Monday, May 31, 2010

How to Carry a Child

There are many ways to carry a child:

*in one's uterus
*in a front carrier
*in a back carrier
*on one hip
*cradled like a baby
*over one's shoulder
*piggy back style
*any which way you can when the child is having a meltdown

I'd never once thought of this way until I saw it in the paper this weekend, from Wichita, KS.
Can you believe it? That is one creative man, or can you think of a different adjective?
I think he's been around too many mama cats carrying their kittens...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday: Digital Photography

Isn't it the worst when you are right in the middle of an event and you see you have one bar left on your digital camera? When I got mine, my husband suggested getting a spare battery, to always have on hand.

As soon as I see mine is getting low, I pop it out into the charger and put the new one in. Then as soon as it is charged, I put it back in its sleeve and back in my handy little camera bag.
I have had this little bag every since I saw it in some hippie shop or craft fair, or somewhere unique years and years ago. It fits my camera perfectly, and I can slide the extra battery right in that outside pocket.
For little jaunts, I can even slide in a few dollars and my ID. The strap is long enough that I can wear it across my chest so I can run around and do whatever, but I have it within reach.

See, I have it on in this picture:
I certainly wouldn't want to "wear it" for a special event, but for everyday, it is great.

Go here for other ideas of Works for Me Wednesday go to We are THAT Family.

How do you keep your coupons organized?

Here's my method, and I try to sort through them once a week and take out expired coupons.
Then I take those I'm going to use and paperclip them to my grocery list.
I've found, however, that since I started REALLY collecting coupons, including online ones, that this is getting fuller and my health and beauty section really needs to be broken into several separate section.
I've heard there are some 3-ring binders out there, and I guess if I'm going to get REALLY serious about this, it might be something to consider.

What do you use to keep everything organized and ready for your planning and shopping trips?

Happy long Memorial Day weekend everyone!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Chores: How Do You Do It?

Chores, household chores. I hate them. That is, unless I'm in the mood, and then I can go, go, go.

My challenge? Having a 2 1/2 year old. He likes to help, by riding the vacuum, saying "I'll do it!" and grabbing the hose from me (not as helpful), dusts the table, then "Whack!" hits the get the picture. (Okay maybe not this one, because I'm certainly not that limber, and my son weighs about 34 pounds!)

So, I tend to do things during naptime, or not at all, until we have company. That would be Saturday. Yep, tomorrow...I have a lot to do!

What are your secrets to getting your chores done on a REGULAR basis (Is there such a thing?), in a quick manner, and within a limited time frame?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thankful Through Thursday: Summer

My great friend Chelsea has started a linky for Thankful Through Thursday. Check it out!

Today, I am thankful for:

*This being the last day of school, and perhaps having a few days to MYSELF over the next short six weeks of our break. (I'm working much of it.)

*Having some additional time to read some great blogs out there and connect with some great people.

*My father-in-law for being so generous in offering to fly our family out to see him this summer

*My awesome husband who I'll get to spend some extra time with.
*And amazing son. I hope to do some extra special activities (unnamed as of yet) with him over a few days off.

Question of the Day: CVS and Walgreens

I have a question for all of you.

Do any of you try to save money by shopping CVS or Walgreens?
If so, what are your strategies, and pointers for me, for a mom with limited shopping time?

I have heard that you can save a lot of money, but I've always been one to want to do one-shop-shopping. It has been a big transition for me to even start going to Target once a week (that started after having a child).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday: Grocery Planning

I look forward to grocery planning each week, and I do it just once a week. My mom always had a "menu" that she created each week and had on the refrigerator so that she, and we, could see what was for dinner each night.
I use this same method, keeping in mind different events during the week that may influence the amount of time I have to cook (or desire to cook) as well.

One thing I do differently now though, is I keep a running list of things I have in the freezer and cupboards on a steno pad, and I take the Tuesday night ad from my favorite grocery store, in this case Fry's, and do my planning from what is on sale and what I already have, to try to save money. It is always a bonus when I have a coupon for an item as well.

On top of this, I go through my coupons to see what is expiring soon, and if my grocery store is still offering the "all coupons worth a dollar" offer. I figure it is best to try to get an item I will need in the future before that coupon expires.

I also do a once-a-week trip to Target, to purchase food and non-food items that are less expensive there than the grocery store. Some time back I wrote down commonly purchased items and price compared to determine where I should buy certain things.

My favorite thing about shopping?
Going by myself so that I can truly think about my purchases, and price compare. I try to leave on time from work on these days, do my shopping, then pick up my son.

It is truly what works best for me. For other great ideas that work, see We Are That Family.

What works well for you as far as your weekly grocery planning?

What I Learned This Week: My List of 4

I'm just connecting with some carnival themes, and found a fun one last week at From Inmates to Playdates, called What I Learned This Week. I'd already posted today, but loved reading my friend Chelsea's response and Julie's from the blog above, and after laughing, felt I should write my own to chipper myself up a bit.

You see, I deal with "allergy induced asthma" several times a year, and this year, at this time, it has hit me pretty hard. Either something in two medications I took today threw me for a loop, or I'm having some kooky symptoms I shouldn't be, so I'm home from work today, trying to rest it off and wait from some new prescriptions to be filled. Every career woman/mother loves a day off, but not like this, where you're spinning so much it is even hard to enjoy catching up on blog posts! are some things I learned this week:

1. Even though my son is 2 1/2, on the rare occasion, he still needs to find a place like this to do you-know-what.
2. Driving under the influence of allergy medication and bronchial medication makes one feel like they've taken down one too many. Oh, and I guess it would help to read this on the label:

In clinical trials, the occurrence of somnolence (by the way this means: state of near sleep) has been reported in some patients taking
(name of medication). Due caution should therefore be exercised when driving a car or operating potentially dangerous machinery. that's why I had trouble driving to the doctor's office and almost fell asleep there? And, 9 1/2 hours later, on a 24 hour drug...still feel that way?

3. Offers for free flights out to see family are VERY generous, but still cost money when you have two dogs to board or have a housesitter come for...what to do?

4. Potty training isn't like boot camp, where you can just whip those soldiers into shape in what, 8 weeks? I think we've been stagnant for about 2-3 months. I can't WAIT for underwear! I suppose that comes with it's own issues though, does it?

Friend's Giveaway: Straight Iron

My great friend Chelsea is having a giveaway for a straight iron. Check out her site!

Time for Myself Tuesday

Our summer break is coming upon us, and as people ask if I'm looking forward to it, I'm not sure how to answer. You see, as educators, we get 6 weeks off (our school is a modified traditional calendar) and the students get 7 weeks off.

Well, I'll have next week off, then I work 4/5 days of the next two weeks, then I work two days of each of the next two weeks, and then I have a week off. Does that sound like a summer break? I'm not so sure it does.

And while I want time to myself, I also want extra time with my son. So between all those days I work, I really have 10 days off spaced apart (not counting some family time we may be vacationing, because we'll all be together and I can't plan solo outings or son/mommy outings).

I love planning, and love to fill my calendar with the possibilities that can occur during downtime. But I also can tend to overplan, and then, at the end of a day off, I'm exhausted, and wishing I had taken time for myself, just to relax.

I question what is relaxing now in my life, having more responsibilities. It seems I save so many things to do for "the summer". In 10 days, I don't think they are all possible.

What is relaxation?
Is it a 10 minute nap during naptime?
Is it the time to blog or look at others' blogs?
Is it time to scrapbook (love it, but can do too much of it at once too)?
It is having coffee and a pastry with a friend at a coffeehouse? (That sounds so nice!)
Is it catching up with emails to friends?
Is it a nice hike?

What something you do to when you make time for yourself?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mommy Monday

Being a mommy is a hard job. Everyone tells you your life will change, forever, and boy, were they ever right.

It changes in oh, so many ways. It changes in ways that make you laugh (when they say something hysterical), make you cry (when you get konked on the head with a toy so hard it leaves a mark), make you feel so fortunate (being an older mom-I'm 40 now) for having such a healthy child, and make you feel sooo tired a lot of the time too. Yeah, I remind myself that I'm not 20 years old, when I feel worn down on a Sunday after doing lots of chores and spending quality playtime with my wonderful son. Naptime is a dream come true on the weekends. :)

I LOVE being with my son. Love it, love it, love it! I also love being a career woman, and having that side of my life. It is the perfect balance for me. What I do wish for though, is some more time cut into the day for my husband. That would make for a perfectly balanced day. He seems to get what is left of me at the end of the career and mommy day. But he loves me still.

What do you love and find hardest about being a parent?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Banana Bread

This is one of my favorite recipes, one for banana bread. As a matter of fact, in 1st grade, we wrote and published a cookbook for World Vision magazine, and my recipe for banana bread was printed in it. One of the highlights of that recipe is that it reads, "It has one nut in it." I wouldn't trust that recipe, but I would this one. As a matter of fact, as I type this, I have two loaves in the oven.
*Heat oven to 350 degrees

3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 egg
3/4 c. mashed bananas (1 1/2-2 bananas)-hint: I just mash, and leave lumpy, and get compliments
1/4 c. buttermilk (I use 2%, because I have that on hand)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped nuts (opt. I don't use them because my husband doesn't care for them)
*1/2 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (opt. I do use this from time to time and people rave about it)

Mix sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir in egg until well blended. Add bananas, milk, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients except nuts (or choc. chips), then stir in nuts. Bake until wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Loosen sides of loaf from pan, remove. Cool completely before slicing. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.

I often make two loaves at once, with my leftover bananas. Today I used 4 bananas for 2 loaves. If my husband could have his way, he'd want 5 or 6. I have to remind him that it messes with the recipe then.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Coupon Craze

I'm the kind of person who gets very excited about new ideas, endeavors, projects, etc. and find that I don't always follow through. In other words, my excitement wanes. I've been doing so well lately, however, collecting and using coupons, that I shared with my husband the other day how I hope this excitement and organization doesn't disappear. It feels so key to keeping our grocery budget intact. One thing on that note, I know some people don't include non-food items in their grocery budget, but we do, things like Pull-Ups, detergent, are all included. On that note, I can't wait until our son is out of Pull-Ups. He just went to the next size up too, which is a bigger expense. Others tell me though, that that savings is just used somewhere else. Does everyone find that to be true?

Anyhow, back to collecting coupons. I feel like somewhat of a newbie at it. I used to get them out of the paper on Sundays, and that was about it. If I happened to have a coupon for something I planned to buy, I'd use it. Sometimes I wouldn't even look. Now I plan my grocery lists around things that are on sale and that I have coupons for, as much as I can (thanks to hints from I'm also getting online coupons and reading a number of different money saving blogs. (I'd love to hear about those that others use as well.)

I'm very, very interested in learning as much as I can about saving money when it comes to grocery shopping. I've found I love cutting my coupons (I've even bought more than one newspaper one weekend to get the additional coupons), organizing them, checking the sale ads, and organizing my weekly shopping list. I feel like I'm just getting the hang of buying more when things are on sale too, of products I use frequently. But, this month, I found myself tight on my budget at the end of the month, because I think I bought too much of the sale items (I think I'm set on toilet paper for the next 3-4 months). I thought this was the best thing to do and it makes sense. Then I read a this post. This is somewhat of the opposite philosophy, of not buying more than you need that week, even considering sales. The problem (or good thing) is, we are not frugal, nor do we want to be, even though we should. We enjoy what I consider "regular" meals, and things we enjoy, without being extravagant. I don't mind simplifying, but I sure don't think I could get much that I enjoy for $40/week. But that's me, and I guess our values play a part.

What kind of helpful hints do you have that help you save money on groceries?

A Place for Me

As a person who loves to scrapbook, but rarely finds the time to do so lately, I often wonder what I can do with photos like this, when most of my scrapbooking involves family and friend photos, and my photo albums are just an extension of my leftover photos I don't use.

Photos like this, however, touch a special place in my heart, my love for the outdoors, again, a place I don't visit frequently enough anymore as the mom of a toddler ("Watch out for that cactus!" Better to avoid than to deter.)

I'm hoping this blog can be a place where I can share my passions and also connect with others who desire to do the same with what they love. I am excited for this new blog, separate from the one I use to share with family and friends, of our activities. This one is just for, and about me.