Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Daybook for March 31, 2010

[Edit - while writing this, I heard a big thump from Goose's room where she was having "quiet time" and, well, she has gotten her first skinned knee and her first goose egg on her head in the same week! Ouch!]

Outside my window... Breezy again, but the sun is shining and it's in the 70s! I think it would be hot if not for the wind...

I am thinking... that I don't know where March went.

I am thankful for... forgiveness, and the ability to start anew.

From the learning rooms... Goose is working on a lesson in physics, that helium balloons don't stay up forever. I was able to cut off a bunch of heavy ribbon and "dead" balloons so that some are still floating, but the inevitable isn't going to be pretty, I don't think.

From the kitchen... I'm planning to make this Mushroom Soup from The Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen site. My mom and I made it once and it was yummy. I also plan to make Katie's Hearty Lentil Stew for Good Friday. Other than that, lots of leftovers as I try to keep from wasting food - lasagna and meatloaf to name two.

I am wearing... a blue striped long-sleeved shirt and denim capri pants. And Crocs. I was probably about the last person to jump on the Crocs bandwagon but they are SO comfortable and I love being able to slip them off and on easily.

I am creating... a new "church bag" for Goose, similar to her Halloween treat sack that she's been using for her church bag. (I pack a handful of things in her church bag to help keep her quiet during church and moreso during Bible study.) This one has Care Bear appliques that I scavenged from a bargin bin piece that was the top for a jumper.

I am pondering... a chapter in Matthew Kelly's book "Rediscovering Catholicism" on fasting. Willpower has never been my strongest virtue, but this book puts things in a way unlike anything I've ever come across before.

I am reading... the same things as last week. And added to the pile: Midwives by Chris Bohjalian, The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved by Sandor Ellix Katz (that might go for a giveaway here!), and Household Ecology by Julia Percivall and Pixie Burger, which is from 1971 but I'm looking forward to flipping through. (It might also go as a giveaway.)

I am hoping... for another early bedtime for Goose tonight. She's tired.

I am hearing... windchimes from the front porch. I love how they sound.

Around the house... it's amazing what 20 minutes can do. Too bad I have about six rounds of 20 minutes that I need to do!

One of my favorite things... spring flowers. They will be blooming before we know it.

A few plans for the rest of the week... Holy Thursday and Good Friday services. I have little else besides that planned. Easter dinner will be at my in-laws.

A picture thought I am sharing... Goose enjoying her new paints.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Yeast Elimination Diet

A couple of weeks ago, my parents stayed here on their way home from my brother's. I wasn't sure when they were coming and wasn't exactly prepared to cook, but I ended up making a yummy supper of lasagna, a half recipe of herbed oatmeal pan bread, peas and a half recipe of butterscotch bars. YUM. I'm a re-submitting this post for the latest installment of the spring cleaning carnival at Kitchen Stewardship. The first topic for which I submitted this was Get the Gluten Out, and Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free wrote about her (very interesting!) experiences here. The latest installment is Get the Refined Sugar Out (at Kitchen Stewardship) and the guest poster is Donielle from Naturally Knocked Up, and you can read her post Cutting Back on Sugar.

Back to me. A couple of years ago, I couldn't have eaten that supper. Goose and I struggled with yeast for several months after she was born. It started with her diaper rash, that would NOT go away. Since I nursed her exclusively, I had my own troubles, too. An excellent resource for breastfeeding and thrush is this page on (Actually, is an excellent resource overall for breastfeeding.) There is a lot of info on La Leche League's yeast page as well, and here is what Dr. Jack Newman has to say about yeast.

Though it is not specific to breastfeeding and thrush, I read The Yeast Connection, its corresponding website, and the cookbook (which I borrowed via interlibrary loan), all excellent resources.

We tried a very, very long list of things to get rid of the yeast. Nystatin. Diflucan. Gentian Violet. All Purpose Nipple Ointment. A weak vinegar wash and left the flaps down on my nursing bra for fifteen minutes after nursing, and changed nursing pads after each nursing session. Grapefruit Seed Extract. Acidophilis powder. Yeast detox supplements through our chiropractor. The only thing that finally worked was a yeast elimination diet.

*****Please note that you should work closely with your health care provider if you suspect you are having difficulty with yeast, also known as candida. I am not a doctor, nor do I even play one on TV.*****

There are a number of yeast elimination diets on the interwebs. I happen to be a rather picky eater, so I struggled to find one that I could actually follow, and I still made a few compromises. I finally ended up mostly using the diet from QFAC. I was able to follow it for about two weeks and both Goose and I were able to clear up our problems. I also lost several pounds! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to sustain the diet (or weight loss, sigh), but I've been thinking it would be a good thing to do periodically for my health.

My friend Sarah wrote a very informative post on Why Grain Free? at her blog Sarah's Musings that gives a lot of great information. Unfortunately grains are not just a filler for me (remember, I'm a recovering vegetarian married to a cow farmer!) so I don't think I could go completely grain-free. But it certainly gives a lot of food for thought.

Check out a lot more posts on gluten-free here at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and more on cutting out the sugar here at Naturally Knocked Up. The giveaways for the gluten part of the carnival are closed, but go check out the ones for the sugar part!

Also, go check out some great posts on nursin' babies over at the Breastfeeding Blog Carnival at Modern Alternative Mama!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

About Me, Part 5

When I left off with part four back in October (for heaven's sake!), I had just met a handsome cow farmer in Wal-Mart and he took me on a dinner date. I was head over heels right from the start. Hubs lived about two hours away from me, so we visited each other on weekends. We met in July, and we were engaged the next January, with the wedding set for October.

I quit my job at the end of June or so and moved into the house where we live now. Hubs lived about 10 miles away. My first job here was a part-time position in HR and Training/Development at a nursing home near here. For some reason, there was very little about that job that ended up being a good fit. The straw that broke the camel's back was after I had a conversation with a nurse's aide.

One thing that had been reinforced during orientation was that insurance paperwork was sent out from the corporate offices after the employee had been with the company for a certain amount of time. It came in a plain looking envelope (so as to not attract the attention of would-be identity thieves, I think), and it was stressed to keep an eye out for it and not throw it away, that there was nothing that could be done if it was gone until open enrollment came around again.

You guessed it, the aide tossed her insurance. I told her there wasn't anything that could be done, because I didn't think there was anything that could be done. The interim director called me out on the carpet. I finally realized it didn't make sense to be beating myself up for a job I didn't like. I put my notice in and focused on planning my wedding, which you can read about here.

We had a lovely honeymoon in Colorado and when we returned, I began looking for a new job. I ended up landing an HR job for a local manufacturing plant, working about 25 hours a week. It ended up being a great job, and I really enjoyed working there. The president - my boss - is quite a character. He once told me (mostly jokingly) that he hired me because I was married to a farmer, so he knew I wouldn't be moving away. I told him that I fixed his wagon, because I planned to stay home after having a baby.

I ended up working there for three and a half years and though it was hard work, I enjoyed it for the most part. Of course, all the while, I was learning to be a farm wife, too. Tractors, corn, wheat, cattle, all that. My main interest? The barn cats. And one that Hubs brought home, that we named Nappy.

Next up - being preggo with the Goose and an ice storm that left us without electricity for a week.

Link Roundup - Skinned Knee Edition

Goose just turned three. This week marked her very first skinned knee! She was running around outside while I was picking up trash (between some blowing around and somebody chucking a bunch of cans, there was a lot!) and the inevitable happened. Her knee took the worst of it - putting a small hole in her pants - while the other knee is bruised and both palms have a bit of road rash. I'm surprised she's lasted this long without one, I guess.

Lots of good stuff around the interwebs this week.

Oh, I know Goose would love this Mini Rain Stick from Busy Bees.

These Flower Prints from Soda Bottles are SO CUTE. (@ Frugal Family Fun Blog)

How fun for Easter - Bunny Houses at Home Sweet Home.

This little Removable Flower Garden at She Wears Flowers is so, so cute!

Tipnut has a Butter Q&A. I think it was The Pioneer Woman who said "don't be afraid of butter. God made cows."

Laura at Heavenly Homemakers posted a yummy sounding recipe for Homemade Chewy Granola Bars (with NO corn syrup!). And, I can say from personal experience, that her butterscotch bars are out of this world. The pan barely lasted 12 hours (and that includes overnight - though I only made a half batch). Next time I think I'll add a bit more flour as they were VERY buttery on the bottom.

I pink puffy heart hominy and was very intrigued by this article at Mother Earth News on Make Masa - Nixtamalize Your Corn. I doubt I'll try it, but I'm fascinated by the process!

Ooh, these Twisted Breadsticks at Minutes To Spare sound YUMMY.

As do these Lasagna Roll-Ups from Parenting the Tiniest of Miracles.

Love the recipe and love the story - check out Great-Grandma Louise's Tortillas at Sarah's Musings.

Speaking of the Pioneer Woman, the only reason I haven't made these Creamy Lemon Crumb Squares yet is Hubs doesn't like lemon and that leaves the whole pan for me. Goose would probably give me a run for it, though!

Not sure how I missed this last week, but I really enjoyed this post on Early Reading Strategies for Little Learners (subtitled Giant Post on Teaching My Child with Down Syndrome How to Read) at Pondered In My Heart.

Who doesn't love Mad Libs? :>) You can find some Easter ones here at Classroom Jr. (and apparently many other Mad Libs).

For you pregnant mamas, check out Make Room for Baby to see what's going on with your innards right now. :>) (@ Museum of Science and Industry)

This article at The Common Room called Boys and Girls Are Different. Really. gives lots of food for thought on the differences in learning styles by gender.

Annunciation Thursday marks the beginning of a Novena for impossible requests. It runs all the way through Christmas. You can find the prayers here at

Danielle Bean has plenty of experience as a mom of 8 upon which to draw inspiration for her post 5 Ways to Survive a Stomach Virus. I hadn't ever heard the one about canned peach syrup but I'm definitely tucking that one away.

One more post-partum depression post - Healing From Post Partum Depression at Catholic Mommy Brain.

Happy clicking!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Daybook for March 23, 2010

Outside my window... Breezy today, and kind of cloudy. We didn't get outside, but Sunday was such a delightful day, and I think there's more in store for the rest of the week.

I am thinking... about our parish's 125th anniversary celebration this fall. The committee met this morning, and things are coming together reasonably well.

I am thankful for... Easter. I don't think I've ever looked forward to it as much as I have this year.

From the learning rooms... a bit of gardening. Goose sort of helped me with starting seeds on Sunday. Then she quickly lost interest. :>)

From the kitchen... Everybody else cleared out their freezer in January and February, I'm just now getting around to thinking about it. There's lots of stuff in there that I don't even realize is there, and I hate wasting food!

I am wearing... tan lightweight sweater and red pants. I had forgotten I even had this sweater until this weekend. Should've been wearing them all winter long!

I am creating... Bibs. And I'm really pleased at how they are turning out!

I am pondering... How I try so hard to control things. Especially Goose's sleep. And it just isn't really in my control at all. Plus, God's in charge, who am I to try and buck that?

I am reading... the same things as last week. And added to the pile: The Makers Diet.

I am hoping... for an early bedtime for Goose tonight.

I am hearing... a fit. The third of the afternoon. See above. (Update: She's doing the head bob in her high chair, which is a rare occurrence. Here's hoping.)

Around the house... I need to get busy. Stuff has snuck up on me.

One of my favorite things... footie PJs.

A few plans for the rest of the week... One of these Wendesdays, I need to renew my drivers' licence, Stations of the Cross on Thursday (I think the last one?), and this weekend is the first of kids' consignment sales in the area. Not sure if I'll make this one or wait for the next one. Hubs might be gone, and taking Goose is not my idea of a good time - it's pretty crowded. Our parish's penance service is on Sunday.

A picture thought I am sharing... I hope to put together a whole post on Goose's birthday, but here's one to start.

How To Wash a Toddler's Hands

(PS - I updated my Enormous Toddler Bib/Napkin post to show a pic of the bib in action!)

Little hands can get every bit as dirty - or dirtier! - than big hands. Every time I think that Goose is mostly out of the sucking and chewing on fingers phase, I find her hand in her mouth. I think she might have some molars moving, as she's been chomping a lot lately.

So, I've been trying to pay a bit more attention to keeping her hands clean. Here's how we do it.

We have a stepstool that we keep in the bathroom. She uses it to get on the potty, and to wash her hands.

Our soap of choice is Johnson's Buddies soap. If you read, you know that there are often printable coupons to get the soap for free. Can't beat that! I like how the soap foams up quickly as it has a fabric covering, and it smells GREAT. Best of all, it doesn't contain triclosan. (Click through below to Katie's post to read much, much more about it.)

Since Goose still doesn't quite have the hang of lathering her own hands, I help her. I start by working up a lather with the bar myself, then I put it in her hands and wrap my hands around hers as shown in the picture. While I admit we probably don't wash for the full 30 seconds, I try to work up a good lather and then spend almost as much time rinsing and rubbing her hands under the water.

As I mentioned earlier, I am participating in Spring Cleaning: Get the Junk OUT! at Kitchen Stewardship. Go read Katie's post on Get the Antibacterials Out (and bleach), and read what other bloggers are doing on the subject.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Enormous Toddler Bib/Napkin

I've been thinking lately that Goose's bibs just aren't quite fitting the bill anymore. For the most part, she's a very neat eater, but she occasionally drips and drops. We had been given a couple of the full-body bibs for when she was starting to eat, and they got me to thinking.

I made a pattern by laying out a bib and tracing around it. Instead of tracing the legs, I rounded the bottom. When I cut it out, I added some room for seam allowances.

In case you don't have a similar bib and want to give it a try, the resulting pattern is about 21.5" tall at the tallest point, 14.5" wide at the widest point, and the neck hole is about a 3.5" circle (OK, it's obviously not quite a circle, but that's what the opening measures).

I then pinned the pattern to fabric and cut it out. Most of the bibs have a plain back, but I made a few to be reversible. Please note that unless your pattern is symmetrical (which mine isn't!) you should flip the pattern over when cutting one of the pieces so the right side will be facing out if you wish to reverse it.

I didn't do this, and ended up with the wrong side of the fabric facing out. It's not the worst thing in the world, I figure. Goose doesn't care!

Initially, I wasn't going to line them with anything, because as I noted, Goose is a pretty neat eater. After making the first one and trying it out, I decided they needed something inside. I used my pattern piece to cut some flannel, but instead of making it go all the way up to the neck straps, I just cut it off about an inch under the neck. Saves fabric, and saves sewing through so many layers at the top where it's wonky enough on its own!

I made mine by stitching the flannel to the back side of the bib (on the wrong side), then sewing the back and front together with wrong sides together leaving an opening, turning right side out, pressing, then topstitching, making sure to close the turning hole. For the last bib, I think I'll just stitch the top part of the flannel to the back, then stitch all of them together.

Lastly, I added velcro to the neck tabs to hold the bib on. Here are the other bibs I made:

And here's a picture of one in action!

Linking up to:

and Frugal Fridays at Life as Mom.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Link Roundup - SPRING Edition

It was a gorgeous day here today! Goose took a short but much needed nap (this time, the bribe was Ms - M&Ms - and she was threatened with "Mama will eat your Ms if you don't take a nap!") and then we played outside, hung out a load of laundry, and did a bit of garden prep. I think this is going to be the best summer yet! Even though my insomnia has taken a turn for the worse lately, it was still an awesome day.

Let's keep the happy thoughts going with some clicking around, shall we?

Holy cow, check out these Geode Easter Eggs for kids - love them! (@ those northern skies)

Monkey Sew, Monkey Do has a tutorial on how to Make Your Own Moby Wrap, which isn't as hard as you might think!

Also a "holy cow" - check out the Mini Mei Tai tutorial at Owlet Designs.

Bear Hugs Baby has a post on Make Your Own Easy Bake Recipes, and it's nice that they use "real" ingredients, too.

I've heard such good things about Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day, and Melissa Wiley's Dough Business post is no exception.

Katie at Kitchen Stewardship is discussing The Health Benefits of Sprouting.

Not only does Katie's recipe for Hearty Lentil Stew sound yummy, I love her tradition of preparing it on Ash Wednesday and then freezing the rest for Good Friday.

It's a proven fact that Parmesan cheese makes everything better, and I have no doubt that it's also true for this Roasted Cauliflower at Lynn's Kitchen Adventures.

I'm kind of glad I didn't find this until after Goose's birthday 'cause I'd have been tempted to switch her cake to these Homemade Fruit Fun-Fetti Cupcakes from scrumdilly-do!

This is a very fun post from Katie at Kitchen Stewardship - Want Traditional Food? Read "Little House" Books. Great points!

Gingerbread Snowflakes is coloring Easter eggs with Kool-Aid - how fun!

Along those lines, do stuff! is dying yarn with Kool-Aid in the crock pot.

Making it Lovely has some really good DIY Painting Tips, Tricks, and a Step-By-Step Guide, with thanks to Amy at Finer Things for pointing it out.

Though Goose has a ton of books already, I love posts like this one from Jessica at Shower of Roses on their favorite Picture Books for Easter.

My biggest downfall to something like Trent's Idea Notebook is that I don't always have a pocket to keep it in. :>) (@ The Simple Dollar) But I could really use something to help me remember things, so I might need to look at adapting it...

I thought there was a good deal of wisdom in Are We Raising "Soft Kids"? Why Sports Are Non-Negotiable In My Family at words from cana. I think there is a lot that can be learned from sports, but there is a fine line between participation and over-scheduling. There is also a follow-up post.

There is a LOT of info popping up on the 'net this week about Post Partum Depression, an issue that is near and dear to my heart in many ways. Blessed Among Men writes of A Better Way, discussing progesterone therapy. Faith & Family Live has a post on Beat The Baby Blues. Elizabeth Foss has some Quick Answers on what works for her. Kate Wicker at Momopoly has More Thoughts on Postpartum Depression. I haven't listened to it yet, but there is also a podcast at Faith & Family Live on Baby Blues and Blessing.

And regarding motherhood, this piece on What Is it With Me and Carseats? is very moving.

My own Lenten journey hasn't been what I expected it to be, and Katie at Kitchen Stewardship was just in time with her piece On Sacrifice and Suffering.

Happy clicking!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Daybook for March 16, 2010

Outside my window... It's SPRING! The grass is greening up, most of the snow is melted. It wasn't all that warm today, but it'll get there and at least the sun was shining.

I am thinking... that we are officially in "nap purgatory." Goose has taken 3 naps in the last 5 days, but last night, it was about 10:15 when she finally gave up and went to sleep. But if she doesn't get a nap, she's cranky. This too shall pass...

I am thankful for... my Goose, who turns three tomorrow! My parents and hubs's parents are coming for supper.

From the learning rooms... nothing new. :>)

From the kitchen... more cheeseburger meatloaf, and this chocolate cake though I'm leaving the cocoa powder out of the frosting so it will look like clouds. There will be Care Bears involved, and a rainbow made out of skittles. Oh, and probably some homemade donuts.

I am wearing... among other things, my Miraculous Medal. I got it last year for my birthday, I think, and I love it. Though I think I need a new chain for it.

I am creating... see above Care Bear cake.

I am pondering... all the blessings in my life.

I am reading... the same things as last week. And added to the pile: He Leadeth Me.

I am hoping... that a college acquaintance missing from Omaha is found soon. And reminded to ponder my blessings again - she is one of those people who seemed to have everything. Please say a quick prayer for Jennifer and her family.

I am hearing... splashing. Goose is in the tub and just about to get PJs on.

Around the house... it's cleaner and neater than it has been for a while! The decluttering is helping, and I look forward to getting some more stuff out this week. Hurricane Goose went through earlier, but we picked up before her bath and it's better.

One of my favorite things... a kitty sleeping in a sunbeam.

A few plans for the rest of the week... chiropractor appointment tomorrow morning, make the cake, Goose's party, Stations of the Cross on Thursday and Altar Society afterwards, and I think that's it.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing... well, not yet. I'll try to get a good one tomorrow of the birthday girl to post.

You can read LOTS more Daybook posts here.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

40 Bags Update - Bags 34 - 44

Bags 34-42 - Yeah, I know I don't have all the "bags" shown in the picture. But as I mentioned in my post on using Buy It Now to sell on eBay, I had some pretty good luck selling stuff. I sold some DVDs, books, stuffed animals, Chinese iron chime balls (really!), the shaving set, and an extra electric fondue pot, along with some other assorted things.

Bag 43 - For about five years, I served on the regional health board. After Goose was born, it just didn't fit in my schedule anymore. For some reason, I didn't get rid of the stuff! So finally I checked with the director, destroyed the paperwork per her suggestion, and passed the bag itself on to my replacement. It seems so small, but it was a big relief!

Bag 44 - I cleaned out Goose's closet to pass stuff along to my cousins who are having babies. Some of it was unopened, some was partially used...what's family for, right? :>)

Finally, to update on bags 3&4 (towels), I had a former co-worker contact me and request I make some bibs for her son's daycare out of towels. So, I went through and pulled out the hand towels and am making some bibs and a bit of extra cash!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Link Roundup - *Care*Bear*Count*Down* Edition

Today is the first day the bribe worked, so after Goose's nap, we watched Care Bears and I have the song mentioned in the title of this post firmly in my head. Good times.

Maybe links will help get it out?

This kicks the soup out of the bike basket I made for Goose, which was a thrifted basket covered haphazardly in fabric. Check out the bike basket tutorial at A Lemon Squeezy Home.

You know we love our Nappies at this house, so I couldn't help but link to these homemade cat toys at Cathie Filian.

I'm not sure if a printable falls under "make" or not, but I love these paper food baskets at Zakka Life. How fun!

I hope to do a LOT more baking since I've conquered grinding wheat, so this Q&A on Yeast at Tipnut caught my eye.

Here is a post on Five Minutes a Day For Fresh Baked Bread at Mother Earth News - I think what I tried several months ago was a knock off version, so I'm kind of interested in giving it another go. (Note that you have to do a lot of clicking through at the bottom to read the whole thing.)

Katie explains sprouting in her Monday Mission this week at Kitchen Stewardship: Sprout Something!

I'll admit I was fascinated by this Marshmallow Fondant Icing Recipe and Tutorial at Peggy's Baking Corner.

This sounds YUMMY - buttermilk syrup at Salty Pineapple.

And this is in an appropriate spot underneath the syrup - sourdough pancakes at Kitchen Stewardship (and whole wheat crackers, too, though I don't think I'd recommend pairing them with the syrup. There's also a muffin recipe, and pizza dough too!)

This is just barely a "make" - Clean Mama put together some great color squish bags and with the gelatin, they'd hold their colors better than some others I've seen.

Melissa Wiley, one of my favorite bloggers, did a series of guest posts on Faith & Family Live this week on making social media work for you - my two favorite posts were How to Protect Your Privacy on Facebook and How to Use Twitter Without Going Insane. (I'll admit I've barely checked my Twitter since Thanksgiving. One of these days I'll throw out a Works For Me Wednesday post on how I keep up just a little bit.)

Here's one way to live the liturgy in your home - Elizabeth Foss's mantel letters.

I can't say for sure, but I just might be over my fear of making buttonholes, thanks to this manual machine buttonhole tutorial at Until Wednesday Calls.

Lots of good ideas on this 20 Tips for Finding Your Routine with Kids at Simple Mom, and it's something I've struggled with since I stayed home with Goose almost 3 years ago.

Faith & Family Live has posts on Spending Lent with Mary and Surrender the Choosing.

Luckily I have a few years to ponder this, and I'm not sure there are enough Catholic girls in the area, but I'm fascinated by the Little Flowers Club that Jessica at Shower of Roses does. (You can see all her posts on their meetings here.)

This one made me sit up in my seat - Amy at Finer Things points out that Somebody Wants What You Have.

OK, so one of the few times I did peek at Twitter, I saw this post retweeted by Amy from Impress Your Kids on God's Word, a Sword, and a Tool.

I'll leave you with a quote shared by a friend, who is a mom of 12(!) -


Pass slowly, friend Time,
For I would hold them just a moment more
Before they swoop as eagles
Through my door.

Pass slowly, friend Time,
For I must do my best to teach them much,
Before they go, they must know what to pass,
And too, what to touch.

Pass slowly, friend Time.
In this, the golden season of their prime,
Every hour I must savor fully
Their love, and they mine.

--Jacqueline Wolfe Bettini

Happy clicking!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring Cleaning: Get the Junk OUT!

OK, guys, along with my 40 bags in 40 days, I've been collaborating behind the scenes with some amazing bloggers on something new! (Actually, I feel like I'm just riding on coat-tails here, but I'll go with it...) In Katie's words:
Get out your calendars, and mark down the dates for a 10-week rotating carnival called Spring Cleaning: Get the Junk Out!
blog carnival

We’re going to spring clean here at Kitchen Stewardship in a unique way. Instead of focusing on your physical space, we’ll look at a myriad of issues that you may want to get out of your diets, cleaning cupboards, bad habit collections or mental baggage. Each week, a different blog will host a theme that fits their mission and a linky for YOU to link up any pertinent posts.

Related posts for the linky might include a tips post, a recipe, a personal story of getting that issue “out”, or even questions you have about the issue.

Here’s the list of hostesses and weekly themes so you can plan to participate. There will be giveaways for each week. New and old posts welcome!

  1. 3/23 Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship: antibacterial soap/bleach

  2. 3/30 Amy @ Simply Sugar and Gluten Free: gluten

  3. 4/6 Beth @ Fake Plastic Fish: plastic food containers

  4. 4/13 Donielle @ Naturally Knocked Up: refined sugar

  5. 4/20 Micaela @ Mindful Momma: parabens

  6. 4/27 Lenetta @ Nettacow: food additives

  7. 5/4 Kelly the Kitchen Kop: CAFOs

  8. 5/11 Laura @ Heavenly Homemakers: pesticides

  9. 5/18 Mandi @ Organizing Your Way: clutter

  10. 5/25 Claire @ Saving Money Plan: debt

Back to Lenetta: Yeah, that's the kind of people I somehow ended up rubbing elbows with! I'll admit that I haven't had a very public mission regarding food additives, but it's something that I've really been looking at lately, and am anxious to do more research on and share with you. (Really, I haven't had much of a mission beyond crafting and unsuccessfully trying to get the toddler to nap, but I'm running with it!)

I've mentioned before that Hubs got me a Nutrimill for Christmas, and I'm pleased to tell you that today I ground some wheat and used the flour to make pretzels and they were AWESOME! And I felt really good about making them, too. Since I've been reading Kitchen Stewardship, I've been paying more attention to things - labels, ingredients, chemicals, habits. Katie is big on starting with baby steps, which is good because I don't think I could handle much more than that.

I hope you'll join us as we get the junk out!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

40 Bags Update, Bags 23 - 33

Bag 23 - formerly blank video tapes with random stuff recorded on them. I offered them on facebook and freecycle, and sent a handful to a friend. I know our little thrift store has plenty of these sitting around, so I used masking tape to tape four together into a block and Goose has been having fun stacking them. I guess they'll eventually get pitched when she's done with them.

Bag 24 - a utility lamp received as a wedding gift. We never used it, so I sold it on eBay. I ended up regretting that move as I packed it more securely and ended up a few ounces over on weight, so I had to pay extra postage. I was also worried about it arriving safely, so I put insurance on it, and I no longer see the option to make insurance either mandatory or optional when listing an item on eBay. At least it's out of the house.

Bag 25 - tomato sauce. I made a batch that we didn't particularly care for the flavor, so I had one of Hubs's cousins give it a try. She liked it, so she got the batch. (This is just a fraction of the batch, trust me.)

Bag 26&27 - two TVs. We sold one for $10, and gave the other away. Now if I could just get find a home for our old entertainment center!

Bags 28-33 - several bags and a box of books. I gave these away via Freecycle and facebook. I had them listed for quite some time on Paperback Swap, but they weren't going anywhere, and I was getting tired of storing them. (And by "storing" I mean retrieving them from wherever Goose drug them, trying to figure out which pile they came from, etc.)

Anybody else want to share an update?

Daybook for March 7, 2010

Outside my window... It's dark, but we've had warmer weather recently, including some rain and a thunderstorm! The snow is melting!

I am thinking... that I don't know how to help Goose get enough sleep. Even with an early bedtime, it doesn't seem to be enough.

I am thankful for... my new craft area. I still have a ways to go to finish it, but it's come together nicely. And also a special blog friend that sent something for Goose. I will come up with a way to repay you! I was very moved by your thoughtfulness and Goose is going to love it. But that was a given. :>)

From the learning rooms... I've been thinking it's time to dig out my 1968 copy of Teaching Montessori in the Home: Pre-School Years and start implementing.

From the kitchen... I made this cheesburger meatloaf recipe from Money Saving Mom and it was probably the best meatloaf I've ever made, and close to the best meatloaf I've ever eaten! (and that's saying a lot!) Even Goose liked it! Instead of chili or BBQ sauce, I made my own. For two pans (I doubled the recipe), I used about a cup and a half of ketchup, around 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, a teaspoon of liquid smoke, and a teaspoon of garlic powder. Approximately - I didn't measure. I also baked potatoes, which I haven't done in a really long time.

I am wearing... stretchy pants again (I really need to go pants shopping, in my defense!) and I improved upon last week's haircut by coloring my grey spot. My mom and her older sister both started going grey in the same place, so I should have known my destiny. Theirs didn't show up until 40+, though, and mine started when I turned 30. I blame Hubs. :>)

I am creating... an enlarged plat map of half of our county. It sounds really dull, I know, but it'll be really helpful. We love to go visit Papa in the tractor and this will help us find him more easily. He can tell me that he's at the Hawe place, and I can find it on my new map (since he doesn't know which roads it's on, he just knows the way there. And can't articulate it.)

I am pondering... how quickly little ones grow. I've read that motherhood is short years made up of very long days and am discovering how true that is. Goose loves to point out her bumbo seat in the storage room and declare that it's for "a little tiny goose!" And my heart constricts a little every time.

I am reading... the same things as last week. I need to make more time for reading paper books, less on the screen.

I am hoping... for a special intention. And blessed with the grace to know that God is in charge.

I am hearing... not much. Goose went to bed early, and wasn't very happy about it but seems to have settled down. Hubs is downstairs. Cats are sleeping, saving up energy for later, I'm sure.

Around the house... I need to pick up. I've been trying to make it part of Goose's bedtime routine so she helps, but nights like tonight I'd rather she get to bed.

One of my favorite things... eating a bowl of popcorn and watching Dog the Bounty Hunter. Hubs got me hooked several months ago and now I actually look forward to it!

A few plans for the rest of the week... perhaps a trip to the "city" to try and get a bucket to store my wheat. One of Hubs's friends brought me a BUNCH, though it's not as clean as I'd like. I'd really like to start using the grain mill I got for Christmas already! Bible study tomorrow, though it'll be cutting it close to Goose's bedtime if she doesn't nap (sigh), and Stations of the Cross on Thursday. Goose's birthday is next week (St. Patrick's Day) and I need to get to planning for it.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing... Goose is gearing up for her birthday! I bought these shamrock dealie-boppers at a garage sale this summer. If you look closely (you can click on it to make it bigger, Mom), Goose has an "ouchie" on her cheek - she tripped at Mass this morning and as I tried to catch her, I scratched her! My nails aren't even that long! Bless her heart, she didn't cry but I held her very tightly for quite a while. Thankfully we'd brought her nappies to church and they make everything better.

You can read LOTS more Daybook posts here.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Link Roundup - Bribe Edition

I had the bright idea to try and use Goose's beloved Care Bear videos to bribe her to nap. As I've been whining about lately, Goose is skipping a lot of naps. Yesterday she finally took one! She slept 3.5 hours! I was so excited, I let her watch a video. So today, she asked for one again and I told her she could watch after her nap. No nap, no video. I'm not quite sure she understood the concept, but it quickly became clear when she didn't get a video since she didn't take a nap. Here's hoping it works tomorrow...

Let's talk links, shall we?

These food face plates from At Second Street look like fun.

So easy, I almost feel like I should put it under "do" :>) is this toss & catch toy from Chasing Cheerios.

Cute AND educational - I am loving this counting felt fish game from Counting Coconuts.

Along those lines, Helping Little Hands has a very cute greater than-less than felt alligator game, and make sure you scroll down for the link to the flannel board slash puppet theater.

There is a great roundup of math activities at No Time For Flashcards. And a number math game, too!

A great tutorial on tab top panel curtains at Sew 4 Home.

Though I made a Swiffer duster out of microfiber, I like the looks of this reusable swiffer duster made from flannel at Sew Much Ado.

I admit I'm a sucker for things like this on-the-go felt book found at So You Think You're Crafty.

Since I still have a bazillion tomatoes in the freezer and no good recipe, I'm eyeing these spaghetti sauce recipes at Tipnut.

Found by a friend, I think this vegetable fettuccine sounds GOOOOOD, from Curtis Stone.

I'm not sure if I'd prefer this method over the Christmas eggs from a couple of weeks ago, but these fluffy scrambled eggs from the oven at Tipnut sound yummy.

This idea rocks! spaghetti pizza at Wisdom of the Moon - I've made spaghetti pie before, but I dig the cute little individual ones.

This tutorial at Mama's Laundry Talk on repairing elastic in cloth diapers is very well done, and not too hard for someone who is a beginner stitcher.

Tipnut lists some health and beauty uses for baking soda.

I like the looks of these Flip Along Fun books and there's a giveaway! And if you don't want to wait, note that there is a coupon code to take $3 off if you order one. (@ Bless Their Hearts Mom)

While I like to hand-write recipes that I give to others and I enjoy the ones I have that were written by people I love, I can see these customizable, printable recipe cards from Skip To My Lou as being very handy when mass producing.

I'm still giggling (and I bet Emily is, too!) over this welcome to spring post at Frugal Family Fun Blog. As Valerie says, "Tissue Paper + Pipe Cleaners + Fan = Happy Kiddo" :>)

Referencing the vegetable fettuccine recipe above, perhaps I ought to look at growing sugar snap peas this year, thanks to these tips from Budget Saving Mom. (Though I'm not quite sure - do you shell them or eat them whole?)

I just realized this might work well for us since we rent AND have old plaster and lath walls - how to make wallpaper decals at Apartment Therapy.

No Time For Flashcard's homemade kids' meal is also a good idea for those of us who live way too far from drive-throughs.

I got a big kick out of this leprechaun game at Chica and Jo. (OK, maybe it's all the candy that caught my eye, but it sure does look fun!)

Since I actually have had one request for a "featured on" button, this make your own bloggy button on Keeping the Kingdom First caught my eye. (Seeing and doing are pretty far apart, though. :>))

Here is a new sew method for patching jeans at Kelleigh Ratslaff Designs.

The National Catholic Register Resources page has some good links including the Top 100 Catholic Movies. I'm thinking I need to build up my Netflix list!

Since the month of March is devoted to St. Joseph, Shower of Roses has provided a printable St. Joseph memory match game. St. Joseph, pray for us!

This homemade word family game is a neat idea, and includes a long list of word families. I was interested to read in the comments that someone took a bit of issue with the ethics of taking paint sample strips in big quantities for things like this. The original poster noted that she has purchased quite a bit of paint from the store where she got the chips. I think this idea could be replicated on something else, though - cereal box, perhaps?

Here's one more home management journal project from Starry Sky Ranch.

Good thoughts for this girl who is trying to declutter, How Much Stuff Does One Man Need? at Get Rich Slowly.

More specifically, Parenting the Tiniest of Miracles has a great post on five steps to a pared down playroom.

In a transcript of a speech he gave, Archbishop Chaput of Denver explains The Vocation of Christians in American Public Life.

The Curious Lactivist wrote a great post on Giving Birth in The "Office" - there were a few things that *I'd* have written differently (they didn't ask me...) but there were a lot of things that were well-portrayed. I have to admit that my favorite part was where she referred to the nursing cover as "one of those over sized `hide a hooter' bibs". That gave me a giggle.

This is an old post from In the Heart of My Home, but On Being Intentional is something that I'd do well to re-read on an occasional-to-frequent basis. Same with Why Bother?

I looked this up to link to it elsewhere and had to share it here: Melissa Wiley wrote a post a few years ago called Delicious and Nutritious that led to the first tugging on my heart to homeschool. It's really worth the read!

Happy clicking!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Using "Buy It Now" to Sell on eBay

I'll admit I'm no professional when it comes to selling on eBay. I think I have somewhere around 50 pieces of feedback, and that includes BOTH buying and selling. So, this may be a bit anecdotal, but I can tell you that it has paid off for me in spades recently!

eBay is actually going to be changing their structure as of March 30, so the costs are going to be a little bit different. Even under the new fee structure, it will still cost only 50 cents to list an item with a "Buy It Now" option.

My experience using the "Buy It Now" option is pretty limited, no doubt about it. The first time I used it was a few months ago, when selling an old robotic arm toy that belonged to Hubs. We'd done some looking at other ones listed on eBay, and set our starting bid at $9.99, and just for fun, I put $19.99 on as the BIN price. It sold within a few days!

So, when I listed items from my 40 Bags Decluttering Challenge, I thought "what the heck" and put BIN options on many of them, ranging from $4.99 to $9.99. Out of 11 items, five sold using BIN. Another three have bids, which typically removes the BIN option, and three don't have bids any yet. I've made almost $30 by spending an extra quarter under the current fee system!

Another thing I try to keep in mind when determining at what price I list items is what I would pay for the item. If it really isn't worth that much, I list it low, usually 99 cents, or even 49 or 25 cents, and a time or two I've even listed at a penny, just to garner interest. I figure I can donate it, but it takes time and gas money to get it there, and this way it's going to someone who actually wants it. This time around, I even listed a DVD with free shipping. I looked at the other copies of the movie and noticed that there were several bids on one with free shipping, while several others had no bids at all. So far, I think I'm about even to where I'd have been listing it at 99 cents plus shipping, so I actually consider that to be ahead.

Do you have any tips for selling on eBay? Have you had much luck doing it? For more frugal ideas, visit Life As Mom.

40 Bags Update - Bags 15 - 22

So I'll try not to double post bags this time! I did that last post and then had a heck of a time getting the text right. ANYway, let's look at more stuff to go out the door.

Bag 15 - I found some of this stoneware on sale when I was just out of college and fell in love with the pattern. I bought several of the serving piece sets, and ended up not using them... turns out I don't entertain all that much. I kept a few pieces that I will actually use, but the rest went on eBay. So far, I have a watcher but no bids. The extra bowl is a pasta bowl we received as a wedding gift and have never used. My mom saw it and said she wanted it, so it's off to her house! If the dishes don't sell on eBay, I will donate them somewhere.

Bag 16 - Nothing terribly exciting here. I cleaned out my bathroom and threw away stuff that I should have tossed a long time ago. There were a few plastic items that I was able to recycle. I also removed several items that belonged elsewhere and returned them to their homes, using Nony at A Slob Comes Clean's Two Decluttering Questions to figure out where those homes should be.

Bag 17 - I've actually done pretty well at keeping my closet decluttered. As I've gotten rid of clothes, I've ended up with a surplus of hangers, and I finally realized they were taking up way too much space in the front of my closet! (Well, I move them to the front so I can easily find them to hang up clean clothes... Hubs just leaves them where they are. :>)) These went to a new home via Freecycle.

Bags 18, 19, 20 & 21 - These came from a cabinet above our bathtub. We are blessed to have two bathrooms - Hubs pretty much uses the one with the tub (and shares with the cats' food and litterbox) and I pretty much use the one with the shower. So I shove stuff in that cabinet and don't think about it again! I pulled everything out - Goose's bath stuff is in there, too - and only put back what needed to be there. The things that came out include two bags of small rugs which will either go to the Humane Society or the thrift shop, one bag that contained a shower curtain and a small vacuum that was freecycled, and one bag that was thrown away. It held the old sprayer head that leaked and part of the tub drain that my mom removed so that it actually would drain. (No, I'm not big on those sorts of details. Why do you ask? :>))

Bag 22 - Newspapers that I recycled. This seems like a no-brainer, I know. I actually discontinued our subscription because I've hardly read the paper since Goose was born. It was kind of a hard decision because I *wanted* to read the paper - I've always loved reading the daily news, and I've even subscribed to multiple papers at a time - the local one, one in my home town, a regional one, etc. When I'd spend a few weeks or a month traveling in Mexico, I'd have my papers held and then read them ALL when I got home. That's how dedicated I used to be. I got to the point where I'd just keep the last two weeks worth of papers so I could refer back if I needed to check something out, but after the very last two weeks had sat for a month, I knew it was time for them to just go.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Latest Baby Shower Gift

One of the blessings of having a big extended family is lots of opportunities to celebrate! I have two cousins expecting babies, and there is a shower this weekend for the one expecting her first. (Don't worry, I have a few things tucked away for the one who is expecting her second!)

Flannel burp cloths - while utilitarian plain white prefold cloth diapers get the job done, I loved using pretty burp rags! (I called my pretty flannel ones my "goin' to town" ones :>) though I hadn't figured out how to stitch my own yet at that point!) The cousin being showered doesn't know the gender of her baby, so I picked ones that are neutral. You can click on the link to see how I made them, and you can also click over to my Etsy shop from my sidebar to see what I have listed there.

This is probably my favorite crinkly taggie toy that I've made so far! Thanks to my sweet sister in law for fixing the photo for me! I love the way the ribbons pull colors out of the print. You'll notice I don't pay too much mind to keeping everything straight... I think it's better to be cheerful than perfect. :>) Plus, I prefer to spend my stitching time praying for the recipient than being cranky over ribbon that keeps creeping over - and I especially pray when the gift is for a new mama.

I suppose I'm biased, since I loved putting these on Goose so much, but I just love to give homemade baby leg warmers as baby gifts! I usually tell the recipient that they may not need them too much the first winter, when the baby wears a lot of sleepers. But when they start wearing pants and skirts/dresses, they sure come in handy! The link above is my attempt at explaining how to make them, or you can visit my Etsy shop by clicking the link in my sidebar to see all the styles I have available over there.

I also cleaned out Goose's closet and found some things that we loved but are no longer using that need to be passed along - think unopened bottles of baby lotion and baby powder, diaper cream, etc. I'm thinking that's going to count as a bag! (See the closet post for an enormous list of things that I gave to my cousin expecting her second baby when she had her first. It was the perfect way to "go shopping" without spending too much!)

This post will be submitted to: