Tuesday, June 27, 2017

How I Meal Plan

Life can be crazy sometimes. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that. Add in kids and/or a job and life gets even crazier. I know it's hard enough to take care of myself and make sure I eat a healthy meal, then add in that I’m making meals for other humans (big and small) and meals can get hectic. 

For years now I’ve been meal planning and it has made a huge difference in daily life. First, I don’t have to worry about what we are having for dinner. And I don’t have to worry about if I have all the ingredients for the planned dinner. Plus, I am saving money because I’m not running to the grocery store (or drive-thru) at the last minute. An added bonus is that if I plan well enough, I don’t buy multiples of items. If I ever get lax on my planning (which does happen, I am human) I always seem to end up buying too many bottles of soy sauce or jars of peanut butter. 

Alright, let’s do this!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

How I Went Cruelty-Free... and it was easier than I expected!

I don't specifically remember what I saw that gave me my "a-ha" moment, but I remember it was a pin on Pinterest. This was about a year ago and after I read the entire article associated with the pin, I was in shock.
I have always been an animal lover, I've always stood up for those who couldn't stand up for themselves and I've always been conscious of my choices and how they impact the world. But for some reason, I never paid attention to whether the products I used were cruelty-free. This Pinterest pin brought me into the light.

Honestly, at first, I was a little pissed at myself. I could've made changes in my purchases YEARS and YEARS ago! But I had to let that go and make better choices moving forward.
Cruelty-free means that cosmetics and other household products were designed and manufactured without harming animals. I'm not here to convince you to go cruelty-free. I do believe that is a personal decision (much like veganism), but if you are interested in more info about what companies often do to animals, you can Google it.

If you have made the decision to go cruelty-free, like myself, but aren't sure where to start then I am going to tell you what I did after my "a-ha" moment.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Easy Crochet Review: Awesome Washcloth pattern by Mama in a Stitch

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It does not change your cost but helps support the work on this site.

I'm crafty by nature. And I always say that I was crafty before crafty was cool. TRUTH
And even though I have a crazy-eyed toddler running around, I still love to DIY and craft new things. Really, I have to craft every once in a while or else I start losing my mind.
But, like I said, I have a toddler and it's hard to work on some items:

  • beaded necklaces (are you crazy?! Do you want beads everywhere?!)
  • sewing (well, if you don't mind a toddler on your lap the entire time or trying to keep tiny hands from sharp things)
  • mod-podge (are you crazy?! Do you want mod-podge on everything?!
  • crochet (but so many stitches, so many rows)

But I've been desperate lately. So I searched and searched Pinterest for an easy crochet pattern... something I could finish in a weekend (because of my short attention span, not my toddler's) and something that wasn't too complicated in case I get interrupted in the middle of a stitch.
I found a couple that looked worthy. I started one and I couldn't finish. It wasn't too difficult, but I knew I couldn't put it down (to wipe sticky hands) and easily pick it back up right where I left off. So I pulled that one apart after a few rows.
I then started the Farm House Washcloth crochet pattern by Mama in a Stitch. And it was SO easy. I was able to complete it over the weekend, putting it down at least a few dozen times to chase my kiddo or eat a meal. When I picked it back up I was easily able to start again.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Trolls Themed Birthday Party

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A few days back, my little boy turned two and we threw him a Trolls themed birthday party. The party itself was small... we only invited two other little boys to join. But it was perfect for my kiddo.
To say he loves Trolls is an understatement. I'm embarrassed at the number of times he has watched it (and at the number of times I've used the movie to get some peace or to finish the dishes). That, however, is not the point. The point is that he is obsessed with the movie, the songs, the characters... everything! So picking the Trolls theme was easy.

I really focused on decorations because the party itself was just his two friends coming over, them eating pizza, watching the movie and playing with toys (and later cake). I didn't worry about activities or games because they are so young.
And I tried to DIY it to save money. Some things I had so overall I spent less than $50 on everything for the party minus the pizza we ordered.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Saturday Fun: Hiking with My Toddler

When we woke up this morning, we could tell immediately that the weather was going to be great. My hubby is busy with work stuff, so my little guy and I decided to go to one of the local nature centers. My kiddo calls it "see animals" because, besides the hiking trails, they also have a building with critters inside. We didn't get a chance to see the critters today because I decided it was best to take advantage of the great weather we were having (lately it's been all rain).

One of the things I really love about this nature center is the fact that they have tons of things for toddlers to do. Yes, they have the critters inside (rabbits, snakes, turtles, birds) but they also have a playroom and a small children's hiking trail. We stopped to see the outdoor enclosures with the owl, hawk, and crow but then we walked the trail a few times. We enjoyed the few hours we were there and he is already asking to go "see animals" again.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Color-Surprise Birthday Cake

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My two-year-old loves Trolls, so for his birthday, we did a Trolls theme (click here to read about the Trolls themed party). To go along with the theme, I decided to make a colorful birthday cake. After a late-night or two (hey, I do my best thinking at night when I should be sleeping), I decided to make the inside super colorful, but leave the outside white so that he would be surprised by all the colors when we cut into the cake. The plan worked because he loved it. He even talked about how he was going to “eat orange now” or “purple now.” I love a mom-win!

Want to make a Color-Surprise Birthday Cake too? Here’s how I did it:

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Company is coming: Speed-Cleaning Tips

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Generally, my house is decent. In my world, decent means that there are only a meal’s worth of dishes in the sink, a few handfuls of toys around the living room, a small pile of papers on the table, and dog hair (damn that dog hair). 
I have my usual cleaning tasks to help me stay on top of the muck that can build up in a well-loved home full of people and dogs. But even I dread the extra cleaning needed because company is coming over. I don’t know why, but it can cause me to panic and start doing a million unnecessary things. Next thing I know, I’ve cleaned out all the closets, repainted the foyer, bought new throw pillows, and I’ve worn myself out to the point of not enjoying myself when they are here.