Progress

One of the projects I’ve been wanting to do once nesting hit was organizing the house. The past couple of weeks I’ve been trying slowly do this and I feel like we’re finally making progress (thank you 3 day weekend!). Saturday Ryan and I went through everything that had accumulated on the bookcase. I so wish I had taken a before picture because I’m very happy with the end result! We also went through all the extras that had collected in the downstairs and while there’s still some things that need put away, the downstairs is looking much better.

Something that’s helped with the home organization is my Hang-Up Home Organizer from Thirty-One. I just finally got around to using it and I’m not sure why I didn’t get around to this before. It’s so handy as a command center, especially set up in the kitchen.

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The dry erase board that I added has: To Do (errands, phone calls, etc.), We Need (things we need to buy) and Appointments (so Ryan knows when my doctor appointments are when to leave the Mazda for me). To the right of the dry erase board is my cleaning list which has morning/evenings and daily cleaning. Since the list is behind plastic I use the dry erase marker to mark off the things I’ve done. Since I’m just trying to get into this cleaning routine I don’t always get the daily items done in the same order, and sometimes I do more than the list says to do for that day so it makes it easy to keep track. Directly below the cleaning list is a list of the bigger things that need done according to the room. These are additional to the daily cleaning that I’m still trying to figure out if I should do them all weekly or just do one room per week. Again, this sheet is in plastic so I can use the dry erase marker to cross off the items I’ve done. The sticky note in the area is our possible menu, I did wonderful meal planning for this week so this list is just the meals I’ve came up with so I don’t assign a day to each meal. To the left of that is 2 little pockets, one just holds the sticky notes and the other holds coupons I don’t need to carry with me. On the bottom I’ve only needed 2 of the bigger pockets. One is for bills that need to be paid and the other is for outgoing mail that needs dropped off at the mailbox or post office. Eventually I may make some adjustments to our command center and cleaning lists but for now, I’m thankful to have both to help keep me on track.

Speaking of cleaning, this past week or so I’ve only used vinegar for cleaning and I love it. I really feel like it does as good of a job as any other cleaner but I’m not nearly as worried about smelling it. I also got my tea tree oil essential oil in the mail and am just waiting for the grapefruit to make a different cleaning solution to try out and I can’t wait! When we cleaned off the book shelf Ryan was ready to go get the Pledge and I had read that olive oil also worked but Ryan wasn’t convinced so we ended up just using a damp paper towel to dust. We’ll get there 🙂

To try to be more frugal I’ve been looking for to buy some things used and also been looking out for coupons. This is easier said than done. For example, a sewing machine. I’m not looking for a an antique and it seems like that’s 85% of the choices I’m seeing. Also, I can buy a brand new one that has lots of extras (such as a quilting table) and 30 or more different stitches already programmed for $130-$160. Some of the prices I’m seeing for used ones are $300+, why wouldn’t I just buy new? As for other things I’m looking for, people just aren’t selling right now but luckily they’re baby items and I have time.

Speaking of baby, things are definitely happening there! We ordered and received the pack n play and that is a relief as it’s one big thing to check off my list of things we need. Also, baby boy is moving like crazy! I can’t believe how much his movements are changing too, even within the last couple of weeks. Ryan will frequently tell me that he felt little one moving/kicking in the middle of the night when I’m asleep and in my mind I imagine it’s this sweet moment between the two of them but I’m sure that it’s not really like that but still thankful Ryan gets to feel him too! We’re also only a week away from the third trimester, I can’t believe it!

So that’s my little catch up after being MIA this weekend and I’m happy that it was for progress 🙂

 

 

Living Naturally and Frugally? The Beginning.

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Frugal

As a stay at home wife, I spend too much time thinking about money. This ranges from budgeting and saving to making and spending money.

February 1st Ryan was promoted at work, also getting a raise and at the end of February we leased a new vehicle. We had planned on getting a new one and getting the one we ended up with but we had not planned on walking away that day with it. Even though we had an idea of how much he would be making, we hadn’t even really been over finances to even know how much he was making with his raise when we went vehicle shopping. At least we went in already having an idea of how much we wanted our vehicle payments to be. So after walking away a down deposit lighter but with an additional car, that weekend we sat down and figured out a new budget based on his new income. I strongly urge everyone to do this before making any purchases over the amount you regularly spend at one time (for example any purchase that is more than your highest monthly bill not including rent/mortgage) or anything you may have a payment on. Luckily we were going to have more income than we had expected coming in so we were a lot better off than we thought, a huge weight off of both of our shoulders, especially with a baby on the way. The only problem? Now we know that we have more money so we’ve been spending more (this is coming to an end very very soon!).

Just because we have the money to spend does not mean that we need to spend it! We have some unavoidable expenses coming up with having a baby on the way and some other things but our savings account should be going up every month. So how can I contribute? This kind of goes with my last post . I will say that I’m not a huge fan of couponing but with this baby coming I’m becoming more and more interested in natural living and luckily it is often cheaper!

Living Naturally

I recently joined a group on Facebook for “crunchy” mamas with the intentions of learning more. Little did I know I already had some crunchy intentions for when the baby came. I plan on exclusively breastfeeding, baby wearing, baby lead solids and while I don’t currently plan on cloth diapering because I won’t have a washer and dryer available daily when I move back home I’m not completely against it and am still considering it. Joining this group made me think, what else can I do?

Natural cleaning supplies are a big one for me right now. I don’t want to be breathing in harmful chemicals to clean while I’m pregnant. I don’t even like doing it while I’m not pregnant, I don’t want to subject my baby to that too. I found a homemade shower cleaner on Pinterest that was so simple-just 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 Dawn dish soap in one of those dish scrubbers that hold the liquid. I figured I could handle using this cleaner while I’m in the shower before I get out. I was right and our shower has never looked better! So I started looking for more recipes for natural cleaners and other household/beauty/baby supplies.

While I’m still finding recipes that I like based on ingredients and ease of making them, I have purchased some base ingredients. Borax, washing soda and bulk baking soda are cheap (yay for combining natural and frugal!) and easy to find at any grocery store. I also bought the bar castile soap to use just as a personal/beauty product as is because I was able to find it easily in the store as well. When I say cheap, I mean all of these products were under $4 and the most I’ve seen recipes call for is 1 cup at a time and it’s usually less so just imagine how much I can make with these items for such a small amount! Other natural clean staples I had to purchase online since I didn’t feel like driving around from store to store to find. I ordered Dr. Bronners (most recommended by bloggers) liquid castile soap from Amazon and I chose the unscented baby mild formula since we do have a baby on the way. I will say that it was actually $2 cheaper through the actual Dr. Bronners website but there is a $20 minimum and this product wasn’t $20 and since it’s my first time using any of it I wasn’t ready to commit to a bigger bottle than the 32 oz or other products. If I like it though I’ll be ordering it directly through the Dr. Bronners website after this purchase.  Essential oils I purchased through Bulk Apothecary after seeing it on a blog and they turned out to be cheaper for a bigger size there than on Amazon. I just went with Tea Tree Oil and Grapefruit for right now but I know I’ll be adding more! Other things I need to purchase for sure: coconut oil, more vinegar (white and apple cider vinegar), distilled water and spray bottles. Items I’ll probably end up buying: witch hazel, beeswax, hydrogen peroxide, Shea butter, lemon juice and almond oil. This all sounds like a lot and it is but I won’t be buying more than one or two things at a time or as needed so I’m not overspending 🙂

I know there’s so much more I can to live more naturally and I will be but I’m making small steps. I can’t wait to try and share the recipes I’ve found with you! In the meantime, you can find me on Pinterest and see what I’m looking at there 🙂 

 

What are some ways you live frugally and/or naturally? I’d love to hear!

What will I do? (post baby)

Lately I’ve found myself thinking about doing things that will essentially keep me busy after the baby comes. 

-My first thought was becoming a consultant for another company. This may still be a possibility. I want something that will help me save money and hopefully make me a little money at the same time. There’s a few possible options for this: 

  • My sister is an Avon consultant so of course she suggested Avon. I do semi-regularly order from her (it would save me money). It’s a cheap start up cost ($10). I also love that you can order samples to give out/try on your own.
  • I love Scentsy. I’m frequently ordering from a consultant back home, I’ve purchased 3 warmers myself and my sister also gave me a warmer for Christmas. I know people from back home would order from me since there’s not many consultants plus people I’ve become close to. And this would also save me money.
  • After this baby comes I’m really looking into getting into shape. I’m going to be moving back home temporarily and my sister suggested Curves. I checked it out online and there’s a couple things I love about it: the circuit workout-total body workout that burns 500 calories each time and they’ll help you meal plan. I also want to get back into running but when I move back home it’ll be around September and I’ll only have a limited amount of time before it gets cold and starts snowing. I could get a membership to the Y but if I enjoy Curves doing both would obviously double the gym cost per month. I also have the Turbo Fire workout DVDs. This brings me (the long way) to another option: being a Beachbody Coach. As a military spouse I can sign up free and get discounts on the workouts and other products, yay! Plus Ryan wants to get in shape/lose weight while he’s deployed and may be willing to try some Beachbody options, it would benefit us both.
  • I could also do something else completely different and maybe even something new.

-Ryan and I have talked before about going back to school. If you go too long between jobs and you’re not doing something to benefit your career it doesn’t look that great, even if it means you’re being a stay at home mom. I never completed my associates degree and when I moved to Kansas I was able to quit my job and not get another one. Ryan recently got promoted and we’re even more fortunate that I can afford to stay at home especially with a baby on the way (I can’t imagine and definitely feel for the mom’s who have to return to work and put their babies in daycare). I was never sure what I’d go back for but when I talked to Ryan about it the other night I think we have it figured out. The plan right now is that I’ll go back and finish my associates with a degree in something like office administration or book keeping (I’ve been looking at work at home options and book keeping is one of the top options and I would love to be able to do this eventually, best of both worlds!) . After I finish that I’ll go back for an associates for paralegal. I’ve always considered paralegal as an option and getting both associates will give me options. In the next couple of weeks I plan on going to the education center on post and talking to someone to get advice, see if this is a good plan and making an action plan.

-After spending too much time on Pinterest, I decided there’s a LOT of reasons I should learn how to sew. There’s so much I could make: crib bedding, burp cloths, bibs, a portable changing pad, a playmat, a cover for my Kindle Fire, etc, etc. I’d also need to buy a sewing machine but I feel it’s a good investment and Ryan thinks it wouldn’t take up too much space. Plus..if I got really good at making a certain item or items I could sell them and make some money.

So what will I do? I’m leaning most towards all of them. I definitely should go back to school. In order for us to pay out of pocket for it all I’ll probably only take 2 classes per semester and I can do them online or find a babysitter (specifically my family while I’m back home that we’d still pay) for a couple days a week. I can also take on another direct sales company (Beachbody coach? and Avon? I’m still not decided). And learning to sew is something we would definitely benefit from, we could save money from it, I can do it in my free time and maybe eventually make money from it. 

I realize that I may be feeling a little overly ambitious right now. I do wonder how much energy and time will I really have after the baby is here. And as I stated above, we are really fortunate that Ryan makes enough that I can stay at home and we don’t really have to cut back that much and we can still save each month. Luckily I also have time to decide and iron things out while I prepare for everything to change.

Oh the joys of pregnancy..

My husband will disagree with me but there’s a lot about pregnancy that no on ever told me and a lot of things I didn’t/wouldn’t expect. Here’s my list so far:

-Morning sickness is horrible and lasts FOREVER. Literally, it feels like forever and that you will never feel normal again.

  • It starts with food aversions-you won’t want to eat anything at all even though you know you can’t live on nothing.
  • Then it moves to full fledged vomiting. This doesn’t happen for everyone and you will hate everyone you know that didn’t get sick during their pregnancy. It’s normal-you’re miserable and it’s not fair. You may get sick in the morning, afternoon, evening or all of the above. For me, it was mostly at night but did occasionally happen first thing in the morning.
  • Morning sickness for me started at about 6 weeks and continued through to 15 weeks. During this time I tried every trick you could think of. I also tried taking Zofran which didn’t help, B6 which made me even sicker, Tums that didn’t help and Zantac which also didn’t help. One thing I did learn at the end was my body can’t handle the prescription prenatals and they contributed to my morning sickness at least at the end. I now take OTC ones that my stomach can handle.

-Gaining weight while you’re pregnant is EXTREMELY easy! And heaven forbid you should crave sweets-while you’re pregnant your body metabolizes sugar differently than it normally would so that donut/cookie/cupcake/etc that you want? Straight to your hips. You can try to stay away from those sweets but let me just say, easier said than done. As much as I hate to admit it, I’ll be incredibly lucky if I stay in between the recommended weight gain.

-While you know you’re going to gain weight and think you’ll embrace it, you may not. A lot of women are really self conscious about their weight gain. I think it’s pretty normal. Think about your pre-pregnant self and imagine gaining 25-35 lbs. Yeah, I’d rather not too. The last time I was at the doctor’s office the nurse said “well anything you gain now you’ll have to work to lose later.” Girl, you got that right. I CAN’T WAIT to start working out and getting back into shape after this baby comes.

I’m already planning how I’ll lose the weight and get back into shape. I plan on trying out Curves with my sister. In theory I really like their system-they help meal plan and it’s a circuit work out so every time you go in you workout your whole body and it’s supposed to burn about 500 calories each time. Do this 3 or 4 times a week and it should help I hope. I also have the Turbo Fire DVDs that I really do like for a good workout and I’m also going to be exploring other BeachBody workout options to supplement Curves. I’m serious about getting my body back plus maybe losing the “Kansas 15” I put on after I moved out here.

-Round Ligament Pain. Before I got pregnant and joined an online forum I had never heard of such a thing. No one that I know who has been pregnant has ever mentioned this. Luckily I’m not plagued frequently by this but when it hits it sucks! Usually it hits when I’m grocery shopping or haven’t drank enough water. But almost every time it makes this first time mama to be worry.

-No one ever told me how easily exercising, every day activities, household chores, etc will effect your body. If I do too much around the house I’m sitting for the rest of the night because my back can’t take it. Ryan and I went on a 2 mile walk Sunday with Harley (yay for exercising!) and when I was making dinner when we got back I just wanted to cry from the back pain. I don’t even have back problems normally but doing anything will make those muscles tighten right up. Your hips will also hurt when you do any of these things. A prenatal massage before this is over would be AMAZING.

And let’s not forget you’ll be out of breath so fast it’s embarrassing. Your body is pumping lots of extra blood, you’re carrying more weight than normal. Nothing is the same as it used to be.

-This one may just be me but it is normal for first time moms (to be) to have anxiety. Is the amount I’m feeling normal? Who knows. I’m anxious about everything.

  • The unknown of labor and delivery scares the bejesus out of me. I know and I have read that the female body is made for exactly this but..I’m still not looking forward to it at all. I think the best thing I can do is keep reading, taking in information and continue telling myself that it is a natural process and I need to trust my instincts, body and baby to do the right thing when the time comes.
  • I’m so anxious because we don’t have anything for the baby yet. Okay, I was reminded last night that’s not true. My sister just had her son last year so she’s giving us the bouncy seat and swing that my nephew doesn’t like plus the high chair when we need it and we’re buying her single jogging stroller since they had to get a sit and stand after having their second child. Things we’ve purchased for the baby: a box of wipes, a diaper bag and a 2 hat/2 mittens set. We’ve been given an adorable wipes case from my friend and a giraffe soothing sounds (secret sender from the forum I’m a member of). We only have the stuff we’ve purchased, the wipes case and giraffe soothing sounds at our house, that’s it. We need more for the baby for sure. And then Ryan will start saying things like “babe, we have 3 months left.” 3 Months??!! Do you know how fast time is flying? 3 months is nothing! But luckily we’re going to start buying stuff this month and have a baby shower in early May.
  • Speaking of not being ready…I feel like me and Ryan are not ready to bring home a newborn. How is it they allow you to take home a human being so small? Over Christmas my mother in law jokingly asked if we knew how we would discipline. What are the different parenting styles? How do we chose? Do we sleep train? My list for the unknown could seriously go on and on and on. Lots of reading in my future!

-Nesting is a real thing and it hits earlier than expected. There are a million things on my to-do list and I’m motivated-I really want to do these things…I just need to get the energy first. I do one thing and all I want to do is nap, it’s hard to just keep moving. It’s something I’m working on this week. But really, you should see my growing to do list.

-Things I’ve heard about but haven’t experienced yet:

  • Your nipples may leak. Apparently it’s common enough that people who it doesn’t happen to worry they won’t be able to successfully breastfeed. From what I’ve read and heard leaking while you’re pregnant is no indication of whether or not you’ll be able to successfully breastfeed so no worries. I’m hoping I can get through this pregnancy without any leaking happening or at least till my last month especially because I’ll have to deal with it enough postpartum.
  • You may have problems controlling your bladder. For instance-you could pee when you sneeze, laugh too much or cough. Why do we need to worry about leaking all sorts of bodily fluids while we’re pregnant? Oh and this may continue even after you have the baby. I really need to start doing my kegels, carrying a change of clothes in case I pee is not glamorous.

-And the good stuff:

  • No one ever told me how amazing it is to feel him kicking and moving in there. It is the most reassuring thing ever. I can’t even put it into words.
  • Hearing the heartbeat is pretty amazing too.
  • So is seeing the baby. And seeing your husband’s reaction to finding out the gender? Adorable/amazing. And since that ultrasound (anatomy scan), Ryan has been more participatory in the pregnancy and he’s also talked about the baby a lot more than before. ❤
  • You created and are nurturing a life. That’s right, you. And there’s a life inside you, growing by the day.
  • And when that baby comes, you’ll forget all the bad/less glamorous parts (so I hear, we’ll see 🙂 )

An introduction-this is my happily ever after

My name is Tammy and I have a wonderfully amazing husband and we’re expecting our first child this June. Ryan and I got married October 2011. April of 2012 I moved from Pennsylvania to Kansas to be with him.

Ryan’s in the Army active duty and I could not be prouder of what he has accomplished, what he does and who he is. I claim to be a stay at home wife and I am for the most part but I am a Thirty-One Independent Consultant which I do part time for a little extra cash and for the products. 

We have a cat and a dog. Our cat’s name is Glock and he’s a very odd, sometimes frustrating 6-ish year old. Harley, our pup, just turned a year old in December and while she’s not perfect we wouldn’t trade her for anything.

Did you see the part where we’re expecting? I still can’t believe it! The end of June/early July is when this little boy should make his entrance into this crazy world. I’m just a couple days shy of 24 weeks (yay viability!) and things are getting real! I love that I’m feeling him daily now with more distinctive patterns. I’m also feeling more anxious that ready or not (and we’re not ready) this baby is coming in about 16 weeks, give or take a week or two.

So in a nutshell..that’s me..well us, and I can’t wait to start chronicling this never ending journey!