Awesome side effect of weight loss

October 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

A couple of months ago, I was thinking bat getting my wedding ring resized. It was too tight and I couldn’t take it off. Now, it slips off fairly easily. Woot, woot! Celebrate the small victories, right? Not only am I losing weight, but I saved the money of having my ring resized.

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Dollar store organization

September 17, 2012 at 5:48 pm (Uncategorized) ()

After cleaning out my cupboards of all the junk that’s accumulated over the last 4 years, and stocking up on stuff from the grocery store’s bulk section, my cupboards looked as messy as they did before. I entertained the idea of pretty glass containers for everything. Then I remembered my budget and the fact that glass breaks. Scratch that. I’m to cheap frugal for that. Dollar store time!

I found packages of 3 3 cup containers and packages of 4 1.5 cup bowls. Score. I also got a cute little set of mini rectangular pail things. The containers are perfect for all the goodies I buy in bulk now like almond meal, bran, beans, lentils, etc. The little pails are great for storing the bags of things I buy in tiny amounts or don’t use much.

Please excuse the ipadography, but here’s some photographic evidence of the organization.

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I highly recommend checking out your nearest dollar store for your next organizing project. I was really pleasantly surprised at all the containers, boxes and thingsmabobs I found there. The quality was better than I expected too.

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Times they are changin’

September 12, 2012 at 1:44 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Hubs and I are both fat. There. I said it. We need to lose some serious weight. Between the two of us, there’s easily 80 to shed. Hubs now has high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a fatty liver and high liver enzymes. We have to get this on track. It’s not just about losing weight at this point, it’s about getting healthier.

Today, I cleaned out the fridge and cupboards. The remains of old chip bags are gone. There’s no half eaten ice cream tubs. It was also a great excuse to organize the cupboards while I was in there. I’m not calling it a diet; its a whole new lifestyle. We’re not subscribing to fad diet, we’re not counting calories, we’re making better choices. I organized a menu plan for the next two weeks and went shopping. Tonight was dinner #1 of our new menu.

Tonight was a peanut noodle dish with tofu. I didn’t measure much, but here’s the run down.

-Noodles (I used Korean starch noodles called vermicelli. Rice noodles would probably be ever better). Cook and set aside.
-Veggies (we had broccoli, carrots and bell pepper)
-Sesame oil
-Vegetable stock
-Coconut milk
-Peanut butter (fresh ground)
-Seasonings/spices (red peeper flakes, cumin, etc)
-Corn starch
-Tofu, diced

Sauté the veggies in a bit of sesame oil. Add about half a cup of veggie stock, a couple of tablespoons each peanut butter and coconut milk, and your spices. Bring it to a simmer. Mix a little starch with cold water and stir into the sauce. Bring back to s simmer. Fold in tofu and noodles. If you want, garnish with green onion and sesame seeds.

The results? Success! Even Hubs who doesn’t like peanut sauces. Both kids finished theirs too.

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Box pleat skirt tutorial

August 25, 2012 at 4:28 am (Uncategorized)

This morning I was inspired by my hoards of scrap fabric to make something new. I made a totally adorable little box pleat skirt. It was so simple, I’m sure anyone can do it. Bear with me, I’m not a photographer by any means and I’m a home taught seamstress, so I’m no expert, but with basic sewing skills, you can do it.

First, we need to draft your pattern. Start by taking measurements around your kiddos waist and hips. We’re going to refer to these measurements from here on out as W and H. I would add an inch to each of these for comfort, but it’s up to you. Now, starting at the waist, measure down to the level where you measured the hips (I call this WTH as in waist to hips), and measure the total length you want the skirt to be (this will be L).

How many pleats do you want? It’s totally up to you. If you’re making more of a cheer skirt, you’ll want more pleats. I did 6 since this was a fairly small skirt. 8 is pretty good for older kids.

Now, let’s get into that pattern. Starting with the pleated area, which we’ll call the panels and inserts. Take your hip measurement and divide it by the number of pleats you want. For the panels, just add seam allowance; for the inserts, times that number by two then add seam allowances. These will be the widths of those pieces. The lengths of them will be L minus HTW plus one seam allowance and the hem. Cut as many panels and inserts as you planned for to these measurements.

For the upper part of the skirt we’re going to get into some old school geometry. Remember all that circumference stuff? We’re actually going to use it. We need to create a piece that’s going to look like 1/4 of a donut. The first formula will be (W+SAs)*2/3.14. Did you get all that? Take your waist measurement and add seam allowances, multiply that by two, then divide by 3.14. This will be the radius of the curve we’re going to make. Now you need your WTH measurement plus one seam allowance. Cut a square of fabric that measures radius plus WTH on all sides. This is what you’ll cut your 1/4 of a donut from. If you want to use interfacing for this part, cut a piece to the same measurements.

You’ll also need a strip of fabric to finish the top edge. I did 3 inches wide by my waist measurement. For a larger size, I’d probably make that 4 inches wide. You could use bias tape too if you’d prefer.

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Let’s get sewing!

Start by alternately sewing together the panels and inserts side by side into a long strip. Once all pieces are sewn together, connect them into a circle. Press and hem one edge. This part is a little tough to explain, so bear with me and see the attached pictures. To start the pleating, bring the edges of two panels together, folding the insert underneath. Press and pin to keep everything in place. If you want the pleats to be more permanent, you can stitch along these folds. Continue pressing all the way around. Then set this section aside for a moment.

Grab that long strip. Press it in half the long way, then open that up and flip the edges in. Press again. Stitch this to the shorter radius of that 1/4 donut piece. Fold that donut piece in half, right sides together and baste along the short edge. This is where your zipper will end up. Now it’s time to pin the pleated circle to the piece you just basted and sew them together. Take your time. If they aren’t lining up perfectly, ease them together as you go.

Now, all you need to do is put in your zipper in that section you basted. For this step, I’ll leave you to YouTube. I’m definitely not a zipper pro and don’t have any pics of the zipper installation.

That’s is, you’re done. Congrats!

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Make your own rice milk!

October 3, 2011 at 4:42 pm (Uncategorized)

The other day, I was talking to my friend E.  I admire the way she feeds her family; organic, natural, wholesome foods all the way.  The problem is, I’m just too cheap to make that switch.  But, I’ve always got my eyes peeled for small changes we can make and I found one.  E told me about homemade rice milk.  I assumed it was difficult, time consuming, or otherwise excusable.  It’s not.  Rice milk is ultra easy to make and fabulous!

This recipe is very forgiving and I honestly didn’t measure anything, but you’ll get the idea.

Rice Milk

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 4 cups water
  • Vanilla extract
  • Sugar
  • Extra water for thinning

Simmer water and rice for a few hours until the rice is mushy.  Give it an occasional stir.  If the water level gets low, just toss in a little more.  Again, this is not specific, so just roll with it.  Blend the cooked rice and water quickly.  I did this in two batches running the blender for about 10 seconds each time.  Strain.  A nut bag would probably work best or a couple of layers of cheesecloth.  Go figure, I didn’t have either on hand, so I just used a fine metal strainer; it worked ok and honestly, I’ll probably just do it again this way next time.

At this point, the rice milk will be very thick and pretty bland, but totally usable.  Right now, you could use it in place of cream in a lot of recipes, but I prefer to add vanilla, sugar and some more water.  It makes the milk more like the stuff you buy in the store in quarts.  After thinning, I ended up with 8 cups of rice milk and added about a tablespoon of vanilla and 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Thin the rice milk as little or as much as you want; there’s no wrong answer here.

Store it in the fridge and use it up in about a week.

OK, now go try it!  For the cost of a cup of rice, what have you got to lose!?

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The battle for Mommyland

June 20, 2011 at 10:50 pm (Uncategorized)

I’ve heard for years of the mama-drama some women endure.  I mostly just ignored it.  I figured I’m pretty low drama, so I won’t attract drama, right?  Nope.

When Junior was about a year old, I joined a local moms’ group.  I needed to connect with other moms.  Junior needed to play with other kids.  I met a few really nice women, but didn’t have time to keep up with the group.  A year later, I rejoined and met even more lovely ladies.  Once in a while, I’d hear mention of drama between group members and I’d try to say something along the lines of “So-and-so has always been nice to me and I have no reason to get in the middle.” and just drop it.  A few ladies I thought highly of left the group.  I was sad to see them go, but found a place for myself.

As the group started having less playdates, I looked up another local group and realized that it was made up mostly of people I missed from the first group.  So I did something almost unheard of in Mommyland, I joined a second group.  I had friends on both sides, but no beef with anyone so I figured it was the best of both worlds.  Twice as many playdates to choose from, twice as many girls-nights-out.  Perfect.

I was warned that some members of group #1 may not be happy if they saw I joined group #2.  I mentally prepared myself for that.  Months went by and nothing.  I thought my drama-free stance had worked.  Wrong again.  I just realized this morning that one of the leaders of group #1 blocked me completely on Facebook.  She didn’t just unfriend me, according to Facebook, she doesn’t exist to me.  I know it seems silly to be upset about this, and it’s not the loss of one person that has me perturbed, it’s the whole concept of these Mommy Wars.  As moms we spend so much of our time defending our choices, our parenting, our kids, our friends.  I’ve never had so much a cross words with this woman.  I considered her a friend.  She watched Junior for a few hours for me once.  Now that she knows I’m friends with moms she doesn’t like, I’m not allowed to know she exists.  Now I’m just waiting to be told that I’m not welcome in group #1.  I have a feeling that’s what’s coming next and I’ve met a lot of women I would really miss in that group.  All because I was looking for more playdates.  Shame on me I guess.

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Shoot… now I’m that mom

June 19, 2011 at 2:18 am (Uncategorized)

Hubs and Junior love to wrestle and play fight.  Until recently it’s all been in good fun.  But now, my sweet, mild mannered, loving Junior is the group hitter.  Yesterday at a playdate he ran up and hit a little boy out of nowhere.  I knew exactly where he got it from.  That’s the game he and Hubs play; when one of them isn’t looking, the other play hits him.  Kinda cute when it’s father and son.  Toddler on toddler isn’t so cute.  I made him go apologize and explained that it’s a game that he only plays with Daddy.

Today, we were at a going away party and I hear a kid in the playroom scream.  I knew it wasn’t Junior’s cry, but given what happened yesterday, I went running.  The crier was pointing at Junior and I knew what was up.  When he realized he was busted, he started to cry and wouldn’t answer me.  Turns out, the other boy was playing with a ball.  Junior wanted it, so he hit him.

This isn’t my sweet little boy.  I sort of blew of yesterday’s incident as a game played at the wrong time, but hitting out of aggression is a whole different story.  Not that either situation is ok, but at least what happened yesterday wasn’t meanness intended to hurt someone.  Of course, I made him apologize and removed him from the situation.  After we left, we had a talk.  He even said, “hitting people is not a great choice to make friends.”  I know he gets it, but what’s the deal?  Now he’s that mean kid and I’m that mom.  Crap.  I guess it’s time for some real parenting.

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Gone but never forgotten

June 9, 2011 at 6:47 am (Uncategorized)

Today, my aunt has been on my heart and my mind.  It’s been almost exactly 7 years since she passed away.  Her daughter, my cousin, has been one of my closest friends since we were babies.  I remember how much I loved sleeping over at their house.  Of course, playing with my cousin was the main draw, but my aunt always made it so much fun.  I still remember one of my cousin’s birthday parties.  She must have been turning 10 or so.  My aunt must have bought every junk food under the sun, cases of gourmet soda and tons of ice cream.  She knew just how to spoil us.  Of course, my uncle’s amazing breakfasts were always a treat too.

By the time we were both in high school, my cousin and I grew apart a little.  We had our own friends, our own hobbies.  We didn’t see each other much and I didn’t see much of my aunt.  After high school, my cousin and I moved into a house together maybe a mile from her parents’ house.  I got a chance to be reminded how loving my aunt was, how giving she could be.  Once a week, she’d stop by our house and drop something off, most of the time it was food.  We’d sit and chat for hours.

I truly cherish that time my cousin and I lived together.  Not just for reconnecting with my cousin, but my aunt too.  Less than a year after moving in with my cousin, my aunt suffered a heart attack and passed away a week later.  I’m sad that Hubs didn’t get to know her.  I’m sad that my boys never got to meet her.

But there is one little thing they will know.  As a kid, every time I stayed the night, she’d follow the usual “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” with “and if they do, grab a shoe, and beat them ’til they’re black and blue!”  Every night, Junior and I repeat that and I can’t wait to teach him about his great aunt.  She may not be here anymore, but she won’t be forgotten.

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Father’s day gift from the kids

June 8, 2011 at 4:31 pm (Uncategorized)

On a budget?  Don’t know what the kids should give their dad for Father’s Day?  I’ve got an idea for you!  Let the kids paint him a Tie T-shirt.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A solid color t-shirt
  • Freezer paper (you can find this at the grocery store)
  • Acrylic craft paint
  • Fabric medium (this will be at a craft store near the craft paints)
  • Paint brush(es) – I like the cheap foam ones

1. Pre-wash the shirt with no fabric softener.

2. Tear off 2 squares of freezer paper.  On one of them, draw out the shape of a tie on the non-shiny and remove it from the paper.  You’ll use this as a stencil.

3.  Lay out the shirt, front side up.  Slide the freezer paper between the layers of the shirt, shiny side up.  Place the stencil on top of the shirt, shiny side down.  With an iron set on medium heat, iron down the stencil.  It will take 10-15 seconds in each area to stick well.

4.  Mix the acrylic with the fabric medium per instructions on the medium’s bottle.

5.  Start painting!  Let your little one paint the exposed tie-shaped area within the stencil, making sure to get all around the edges.  If you kid is too young to paint, paint the area yourself, then make a hand or foot print on the tie.

6.  Allow the paint to dry and peel away the freezer paper to see your creation.  In 24 hours, iron the painted area to set it.  Now it can be washed and dries just like normal.

You could even consider making a coordinating set for all the boys in your home.

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Stay posted!

March 10, 2011 at 3:19 am (Uncategorized)

I’m in the process of talking to some cloth diaper companies.  I’m hoping to get to do some reviews.  My primary goal is to show the more economical side of cloth diapering.  I know a lot of people, myself included, are a little put off by the high prices of some of the big diaper brands, but have no fear, there are cheaper options!

So, ladies and gents, keep your eyes peeled!

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