Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Tree for the Fridge

I simply love the idea of having children involved in family happenings, and at Christmas, the tree is a big "happening".  Sadly, little ones aren't usually allowed to be extremely involved in that.  I have said too many times this month, "You can look with your eyes, but don't touch with your hands."  I think having a tree for children is a great idea, but while they aren't old enough to put real ornaments on, it should be tailored to their littleness.  You may remember last year when I made A Tiny Tree for Tiny Hands.  I was surprised when I saw this at Target the other day.
Guess they thought it was a good idea, too.

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Mother's Lot

My Sweet Son,
I know that Papa will always spoil you better.  Daddy will always be more fun.  Nana will always feed you yummier foods.  Weezy will always read the best. Grandpa has all the kitties, Papi has the big tractors, and Abuelita sings to you in words you've never heard. 

I know that one day you will ask me not to hug you in front of your friends.  I know that sometimes, you will ask me not to come to your games.  And one day, you will likely utter the words, "My mom is so dumb".

But that's OK.  Because I also know that when you are hurt, you ask for my kisses.  When you are lonely, you ask me to pay attention to you.  When you are tired, you ask me to snuggle.  When you are sad, or wake up in the morning, or want food, or to be tickled, you ask for me.  And while sometimes you might push me away, and refuse my kisses, I know that you love me.  And more importantly, I know that you know that I love you.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Being Me
Logging on, I look for the little red numbers at the top, telling me that someone paid some attention to my life.  It's the same way I used to sit, listening to the familiar screech of the internet connection, waiting to hear the words, "You've Got Mail!"  I go to my blog to see if anyone commented on (or even read) my post.   I scan through my feed until something catches my eye.  Wow...why doesn't he say nice things like that about my family?  Why didn't I get invited on that trip?  How come I don't understand this inside joke?

I am insecure.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

How to Save Money On Your Baby

Upon learning that one of my dear friends was pregnant, I lamented that I had no special skills (like my doula friend) or large gifts (like all the furniture and clothes we were handed down) to offer.  So, instead, she asked me to tell her the ways I've found to save money on a baby.  Thought I'd share them with you, too.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Clouds Still Scroll

Mornings are hard....full of lunch making, bag packing, breakfast making, diaper changing, sock finding, car loading, and somehow I have to get myself ready, too.  My arms are always full, the carseat is always difficult, and I fight away the sleep still trying to overpower by body.  My mind is on two things-Get to Nana' on time for work.

Monday, November 11, 2013


What is it that makes firsts so special?  As a working Mom, I try to convince myself they aren't.  It eases the pain if I miss one.  
Our little man had his first haircut the other day.  And while the end result is super cute (I mean...look at that kid), the haircut itself really wasn't that big of a deal.  Brandon tried to tell me this.  I told him he had to be present for the event, even though he didn't really find it as crucial as I did.  "What makes this any more important that the first time he does anything else?"  To which I replied, "EVERY first is important."  And while this is it really? 

I think being around for the journey is more important to a child, and isn't the end result is what really matters?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Through the Fog 

Recently, I've had a heavy heart.  Life simply isn't going according to plan.  And to be honest, it feels like it typically doesn't.  I feel totally enveloped and it's very difficult to see beyond the fog surrounding me.

I know that somehow, at some point, I will get there...wherever there is.  But, the timing just feels wrong.  Everything seems upside down, and I see no way to turn it right side up, again.  But, I try to remember that I don't have to have it all figured out, right now.  Or ever, for that matter.  Everything does not have to be perfect.  And by living this all-too-true imperfection, I teach my son about life.  I teach him that things are not just handed to us.  I teach him that everything doesn't come easily.  Some things take work, and that's not a reason to give up.

Monday, November 4, 2013

It's Really Hard

It's really hard when you talk to him sweetly, and he pushes you away (I mean literally, pushes you away).
It's really hard when you give him love and hugs and tell him goodbye, because it is a big ordeal to you, and he simply waves and says "bye bye" without a second thought.
It's really hard when you haven't seen him all day, and pick him up to give him a big hug, and he wiggles unhappily and says "down".
Sometimes, it's really hard being a mom.

Note: While the above photo doesn't depict one of the moments described above, I think it does depict a more "real" moment in motherhood.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Reusable Treat Container

We get lots of fun treats at work to celebrate different holidays.  It's usually some sort of box or bowl or cup filled with candy and other small goodies.  This is really fun and festive.  But, once I finish all the goodies inside, I can never figure out what to do with the container.  The new minimalist in me, thought long and hard about this.  I don't have a use for this plastic cup.  I don't want to throw it away.  This doesn't look like a recyclable plastic.  I guess I will bring it home for Baby to put things in (which I did).  I wish there was a way that I didn't have a new goody container to find a use for each time.  Wouldn't it be cool if we had something that just got reused each time?  I COULD MAKE SOMETHING!  HOW FUN!  I COULD MAKE THEM PERSONALIZED AND REALLY CUTE!  

So, I did.  Our goodie planner suggested terra cotta pots.  I looked online and found a few ideas I liked.  I knew I wanted everyone's names on them and I wanted chalkboard paint, so that they could be customized for each occasion.  I also wanted to make sure that the girls had something really cute, and the guys had something less girly.  Here's what I came up with.

Monday, October 28, 2013

My Melting Heart

I walked into the house after a disappointing day.  He came around the corner with a huge smile on his face and melted my heart.

I put my things away, gave him some cuddles, and he informed me he wanted to eat.  He happily munched on his apple slices and devoured his waffle.  He tried some new things and fed me cheese.  He had a difficult time understanding that we didn't have any more pouches and he had to eat what was on his plate.  He pitched a little fit, but still, he melted my heart.

We went outside to play on the slide while we waited for Daddy to get ready.  He pushed the doorbell on his little house and said, "knock knock" and waited for me to respond with "ding dong".  He climbed up the steps and slid down the slide on his belly, then ran around to do it again.  I sat on the sidewalk and watched his sweet self, climbing and sliding and pushing his doorbell.  He melted my heart.

After going to the store to get diapers and pouches and bananas (three things very important to my 1 year old),  I followed him into his room to help him put away his diapers.  He laid on his bed, patted it, and said, "Mama!"  I laid down next to him and he grinned a happy grin, and he melted my heart.

I took off his shirt, because it was soaked with water.  He rubbed his skin because it felt so good to be a little freer.  He walked into the living room to get Daddy and round him up as if thinking, We should all be together.  Please Daddy, come in here with us.  He ran back into his room to find me.  Daddy sat in the chair, but he patted the mattress and said, "Dada!".  "I'm too big, Bubbuh, you come sit with me."  So he sat in his Daddy's lap, shirtless, and listened to him read about a zebra with rainbow stripes.  They melted my heart.

He found his measuring cups in his basket and ran to the stove to cook something for us.  He returned to give us each a bite.  He found his water bottle full of beads and laughed hysterically while Daddy shook it all around his body and through his legs.  He tried to do it himself, and he melted my heart.

These are the moments that melt my heart.
The moments that happen every day,
under my nose,
and I often fail to notice.

Imagine the joy my heart would find, if I would simply stop more often and take it in.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Toddlers...and Talking..and God

Toddlers are great.  Like, totally my favorite.  Part of me wishes that Baby Boy would not grow beyond now and would stay a toddler forever.  Then, as I have more kids, they would all grow to toddlerhood and stop, as well.  Eventually, I would have a house full of bubbly, independent, exploring, toddling kiddos.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

September Sweetheart

I'm back.  Did you notice anything new?  I've got a few changes going on around here.

This blog has moved.  I started this blog as a place to write about my crafts.  But, as I wrote and shared, I realized that there were other things close to my heart.  Other things I enjoy sharing.  And so, I outgrew Nicole's Craftastic Life, and my online journey has a new home.

You can still find me on blogger, if you follow me there, or if you type in the old address, and you will be getting the same content as everybody else.  But, my blog is now a website!  You can find me at

So, welcome to September Sweetheart!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Break Time

Have you noticed I've been pretty absent, lately?  In efforts of my sanity, I'm currently minimizing my obligations.  I have a lot, right now and am trying to scale it to a manageable level.
Currently I am working, in school, being a Mommy, being a wife, trying to sell our house, and trying to get a little sleep in there, too.
So, in the spirit of less, I will not be posting here, much for now.  Hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Minimalism: May Wrap Up and June Goals

May Goals

Focus Area: Money

We pretty much put an end to all spending that isn't a bill or living expense.  I re-established our "allowances" for those extra expenditures.  I actually upped the amount a little bit, because I think this will help us actually stick to the allowance.  I check the bank account regularly and have been doing some "research" on ways to save money.

Habit Former:  Rethink money and necessities.

It's amazing how much my spending has changed, lately.  This is in part, from realizing how little we can afford to spend on unnecessary things, and from hating the accumulation of stuff.  The only "thing" I bought for myself in May was a mug, and I use it about every other day.  Actually...I also bought a pair of cheap flip flops om the way to school after discovering I had an unmentionable pet present on the bottom of my sneakers. 

June Goals

Friday, May 24, 2013

Discouragement in the Journey Toward Minimalism

I'm getting very discouraged in my journey toward minimalism.  I purge a room and get it all cleaned up and no more than 2 weeks later, it looks horrible again.  I decide I am not buying anything else and then I make an impulse buy on something totally unnecessary.  I prepare for a big yard sale and it storms, so I only sell 1/12 of what I hoped.  It seems hopeless.

But then I look at my living room and realize how much quicker we can straighten up, now.  I look in my basement and see the empty space left by my yard sale failure-turned Goodwill donation.  I find myself looking at things at the store and telling myself, "I don't need that."  I realize, it's working.

It's just taking longer than I wished it would.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Simple Girl's Guide to Budgeting

I like detail.  I like the nitty gritty.  I like down to the minute planning.  But sometimes, I tend to over think it.  I've racked my brain trying to figure out a budget that would work for us.  I tried the Dave Ramsey style of budgeting every penny.  I've tried setting aside money each month for long term needs (car repairs, taxes, vacation).  I crunched the numbers and I crunched them again.  I just couldn't get things to add up.  My head would spin trying to figure out how I was ever going to keep track of all of these running numbers without 45 envelopes of cash floating around my home.
Somehow, I just couldn't grasp the intricacies of this type of budgeting.  So...I decided to make it simple, and this is what I came up with.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Minimalism: Some of My Money Lessons, So Far.

I'm still feeling sort of lost when it comes to my budgeting task, this month.  Have you ever felt like you have cut everything you could possibly cut and still aren't where you want to be?  While I know I have stuff I CAN cut, I don't think it is the best plan to do so in certain cases.

But, I have learned a few things, already.  Well, to be honest, I started this last month, so technically, I learned it before my May goal began, but who cares?

Look at your expenses.  I mean really really look at them.  Brandon and I sat down and wrote out how much we spend, in a year, on lots of different things.  I was shocked at how much I spent on certain things and how little I spent on others.  It is impossible to know where to save, if you don't know, for sure, where you are overspending.

Think about what you buy.  I am a REALLY bad impulse buyer.  REALLY REALLY bad.  When you want to buy something....think about it.  Many times you do not need or even really want the item.  This will save you money and reduce your clutter.  In order to keep my impulse buys at bay, I unsubscribed from notifications on great deals.  For example, Zulily and Pick Your Plum might have great stuff, but I don't need it.  If I don't know there is a great deal out there for something, I won't know what a great deal I'm missing out on.  Problem solved (somewhat).

Keep tuned for the other lessons I learn this month.

P.S.  I have some crafts that I really want to share.  I've just been too busy to edit the photos and write the posts for you.  Hopefully I can get them to you soon!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day

I hope everyone had a good Mother's Day, yesterday.  I sure did.  My boys let me enjoy a day doing what I wanted.  I watched Netflix, we went to the local farmer's market (one of my favorite things to do, and almost torture for poor Brandon, but he took me because he loves me), and toured our local St. Jude Dream Home.  I got lots of hugs from my little man.  Now that's a good day.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Healthy Home: Financial Health

This month's Healthy Home post was written by Nick and Michaela Peterson from Livin' Lightly.  It goes right along with my May goal of minimizing financial stress.  I am really impressed with Nick and Michaela's courage to take big steps in order to reach their goals.  I hope you benefit from their advice on financial health.    Here's what they have to say!

7 Steps to Livin’ Lightly with your Finances

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Minimalism: April Wrap Up and May Goals

April Goals

Focus Area 1:  Clothes and Project 333

I did end up getting rid of some clothes (see my post on Impromptu Clothes Purge), but most of my clothing focus has been with Project 333.  I taylored it a little, to meet my personal clothing goals (retrain my thinking about clothes), but I am really loving it so far.  I found it hard to pare down to 33 things, but once I got started, I actually had items I wasn't using, so I swapped them out with things I realized I was missing.  This is proof that it is working.  We (or is it just me?) tend to think that we need things we don't, or we like things that we actually don't even wear.  Discovering these truths will really help me minimize my wardrobe.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Impromptu Clothes Purge

I sort of had a default breakdown turned closet purge, the other night.  I came home from school to find that tons of my laundry (which was in my basement being successfully ignored) had been washed for me.

Of course, that is a really kind thing for someone to do.  But, instead of being thankful, I found myself in my room, overwhelmed.  I told Brandon, "Now I have to find somewhere to put all of these clothes."  His response? We have to many clothes (duh). 
He reminded me that these clothes had been in our room before, piled on the floor, but had been moved to the laundry area when he cleaned our room a while back.  "I know, but I didn't have to think about it, when it was downstairs.  Now I have to deal with it."  To which he suggested, "Why don't I go get a trash bag and we'll throw it all away?"

OK.  So I pulled out clothes I didn't need or care about and put them in the bag to donate (not throw away).  I got really crazy and filled a garbage bag with shoes, too.  Good riddance to it all! 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Minimalism: March Wrap Up and April Goals

I meant to have this to you several days ago.  But, please bear with me.  I'm so busy, right now.

March Goals

Focus Area:  Kitchen-Namely my pantry, refrigerator, meal planning and grocery shopping.

I cleaned out my refrigerator, freezer and pantry.  I started meal planning again, and worked hard to stick with it.  This is sort of difficult for us, because our schedule is constantly changing.  But, I did my best.  Convincing my husband that it's a good idea to eat what's on the menu has been a challenge, too.  I probably need to consult him more when I make my menus, so that he is more up for eating what I've planned.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Motherhood Monday: Hi Again

I feel like it's been about six weeks since my last Motherhood Monday.  And, I don't even know what to tell you.  My sweet boy seems like he is saying a new word every week.  Yesterday, he started doing the sign for eat, and doing it really well.  If he does it and you don't respond, he starts to do the sign on your mouth instead of his own.  It's pretty funny.

He's walking all over the place.  He's a cute as ever.

Today, he kept following the cats around yelling, "Hi! Hi!  Hi!"  Probably didn't understand why they weren't responding.

Man, he is just the coolest.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Minimalism-Reducing Meal Stress with Meal Planning

So, I wrote this entire post...and then somehow....everything I wrote, disappeared.  I am so sad.  So...if this post is less than fantastic, just know that it was much better.  But, I'm going to charge ahead, and give you my tips that make meal planning work for me.

Meal planning, when done right, can really save you time and money.  If you know what you are going to make when you go to the grocery store, you will likely buy less or have fewer little trips running to the store because you didn't plan well for your week.

Meal Planning Tips

  • Be realistic-  When I first started meal planning I planned all these wonderful things that were going to be so yummy and healthy.  Result?  Wasted food (and therefore, wasted money), because when it came down to it, I didn't have the time or the desire to make what was on my plan.
  • Make simple meals-See above.  If a meal is too complicated, with tons of ingredients, it isn't likely to save you money.  Things don't have to be complicated to be good or healthy.  We don't need an entree and 3 sides.  1 casserole might already have everything we need it in.
  • Have traditions-When I was a kid, we had waffles every Sunday, and I loved it.  Now, I have pizza (frozen or from leftover ingredients), popcorn and smoothies on the menu every Saturday night.
  • Use categories-With my new schedule, different days require a different kind of meal.  I group my recipes using these categories and then plan each day from it's required category.  It makes my brain spin a little less, when working on my menu.  Categories I'm currently using?  Low Prep, Pasta, Rice, Soups/Slow Cooker, and Casseroles.
  • Plan for everything-This means plan for snacks, leftovers, eating out, double batches (if I plan to freeze half), frozen meals waiting in the freezer to be eaten (otherwise they will go to waste), etc.  If you plan everything you will actually eat, you will not have to run to the grocery store to pick up forgotten things (meaning less impulse purchases, and therefore, less money spent).
  • Finally, use a meal planner website or software.  I use Veggie Meal Maker, and I love it.  It used to take me hours to do what I can do quickly on Veggie Meal Maker.  I store my recipes (or find new ones from theirs), plan my menus, and it creates a shopping list for me.  It makes my life so much easier.

While I really like Veggie Meal Maker, I suggest trying something like this, no matter which one seems to work best for you.  If you do want to try Veggie Meal Maker (hint: yes, you do), you can sign up for a free 30 day trial.  You don't even have to put in your credit card information to sign up!

Once you sign up, I suggest that you read the tutorials and watch the videos to get the most out of it.

Vegetarian Meal Planning Made Easy
P.S.  Click on one of the links in this post, rather than going directly to the website, and I get referral credit!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Minimizing Food Waste: Using Leftovers

Our home has three big culprits that contribute to our food waste. 1) Prepared meals that result in leftovers.  2)  Leftover ingredients from prepared meals.  3)  Purchased food that never gets made or eaten.

I will be discussing number 3 in a few days, when I talk about meal planning.  But, I wanted to share some small solutions for numbers 1 and 2.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Motherhood Monday-Here we go

I start night school, today.  This is a big deal in my Mommy World, because it means I am giving up on 4 bedtimes, a week, for 6 months.  I might end up with Baby withdrawals.  This is going to be hard on me, but hopefully not hard on my little man.  This is going to be a crazy 6 months for this Mama.

Here we go!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Minimalism: Reducing Food Prep with Freezer Meals

One of my favorite ways to make meal time easier is freezer meals.  I started making freezer meals before Baby was born.  I knew we would be tired and healing (me) after he was born, but we would still be hungry.  I didn't want to result to fast food or junk, so we made some freezer meals ahead of time.  Now, I mostly just make double batches of certain things and freeze half for another time.

I don't have any of my own special recipes to share (I wish I did).  But, I thought I would give you a list of my favorite freezer meals.

I never use the whole box of lasagna noodles, and since I don't make this dish very often,  the noodles sit in my pantry for ever.  So, instead, I make one to eat and one to freeze.

Enchilada Casserole
Basically the same situation as the lasagna.  I don't use the whole package of corn tortillas, and I don't use them for much else, so I make another casserole to freeze.

Pasta Bake
Pasta Bake is nothing super unique, but sort of a random thing I threw together once and love.  It's so yummy.  Just noodles, veggies (peppers and onions in our house), sauce and cheese mixed together and thrown in a casserole dish.  I double the amounts and make an extra casserole dish to freeze.

Kevin's Stew
Our friend Kevin made this stew for us after Baby was born.  It was so good.  Although I'm sure he didn't create the recipe, we now lovingly call it "Kevin's Stew".
This is a slow cooker recipe.  Those tend to be large recipes.  I only make 1 batch, but it makes at least 2 meals worth.  Once it cools, I store it in freezer storage bags.  This means I can lay it flat in the freezer and it doesn't take up much space.
When we want to eat it, I take it out and let it thaw on the counter or in the fridge for a full day (we have a standing freezer that gets things REALLY frozen).  Then, I just dump it into a pot and heat it up.

Potato Soup
This is simply a matter of chopping more stuff, so making extra to freeze isn't much work at all.  I do the same thing to store this as I do with the stew.

This is my most used freezer meal.  I usually make a big batch of burritos when we are already making them for a meal.  It doesn't take me long.  I am very simple and just use black beans and cheese.  Not crazy healthy, but still better than fast food, and I'm quite certain it's cheaper.
I keep the burritos in a freezer storage bag, and I leave it at work.  This means I always have a lunch for the days that I do not have something to bring.  I take a burrito out in the morning and put it in the fridge to thaw.  Then, I stick it in the toaster oven for about 15 minutes.  It's a very yummy, very easy lunch.

Friday, March 15, 2013

When God Says No

I used to think I was being selfish, so I gave in and I gave up sleep.  "I can't do something just because I'm tired.  I need to do what is best for Baby."  "Being a mother means I put his needs first." But, by his age, how is it selfish to teach him that night time is for sleeping?  How is it selfish to give my baby a well rested, more patient, more engage-able Mother?  How is it selfish to teach him to be independent and give him confidence that he is OK without me by his side every minute? 

I finally hit my breaking point.  Baby was on a consistent schedule waking up every 2 hours demanding to be nursed.  He would have nothing to do with Daddy, a sippy cup, a bottle, a paci, a cuddle, distracting toys....he wanted nothing, but me.  I was afraid to search for answers, since the "Cry-It-Out", leave him alone in his room until he cries himself to sleep method is simply not an option for me.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Healthy Home-Lessons for Marriage Health

I don’t have a guest with a Healthy Home post for you this month, so I thought I’d do one.  One thing I have a healthy home, you must have a healthy marriage.  Too many times we put everything else first.  We focus on the kids, we focus on our careers, we focus on our bills, and we leave our marriages in the dust.  Why do you think the divorce rate is so high?  We forget to put the work in.  We forget to do the time.

I am no expert, and Brandon and I certainly don’t have a perfect marriage.  But, I do feel like I’ve learned a few things along the way.  I thought I would share some simple tips that I’ve learned to help keep my marriage healthier (I wish I was better at following through with all of these).

Monday, March 11, 2013

Motherhood Monday-Stubbornness and Walking

This week has been a crazy one.  I have 2 thoughts for you, today.

  1. How on earth can a one-year-old be so dang stubborn?!  We have been having night time issues for some time, now (more on this later), and I've started a new method.  Last night was the first night I didn't cuddle Baby to sleep.  I watched a snippet of Supernanny and her technique called Sleep Separation, a fall asleep method meant for younger children.  You lay them down and sit next to their bed, looking straight ahead, to keep from making eye contact.  When they get up, you lay them back down and tell them it's bed time.  Eventually, you just lay them down, without saying a word.  And you do it over and over until he falls asleep.  My son didn't cry, which made it easier emotionally, but he is so persistent.  It took the child on the show 25 minutes.  Mine?  An hour and a half.  Let's hope you know what you're talking about, Jo Jo.
  2. My son started walking!  I can't believe it.  Aside from his spontaneous hugs and kisses, it's the cutest thing in the world.  I tried to get a video for you, but I can't seem to get a good one.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Minimize: Wasted Food

Here we are in March, and I am full swing into my food minimizing.  Did you see this study a couple months ago about wasted food?!  While it’s not super surprising that we waste so much, it is super disgusting… and sad.  I don’t even know how to put into words what I think.  I know I can't send my rotting food to someone who is starving, but….why?  Why do we do this?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Motherhood Monday-Smarty Pants

My little guy is getting so smart.  He knows where his nose is.  He can do 2 signs ("more" and "all done").  He can say, "Hi," "Daddy," "Kitty," and "Thank you" (I think).  He knows there are fish on our ceiling, and in the past few days, he's learned to drink out of a straw!  I'm one proud Mommy.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Minimalsim:February Wrap-Up and March Goals


Focus Area: Baby's Room

I sorted through Baby's new things from his birthday and put them into the toy rotation (after letting him play with them all for a couple of weeks).  I also cleaned out and organized his closet.  I reorganized his dresser to fit his new, big boy clothes in the drawers.  And, I put his "baby" clothes away for a someday little brother.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Helping Home: A Fun Way to Schedule Helping Into Our Lives

In efforts to create a helping atmosphere in my home, I've decided to set forth to do something good for someone else, each month.  After creating this, I realized it is similar to the Studers 12 Months of Kindness.  Great minds, I guess.

Initially, I wanted to do this with a planned good deed every week.  But, I will be honest...I would not be able to follow through on that.  So I decided to go with 1 a month.

So, I created
Helping Home

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Fish Birthday

I wanted to write an elaborate post on Baby's first birthday party.  It was A LOT of work, and I am really proud of how it turned out.   But, to be honest...I'm just too tired.  So, instead, I'm just going to share some pictures and have that be that.  Hope that's OK.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Motherhood Monday-Hello Limit

It happens sometimes.  We don't always live up to our own expectations.  We don't always do things right.  Sometimes, we are just plain selfish and tired and grumpy.  We raise our voices, ignore our baby's whines, or roll our eyes when our children fuss (and fuss and fuss and fuss) about nothing in particular.  WE do that right?  It's not just me?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pretend Minimalism: Rotating Toys

Have you ever watched your child as she sits in the middle of a toy pile, bewildered, not knowing what to play with?  She may pick at a few things, but eventually gives up and goes to play with the door stop.  But... give your child a choice between a few things and he will happily play with them for a while.

Kids don't need, or even want, 432 toys to choose from during play time.  Plus, if they see all of their toys on a daily basis, they will get sick of them (whether they play with them or not).  This is why I rotate toys.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Perfect Life

I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed, today.  It happens sometimes.  OK...It happens a lot.  I live constantly striving for the "amazing" life that I know I should have.

I browse through photos of people I know.  People living the dream.  They are surfing or traveling or working in the mission field.  They are loving life because life is perfect for them. 

I follow my favorite blogs and find mothers who put their children's needs above their own with the greatest of ease.  They make clothes and deliciously healthy home cooked meals.  The keep a perfectly tidy home and spend their spare time breathing in the joy of their perfect families.  They are loving life because life is perfect for them.
And then I let my eyes wander from my computer screen.  I see my to do list that never ends.  I see the clutter crowding my desk and the dishes piling in the sink.  I see the material items that are supposed to make us happier, and they just make me feel claustrophobic.  I look at my finances and sink into a slight depression.

I make a mental list for what I need to do that day.  It doesn't give room for mistakes.  It doesn't give time to enjoy my family.  The baby wakes up before I expect him to, and I stuff my frustration down inside so that I can greet him with a smile.  My husband comes home late from a hard day at work, and I raise my voice at him for leaving his shoes in the middle of the floor.

And instead of stopping...instead of putting an end to the journey to perfect...I keep going.  I add more to my plate and I buy more things.  I add more good intentions to my well intentioned life.  But it doesn't work.  This isn't how I achieve the "amazing" life that I know I should have.  I need to stop.  I need to say no.  I need to put down the credit card.  I need to turn off the computer and make time to surf and cook and breathe in the joy of my family.  I need to just be.  I need to realize that I should love life.  Not because life is perfect, but because life is good.

God tells me to be still in him.  To let him take care of it and stop worrying about perfection.  He's got this.

 Be still and know that I am God-Psalm 46:10

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Motherhood Can Not be Scheduled

So, I missed you for Motherhood Monday, yesterday.  Because...well...I was dealing with motherhood.  My sweet boy is suffering through double ear infections and a cold.  Aside from sleep (which is not achieved easily), I must hold him or he clings to my leg crying and bouncing.  We used up our acetaminophen, and I had to send Daddy to the store twice because he accidentally bought "Children's" instead of "Infant."  Baby screams at the top of his lungs for seemingly no reason.  Our house is a disaster.  We are miserable, and we are exhausted.  But, this is motherhood and it can't be scheduled.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Kindness as Demonstrated By a Baby and a Toddler

I'm so excited to have Tabitha from Team Studer visiting, today.  She has incorporated kindness into her home the lives of her children.  It's hard enough to get through the day and do the simple things (like feed and bathe our children), but teaching them to love others is truly important.  I love Tabitha's story for us, today.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine Gifts for Baby

If you are looking  for a quick gift for your baby for Valentine's Day, tomorrow, I have just the thing.  I like themed gifts, so Valentine's Day is super fun!

I made Baby 2 heart toys.  One is crinkly and one is jingly.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Motherhood Monday-Turning 1

Yes, I know.  I have missed you for the last zillion Motherhood Mondays.  But, I've been preparing my sweet boy's birthday party (more on this later).  I cannot believe he is one.

Man, I love him!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Empathy for a Giving Heart

In my opinion, empathy is the first step to developing a giving heart.  If I care about you, I am more likely to help you.

Unfortunately for me, this isn't always why I give.  Sometimes I just give.  I give to the random charity at the checkout.  I know nothing about it.  I barely even listen to the clerk to hear the name of what I am giving to.  "Would you like to give a dollar to the Teach a Tree to Read Foundation?"  Sure.

Sometimes it's guilt.  Sometimes it's just because I SHOULD give to others and help out.  Sometimes it's simply because I don't want to be the jerk that says "no," and keeps my dollar for myself.

But, the first step to developing a true, genuine, giving empathy.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Minimalism: January Wrap Up and February Goals

January Wrap Up

Focus Area: Office/Guest Room/Craft Room 

I wasn't able to go through any office stuff, but did go through all of my craft supplies.  I have several grocery bags of craft items that I am getting rid of.  Hooray for me!

I reorganized the room.
I know that this might not look like much to you, but believe me...this is a HUGE improvement.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Healthy Home-Spiritual Health

This month's Healthy Home post is about spiritual health.  This can be a touchy subject, but take a few minutes to check out what my friend Jeff has to say.  He is very passionate about the Lord, and loves talking to people about Jesus (he also happens to be married to my dear dear friend and soul sister).

Here are Jeff's thoughts:

Friday, February 1, 2013

Do Unto Others

I want to foster an atmosphere of empathy and generosity in my home.  This is largely accomplished by learning some selflessness and doing good for other people.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Minimalism: The Gift List

If you haven't picked up on it, yet...I have a problem with buying things I don't need. My weaknesses are good deals on:

Super Cute Things (this could be anything, really)
Scrapbook Paper
Kitchen supplies
Baby Stuff

But, now that I am trying to adopt a shopping list lifestyle, good deals need to be mostly overlooked.  I mean, honestly...if you don't need it, it really isn't a good deal, is it?  My best tool for avoiding impulse purchases is....

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Shop Free Week Wrap Up

Well, today wrapped up my shop free week.  I have to say...I enjoyed it.  It brought a few things to light.

Taking multiple small shopping trips (vs. 1 big one) are a waste of time and stress me out.
  I hate taking a lot of time out of one day to buy everything I will need for a full week.  But, each little trip to pick up everything I didn't get on my "one" trip for the week (or things I don't need to get at all), actually take up a lot of time.
  Although I haven't done any comparison, I bet it saves money, as well.  A small trip to the store to buy shampoo, inevitably ends up as a trip home with shampoo, conditioner, body wash, a magazine, and a box of crackers.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Simple Winter Busy Book

I made Baby a little Christmas bag to take with him to Nana and Papa's on Christmas Eve.  It had his new Christmas jammies and a few activities in it.

Here's a little busy book I made to put inside.  It isn't the best busy book, but it was quick and simple.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Motherhood Monday-Hold on to These Times

It was another one of those days. Baby was giving me a little run for the money.  He wanted to nurse much more than I wanted.  He didn't want to sleep.  He was rough with me and the cats (I can't believe they haven't swatted him, yet).

But, as I was about an hour in, trying hard to get him to take his afternoon nap, I looked at his sweet little face and baby is 11 months old.  He won't be like this for long.  He won't always let me hold him and rock him and kiss his cheeks.  It won't be long and I will be wishing this moment back.  So, instead of feeling frustrated, I decided to hold on to the moment for just a little while...breathe it in....soak up the sight of my sweet sweet boy.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Why Minimalism?

I know that minimalism is a way of life for a lot of people.  I'm sure their types of minimalism all vary, as do their reasons for choosing it.  There are several reasons why it appeals to me.

More Time
  I spend a good amount of time dealing with stuff.  I shop for it.  I find a place for it.  I spend time cleaning it or picking it up.  The more stuff, the more time it takes.  Less stuff means less time wasted dealing with it.  Obviously some things are time savers, but there comes a point when too many things are just that....too many.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

An Alternative to the Alternative

So, as I told you a few days ago, I'm spending this month with my car dial tuned into Christian radio.  I feel like we let so much stuff come into our minds without realizing it, and sometimes we just need to sort of reset it.  Step back and evaluate how things are affecting your mindset.

Unfortunately, if you are like me, the syrupy sweet, constantly encouraging nature of most Christian stations isn't for you.  It's fine to listen to once a week to and from church, but the thought of listening to it for a whole month makes me gag a little.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Simple Fleece Blanket

 My sweet monkey likes fleece blankets.   In efforts to give him something to soothe him (and because I needed to make him something homemade for Christmas), I decided to make him a blankie.

I didn't want to do the knotted kind with the two fabrics.  I am very picky about what I will give him to sleep with, and those are too thick (they don't pass my "breathe through" test).

I didn't want to mess with binding the edges.  I'm simply too lazy.

I found this blanket, and liked the way it looked, as well as the simplicity.  The no-knots gave it a smoother look, but it did still have two layers.  I adapted it to meet my baby sleep standards.