children are not in day care or having babysitters (not that there is anything wrong with that, but it's not financially smart to work a minimum wage job just to pay babysitting fees for 3 children).

I can say without a doubt that I am not doing this because we couldn't make ends meet. This is a seasonal job and will end before the baby is born. With medical bills this year and a heafty co-pay for my prenatal care due in a few months the extra money won't hurt, but we could have managed these bills without the extra money. It would mean stretching our pennies a little tighter for awhile but I figured that since this was a perfect time to work for a few months before the baby was born, get myself through winter without being stuck inside 24/7 (does anyone else here have SAD?), and get ahead on bills I decided that a seasonal job was the perfect solution.

It's funny to say that getting a job wasn't really a financial decision, as we were doing okay before.

I spoke with HR and got my hours cut to a reasonable amount and my schedule looks more manageable the next few weeks. Those are the hours I wanted in the first place!   


I added a short little poll on the side bar at right. Do you think I'm having a boy or girl? Add your guess at right on the poll AND write boy or girl here in the comments under this post. Everyone who guesses right will be entered in a drawing to win a fun little surprise in the mail. Poll will close November 20th.

P.S. Anyone who is a friend on my person Facebook page, or relative, is unable to enter as they already know the answer! :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Homemade Toner

For years I've been using Proactiv products to clean my face. Not only were they expensive (less so for me since I bartered a large amount from someone who no longer used it for some children's clothing) but it also stopped working for my skin after a few years.

When I ran out of the Proactiv toner I decided I wanted something more natural and a lot less expensive. I searched around for recipes for making your own and finally found one with products that I already had on hand. I've been using it for a few weeks now and it works just as well as any of the more expensive toners that I've used before.
All you need is a squeeze bottle or other dispenser (I used my old Proactiv bottle)
Witch Hazel
Essential Oil of your choice

Mix about 70% witch hazel to 30% water (you can experiment with what your skin will need...the next batch you may want less or more witch hazel). Add a couple drops of the essential oil. All I had on hand was tea tree oil, which is great for oily and problem skin. The mixture doesn't smell great but you get used to it after a few days and the smell goes away when dry. Study the essential oils to see what is best for your skin type - chamomile would be great for dry or sensitive skin, orange oil for greasy, and so on.

I estimate each bottle worth (which should last me a month or more) to cost about 10 cents.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

This Week

*Remember that part-time job that I told you about? It's turned out to be not so part-time. I've been scheduled for around 35 hours a week recently and not liking it at all. I had a talk with my supervisor because I was told 15-25 hours at the most and so these hours have come as a surprise to me. Working at the biggest retail stores in the country, in the apparel department, means that I am on my feet the whole shift and for a pregnant lady that can get tiring. I'm scheduled for 6 days straight in the coming week. :( This will be seasonal for me so I'm trying to just get through it but this "part-time" job is eating up more of my time than initially thought. I give props to you working mamas...I don't know how you juggle everything!

*When I get home from or late I am physically exhausted but mentally awake so I've been burning the midnight oil and doing some more reading. This week it was Oceans Apart by Karen Kingsbury and Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (which is hilarious, but crude with bad language, so do not pick this up if that's not your cup of tea. Typically it's not mine but it was so funny that it made up for that). Any book recommendations that you have?

*We find out next week if we are having a boy or a girl!

*With the colder, darker days upon us I am itching to get out my sewing machine and crochet hook. I just need to find the time. My crafty to-do list is growing: mending, curtains need to be made for Becca's room, scarfs need to be crocheted, and I really would like to learn to knit. And maybe make some Christmas gifts as well. Do you like receiving homemade items for gifts?

*Did you get out and vote today? Was the wait in line long for you?


Monday, November 5, 2012


I'm so far behind in everything that I've been neglecting you all! I'll be posting within the next 24 hours but wanted to let you all know that I am still here!!!



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