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Saturday, March 15, 2014

spring cleaning, decluttering and pre-baby projects

Hey Y'all!

Today is a revelation day for me.  The CVMA meeting has passed, (our monthly meeting) so I'm done making some get-back whips for motorcycles and doo rags (or durag, depending on which part of the country you live in.) for now.  I'm making more in about 2 weeks, but as for right now, I'm in pre-baby mode.

Nesting is taking an interesting turn.  I want to grab a snow shovel (hard to find in Alabama...) and start scooping up all the clothes and toys and crap that has accumulated everywhere and start dumping it into a trash dumpster.  Seriously- I'm tired of everything everywhere and it's rather hard when the kids outnumber you and you are 9 months pregnant and can't bend down like you used to.  Heck, rolling over causes me to groan and moan, imagine getting on my knees to do the little tasks I need to do to pick up whatever has fallen on the floor.

I feel the need to declutter.  Get rid of crap.  All of it- if it doesn't have a home, I haven't used it in a year (not holiday or baby stuff) or kids have outgrown or it's broken, beat up or damaged in any way, or even if I just don't LOVE it anymore, it's got to go.

So, for the next week (body allowing) I'm going through my school room, living room, dining room, kitchen, laundry/play room and bedrooms to prepare for the coming bambino.  Since I am having an out-of-the-norm birth, I need to have many, many things prepared.  This includes medical supplies if needed.

I guess you could call this spring cleaning a pre-baby project, but in addition to the cleaning, I also have about 100 diapers to still make (still have Abi and Elli in diapers, and Nate is only in them at night.), about 20 pairs of nursing pads and mama cloths (because I'm allergic to the paper ones sold in stores).

Oh, and another pre-baby project I'm doing:  Getting my dining room (at least!) decorated in the country decor that I want.  I have the stuff, I'm just needing my big, strong, strapping husband to get it up on the walls! I love that man- he puts up with so much from me.

I don't know if this is pre-baby or post- baby, but I have about 20 dresses I have to sew for my twins, about 10 skirts to so for Zoe, and some shorts for the boys for summer.

Looking forward to it, and of course, I'll keep you posted.

Friday, March 14, 2014

I bought another printer yesterday.. a lesson in impulse buying.

No, the impulse buy wasn't the printer.  I needed one because my old HP crapped itself.  To the point it wouldn't print a test page- with new cartridges.

SO, this time I decided to get a cheap version.  the printer I have now, does everything but faxes (don't need it to- no house line!) and I only want it for printing coupons and patterns for my girls' dresses (Shout out to Dawn at!  <3 her="" p="">
Anyway, I was on the phone with the guy from tech support (somewhere in India- I could barely understand him.  His supervisor- I could understand just fine.) and he offered me an extended warranty for 24.99.  While this seemed like a "good" buy, for 3 extra years, think about this- the printer is "supposed" to last at least 6 years by itself.  So if nothing happened, it would be a complete waste of money to insure my el cheapo printer, in essence paying $75 instead of $50.

Another reason I declined it was because he was only allowing me 2 minutes to make the decision.  I found out a long time ago to avoid impulse buying.  If I had to make a split-second decision to spend more money, the answer would always be no.  So, I declined his offer.  The funniest thing about this was he didn't understand what I meant.  I said "no, I'm not going to get it."  He didn't understand.  I think he was only used to hearing the positive.

Anyway, impulse buying- that will blow your money fast, so whether you're standing in line at target, the grocery store, or even on the phone with a tech support guy from India, my suggestion is unless they give you a really GREAT deal (1/2 the printer cost is not a great deal to me.) don't impulse buy.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Starting another series... eventually.

Home improvement and decorating.

Our house was built anywhere from 1912- 1940 depending on who you ask and what paperwork you look at.  Trust me, the wiring states the same thing.  Le sigh.

I'm going to be doing some renovations soon (with the baby coming, I don't really know HOW soon) and I will also be decorating.  Hopefully, I'll be able to show off my photography skills (yay, education finally coming in handy, huh?) and I'll get some stuff put on my walls.

I've turned my dining room into a craft room and desperately need to get it back to a dining room and have all of my craft stuff migrate back to the craft room again.  Right now I'm working primarily on sewing for the baby and the twins coming up.

So, to stay on focus (not an easy task for me lately!) I'm going to cut this blog short and just say that I'm going to start adding home improvements and my version of farmhouse decorating soon. :)

Be blessed!

Monday, February 24, 2014


Ok, for those of you who have been following my laundry doings, you know that I bought a washboard from

Yeah, first if you're going to do this, check the dimensions.  Washboards come in "regular" and "mini".  Apparently I bought the mini.  Yeah, this isn't big enough to do the cloth diapers, so I now have a great little rustic decoration to hang on my farmhouse wall.  No biggie, but it was disappointing at first.

So, I went to an antique mall "near" me (it's about 30 miles or so away) and was SO EXCITED to find a glass washboard.  I was so glad to have found this.  No really!  It's larger than my mini and is glass.  What's the difference?  Glass doesn't rust.  Word.

Ok, so I fired up my double sink full of hot (and boiling) water.  Meanwhile I was running a small load of diapers in the washer.  I took them out when they were done and threw them in the sink with the washboard, 1 tablespoon of my Laundry Soap found here (which I used in the HE washing machine, btw.)  (one exception to the laundry detergent, I make my own soap, and I'm going to update that on the blog soon) in the water and let the diapers sit for a few minutes.

After that, I started scrubbing the diapers on the washboard.  HOLY CRUDDY WATER, Batman!!!  ok, EW!  First, I thought a high efficiency washer was... well... efficient.  Apparently, not so much.

Anyway, I washed them on the washboard with a little extra fels naptha soap (I'm not a fan of the scent.  I'm going to make some extra batches of soap to cure for laundry soon.  I'll blog about that too!) but bot howdy did it do the job!  prefolds that I swore were permanently grey were white again!  WHAT????  YES!

So, after I washed them, I hand wrung them out and put them in the hot rinse water and let them soak until I was done all the rest of the diapers.  So after sitting, I agitated them with a plunger agitator that my hubster made me a few years ago

Friday, February 21, 2014

Routines... What does yours look like?

I have been thinking about establishing a weekly routine.  A long time ago, women would do certain chores on certain days.  I'm thinking about establishing that in my house.  For example, I've called it Blue Monday for a while because that's when I do my laundry- about 15 loads of it.

Laundry will be going a little (lot!) faster for me soon because my wonderfully amazing husband just bought me a washboard.

no, I'm not nuts, but I get that question a lot.

I asked for a washboard to assist me in my washing, not to exclusively DO my washing.  I have a machine for that, but this I wanted more for scrubbing out stains (I hear it's amazing) and for doing diapers.  I'm excited to try it out.

But anyway, back to the routine- Since I feel the need for established routines in my life with 6 children (I'm just going to go ahead and count the pre-born baby now.  It's easier than adding the addendum in there.) whom I home school, breastfeed, having 3 in diapers, etc.  I need to get routines done.

SO this is what I'm thinking:

Monday- laundry.  Wash, dry, fold and put away.
Tuesday- Kitchen and bathrooms
Wednesday- Dining room and living room  (Another load of diapers)
Thursday- kids rooms and play room
Friday- School room and craft room  (Another load of diapers)
Saturday- Family day- off.
Sunday- Family day- off.

What do you think?  What do your days look like?  Do you have a routine for your home?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Here's a math equation for those of you inclined enough to actually understand math... (I envy you in that department.  I'm good at basic math though.)

{(spring cleaning x nesting) / (short attention span + aching body)} x rambunctious homeschooled kids divided by even less time = how much sanity I have left in the day... by 9 AM.  I guess you could factor that as "X"...

I am going insane as the nesting instinct is hitting me full-swing, hard and my house has had 5 tornadoes go through it, from ages (almost) 2 to 9.  Oh, and my husband brought home a new puppy.  Of course I can't say no because it helps him with his stress, but he's not here letting the puppy out.

Anyway, nesting- The baby is "due" (Man, I hate that word!  It's not a library book!) in about 9 weeks and I have so much to do.  On the list of baby and baby related products to sew, I have:
cloth diapers (50+)
nursing pads (50+)
mama pads (100+)
a blanket or two,
3 sleep sacks.

the list of products I have to BUY are:
more diaper covers,
a pack and play,
a vehicle to fit our family of 8!  (we're actually looking at a 15 passenger van!)
and cleaning products.

So I'm going absolutely insane with wanting my house to be clean, but not having the time, energy or help to do it.  This is one of those dillemas as a mom.   Particularly, a homeschooling one.  I am with my kids almost 24/7.  I have a hard time ...ahem.... motivating them to clean.

See?  Even those of us with crazy senses of humor have stress and drama.

80 lbs of ground beef... and italian meatball recipe.

I was talking with a friend of mine the other day and the subject of buying 1/2 a cow for stocking up came into conversation.  Of course, she and I are frugalistas so we were all excited at the prospect of it.

I was doing my grocery shopping and my husband and I decided that with some of our tax money, we would stock up on some meats to put into our deep freezer.  Boy howdy, did I stock up!

I bought a case of ground beef from Sams Club.  My intention was to divvy it up and freeze it for meals, as well as pre-make some meals and other useful things.

So my idea was this:
20 lbs:  into 1 lb sectioned bags.
20 lbs sectioned into 2 lb bags.
10 lbs of meatballs
10 lbs of meatloaf
10 lbs of taco meat
10 lbs of random ground beef for incidentals like sloppy joe or to throw into pasta sauce.

Well, when we first brought it home, it was easy and we sectioned it out- I tetris'd the freezer so everything fit- WITH extra room as well as all the other meat we brought home.  (I'll post on that in a few minutes!)  And even frozen vegetables.  The next day I delved into the refrigerator and was able to make some 5 lbs of meatballs.  I'm doing the other 1/2 today, as well as making and freezing the meatloaves.  The only problem I'm having now is finding the room!  Seriously both the deep freezer and the smaller fridge/freezer are packed full.  It's going to get creative here soon!

Anyway, what did I pay for all that ground beef you ask?  in total it was 233.33 not including tax.  Yes, I probably could have found it cheaper doing sales, but I really didn't feel like waiting until meat went on sale considering I had the money now for it.  So, my family will eat well for a while -guaranteed- and this will help me once the baby comes, having pre-made freezer meals, something that can easily be popped out of the freezer and thrown into a crock pot so I don't really have to "make" anything.   :)

So, with all of that said, Smart:  planning ahead always is!  Savvy:  for the most part- buying in bulk is usually cheaper than sales, so yeah, that's pretty savvy!

I have been cooking so long that I have no idea what measurements I used for the meatballs but they came out amazing!  here's what I did:
Italian meatball recipe:
5 lbs ground beef
garlic powder (about a 1/4 cup)
onion powder (about 1/8 of a cup)
salt and pepper to taste
4 eggs
breadcrumbs to suck the extra moisture out.

mix everything until completely and thoroughly combined- do NOT skimp this part!  no really.

deep fry on a lower heat.  You want it completely cooked through but not super crusty on the edges.  Let drain on paper towels and once cool, toss into a bag and pop into the freezer!  pull out what you need when you need it.  Btw, these make some GREAT meatball stroganoff.... just putting that out there.  (yes, that recipe will come eventually!)

Reusable Swiffer Pads

Hey Y'all!

I recently re-purchased a swiffer.  I'm not a fan of buying all the chemical laden products that come wiht it, and buying the pads constantly.  I have 5 kids... imagine the messes that come with 5 little ones who spill, smoosh, squish, and oh yeah- can leak a diaper....

Anyhoo, I did something that I'm rather proud of.  Of course, Pinterest to the rescue with how to make reusable swiffer pads.  After reading and of course modification, I made my own version:

I used microfiber cloths (bought some in bulk from Sams Club to use specifically for cleaning, but made these pads out of them!).  That's it.  No velcro.  Since the underside of the Swiffer is hook velcro, it easily attaches to the microfiber without any assistance.  These pads are technically reversible, they can last even longer than the type that you do sew the velcro to!


So dimensions:
11"  x 4 1/2"   -two put together.

Stitch around the edges with a zig-zag stitch.  TADA!  you're done.  How easy was that?  I have made 4 pads so far- mainly because my hands hurt so badly right now that I can barely move them to type this.  No really, I was taking a hatchet and helping my husband cut up trees that were cut down on our property this weekend, so I'm aching.

Oh, if you want to see what it would look like if you used terry cloth (btw, recycle some old towels!  Don't go out and buy new just for wiping up your floors with!) I used this tutorial here to get the dimensions.  She seems to know what she's doing because it it totally worked!

I will be making some out of terry cloth too as the microfiber tends to be a little hard to push on the ground.  May be because I'm sore but we'll see!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Obsess much?

I've recently gotten back into couponing.  No, I'm not all "extreme couponer" weirdness, but I like a good deal when I see it.  No, I REALLY like a good deal- like I stalk my mail guy (Rick's awesome, btw.) on Monday and Tuesday to wait for the ads that come out on Tuesday in our little small town.  No, I really don't but could you imagine how extreme that could be?  Sitting there in full camo with paint on my face and pregnant belly just waiting to leap out of the bushes like a jungle cat at some poor guy just waiting for his pension to kick in all because he has a grocery store ad?

But seriously, back to the coupon thing- I spent the better part of yesterday printing, cutting, sorting and arranging coupons.  Please, save me the Sweet Brown "Ain't nobody got time fo dat" speech.  I got myself a shoebox from the dollar tree (addicted to that store- but with a purpose!) and I made 40 envelopes out of scrapbooking paper.  Since I have massive hoards of that sitting around, I count what I did was "free" minus the $1.10 I paid for the box.  Wait, .10?  Yeah.  taxes.  Have to count those suckers in.

AAAANYwho, last Tuesday or so I went through all of my local grocery lists, and decided what I was going to get within our budget.  I have a set budget for both the 1st and the 15th.  Since I spent a few hours yesterday getting the coupons ready and today I'll be getting about 6 news papers (no, I'm not kidding!) to also cut the coupons out- and I'll be putting the newspaper to good use too, I have to start my seedlings- I'll be filing them before I do my grocery shopping today.

Oh, did I mention that I was woken up this morning around 2:30  with my re-found passion and asked my husband if we had a large cooler within access?  Yeah, I did.  I'm a little obsessed preoccupied with saving some money.

What coupons did you clip this week?  Oh, and don't freak out at the time I spent.  It's worth it to me to save my large family lots of money to get the things we want or may need in the future.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sinus infection gone in 5 days!! Russian Tea!!

Hello Divas!

I'm usually the one who carries a sinus infection for about 3 weeks.  Yes, I'm taking vitamins for my pregnancy but I've had sinus infections that linger even with those.  How did I do it?

Well, I've been drinking my version of "Russian Tea".  (Please know that the FDA hasn't said jack about this product -or concoction!- healing, yada yada yada.  no actual healing statements are being made.  If worse comes to worse, enjoy the tea, it's yummy!)

2 c. tang.
1 c. pre-sweetened lemonade.
1 c. lemon flavored pre-sweetened tea.  (I used Walmart's brand Great Value for both the lemonade and the tea)
2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Fair warning, this is some SWEET tea!  but you only use 3 teaspoons in a mug of boiling water.  You can obviously adjust the taste.

But I think it was the overload of the vitamin c and the cinnamon that truly knocked it out of me.  You can ask my friends who came over (and my hubby who gave it to me!) I was in bad shape.  Not a fun way to be while 7 months pregnant.  But, seriously- 5 days ago my face was going to explode just below my right eye, and now- all is well!  I am attributing it to this because like I said before, the prenatals didn't usually help, but this?  HELLO!

Oh, and this tea cost me about $5 to make.  A trip to the doctor for some antibiotics that wouldn't have worked anyway- way more than $5!  Pretty savvy in my book.  (Again, I'm not giving you medical advice, do what you want to your own body at your own risk.)


Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year, New Beginnings.

Hello Y'all!  2014 is here- can you believe it?  I know, I say that every year.

What are your "resolutions"?  What do you resolve to do?  This isn't something I take lightly, though many people tend to say "what's the point?  I'll fail anyway."

When you resolve to do something, it's something you commit to in your spirit, mind, and body.  Like your marriage- you resolve to make it work, or raising your children- you resolve to give them the best care possible.

This year, I am wholeheartedly committed to my home and my family.  I have several things that I have cut out that are time wasters.

School- This seems like a "big" thing to cut, and something that many people would look down on for cutting, but my school was a very high-demand school that I couldn't devote the proper time to and continue to be a good wife and mother.  Why would I waste my time and money when I'm going to only devote a small portion of what should be a large portion of my focus?  Not to mention, I feel guilty every time I take the focus away from my husband, children and house (in that order).  Not to mention being pregnant with baby #6, I need some more time for myself to rest.  I didn't quite get that

Facebook- So many things can become addictive.  While I wasn't addicted, I did spend hours on this time-waster a day.  That's time that was graciously given to me that I will never get back.  Today is day 6 in not touching it.  I have no "withdraws", no need to get on it and check what other people are saying, and truthfully with some of the friends I had on there, I saw nothing but negativity each day.  Toward the end, it reminded me of the parable that Jesus told about the foxes and the vines; how little foxes would come in and steal the good fruit off the vine, and eventually there was no good fruit left.  If the Bible says "you will know them by their fruit", what does it say when you have no fruit left???  Bye bye, Facebook!

Lack of schedule- this is a HUGE one for me.  I tend to leave things until the last minute.  I so DESPERATELY want to be a better organizer of both my time and my home.  Well, since my strength is working off of a list because I can see and remember what I need to do better, I can make a master list and work off of it.  Flylady is good for that with her control binder; and my adaptation of that for me.  I now have everything in my daily planner and if it's not in there, it doesn't get done.

SAYING NO!-  this is a HUGE one for me.  I want to do everything for everyone and I burn out easily.  My friends see it.  My family sees it.  The problem is I'm just beginning to see it, when I should have seen it years ago.  I don't want to let anyone down, and always feel a responsibility to others, so I say yes.  "yes, I can make 14 dozen cupcakes... by tomorrow."  "yes, I can sew costumes for the church play.... in a week."  "sure, you need a scout fundraiser planned... and it has to be done and implemented in a month?  ok."  Heather- STOP!  There are other people who can pick up the slack and do what is needed.  WHAT is your priority?

Finally: Procrastinating. Putting things off.  What is easier, quick wash and rinse of that plate and fork or letting all the dishes pile up until you have nothing to make dinner on?  no brainer.  The things we put off until tomorrow that can be done while we have the energy and time today- should be something that we focus on and take care of.

So, what am I doing for myself?
  • I am setting routines in place; this includes taking care of myself!  I have resolved to have a relaxing hot bath at night daily- at least until the baby arrives.  I'll modify it afterward if I need to.
  • I am utilizing my planner and daily tasks list.
  • I am focusing on what is truly important- my husband, my children and my house.  These three things will fluctuate in their specific needs and quantity of time, but they are always my primary focus.
  • I am loving myself by saying "no" on occasion.  It's okay to do it, and I won't let anyone make me feel guilty for it.
  • I'm changing my eating and exercising lifestyle.  I'm not "dieting" at all anymore.  I am going back to raw vegan.  I miss it, I felt so. much. better on it, and I'm adding DDP Yoga (after the baby is born for that one).
What do you RESOLVE to do this year?  What have you decided to commit yourself to?