Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cheap and Easy meals

Several of my friends have commented in the last week about how I am able to make cheap and easy meals. One couldn't believe how little we spend at the grocery store while another wanted to know how I am able to make quick meals around babies schedules and soccer practice. Since there has been so much talk about this subject in my life this week I thought I would share some of my menu plan for this week.

Day 1: Spaghetti with Meat sauce and Garlic bread.

  • Ground Turkey: $2.75
  • Spaghetti Sauce: $1.49
  • Garlic Bread: $2.30

Total: $6.54

Day 2: BBQ Brisket with Veggies

  • Brisket: $9.30
  • BBQ Sauce: $0.89
  • Veggies: Free (WIC)

Total: $10.19

Day 3: Fajitas with Salsa Rice

  • Tortillas: $3.80
  • Chicken: $3.76
  • Bell Peppers: $1.44
  • Onions: Pantry
  • Fajita Seasoning: Pantry
  • Rice: Pantry
  • Salsa: Pantry

Total: $9.00

Day 4: Meatball Sammys

  • Sub Sandwich bread: $3.29
  • Meatballs:$2.29
  • Mozzarella Cheese: Free (WIC)

Total: $5.58

Day 5: Pizza with Salad

  • Pizza: $3.25
  • Salad: $2.00

Total: $5.25

Day 6: Meatloaf with Mixed Veggies and Potatoes

  • Ground turkey: $2.75
  • Meatloaf Seasoning: $0.50
  • Mixed Veggies: Free (WIC)
  • Potatoes: $0.96

Total: $4.21

Day 7: Taco Soup

  • Ground turkey: $2.75
  • Beans: Free (WIC)
  • Frozen Corn: Free (WIC)
  • Tomatoes with Green Chilies: Pantry
  • Taco seasoning: $0.50
  • Ranch Dressing Mix: $1.11

Total: $4.36

So there you go this weeks dinners cost $45.13 which for the most part is pretty average for us for a week. Add into that our lunch costs for bread ($2.43 x 3 loafs =$7.29) and lunch meat/peanut butter ($5.98) plus random fruit ($8.43). Plus the kids waffles for breakfast ($1.75 x 5 boxes= $8.75). Adding all the numbers up and you get a weekly grocery total of $75.58

Now this is $75.58 for the essential groceries, my hubby does like to add in some chips, sodas, and other random junk food as well :) This gives us a total of about $85 a week.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

2 Week Grocery Challenge

We did it! We made it two whole weeks with out grocery shopping :)

We still had 1 loaf of bread, 2 gallons of milk, and 1 jar of peanut butter left over from our bulk shopping trip two weeks ago. Since we are going to be having company sometime in the next few days I went ahead and did the grocery shopping for the next two weeks today. Two hundred dollars later and we are all stocked up for two more weeks. We spent a little more this time around since we needed to stock-up on meat as well.

Can we stick to this shopping challenge for this two week period while having guests?? We shall see :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Twice a month shopping Update

So I promised to keep you all updated on how our twice a month shopping project was going. I know you have been sitting on the edge of your seats patiently waiting so here you go!

So far so good. I have only ran out of 1 thing so far and that was the tortillas needed to make Mexican lasagna. I know it is possible to make homemade tortillas and so that is on my list for this weeks projects. Just need to find a good whole wheat recipe.....

There has been one downside to only shopping once every two weeks....I thought I had been robbed! lol! Ok maybe not THAT dramatic but I did start to call my bank and report fraud on my bank account before I realized what was going on. See I had to go shopping last night for the rest of Hailey's school supplies as well as a birthday gift for a little girl my kids are friends with. When I got home I looked at my bank balance online to just double check the numbers. That is when I saw that the last charge on my card had been for $175 That got my attention pretty fast. Who has been using my card!! Then I looked at the date and it was from LAST week when I did the grocery shopping! I hadn't used the card in 7 days and that is VERY unusual over here. I have to say I am pretty happy about not using the card in 7 days I am just going to have to start looking at the dates on the statements instead of just assuming they have been within the last day or so like I have done in the past.

As for the grocery situation we are doing fine. Still plenty of everything and I wasn't greeted with the normal Saturday morning chant of "there is nothing in this house to eat"...I must say it was really nice to wake up to well fed people who didn't have any complaints ;) Now this coming Saturday might be another situation entirely, I think I got enough to last through to Sunday but we shall see. If not at least I will know what to change for the next trip.

I think I am hooked on this only shopping twice a month is very relaxing :)

Insulin Resistance Sucks

I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) after having Sara Beth and then having trouble conceiving again. Once I lost some weight though I was able to get my hormone levels under control and was able to conceive the twins. While pregnant with the twins I developed Insulin Resistance thanks to the PCOS. I had to go on a special diet and was no longer able to eat sugar, refined carbs (white bread, white pasta, etc), as well as having to eat protein anytime I wanted to eat a complex carb. The hope was that after the twins were born my body would start to recognize the insulin again and everything would go back to normal. Yeah, didn't happen.

I have spent the last 6 mths eating as a *normal* person would. At first it was simply a matter of survival, I ate what didn't eat me first just to stay alive in those long first weeks. Then it became habit, after all I felt fine and I no longer had little people inside of me counting on me to maintain my blood sugar levels.

During the last week though I have started to feel *off* again. It is hard to describe to someone who hasn't felt it. It is like drinking a half a bottle of wine in 5min. Your head starts to swim, you get uncoordinated, and it is like you are trying to think through a fog. I knew something was wrong but I was in denial. Yesterday though I had to admit something was really off and tested my blood sugar....yeah I was through the roof.

I made a decision right then that I have to get this under control for ME not because I have little people inside me counting on me. The risks of allowing this to continue are huge. I could develop full blown diabetes, heart problems, etc.

So here we are on day 1 of returning to a low GI diet....I don't want to especially since we have a birthday party to go to in a few hours and I would LOVE to have some cake! On a good note though this should help me feel SO much better as well as lose some of this baby weight that has been refusing to budge.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Twice a month grocery shopping.

I have blogged before about trying twice a week shopping, but was always hindered by the lack of freezer space. Now that I have my new chest freezer I am giving it a try again! I went to the store on Saturday and *think* I got everything we need for two weeks. My shopping cart was literally overflowing and I looked like a crazy lady trying to maneuver it through the store. Half the time I just gave up and left it parked at the end of aisles while I ran down to get something, it was just to much trouble to push! I don't know if I will ever be able to do once a month shopping just because I won't be able to get two overflowing shopping carts through the store! :)

So here is my partial grocery list for these coming two weeks....
6 Boxes of strudels for Hubby
10 Boxes of waffles for the kiddlets
6 Boxes of cereal
4 cases of Sprites
6 loafs of bread
3 Jars of Peanut butter
2 Packs of Toilet Paper
5 gallons of milk
4 Bags of chips
Plus all the odds and ends needed for dinners

Grand total came to $180.

I normally spend $120-150 per week on groceries so this is a MAJOR improvement. I was walking down the aisle with my little calculator adding everything up as I went to make sure I didn't go over $300, looks like I didn't need to worry ;)

I told my hubby when I had him add his wants to the grocery list that I refused to go back to the store for two weeks and to make sure he got the amounts he felt he needed. So now to stick to my word and not go back.

I will let you all know how it goes as the weeks progress :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Raising a child with PDD-NOS

I have blogged before about my special needs daughter. She has had a rough road over her short life at age 3 she was classified as *severely delayed* in ALL the categories of development. After many years of therapy and anxiety she is now classified as *high functioning*. I have been reading a book about raising children with high functioning autism and it has really made me think about the way my daughter sees the world. I think to get a real view of what her life now is like you have to take a step back to the beginning.....

Hailey was born in May of 2004, she was our honeymoon souvenir and although she came into our new marriage fairly quickly she was very much wanted and planned for. While we wanted her desperately my pregnancy with her was horrible. I was extremely sick, to the point of not being able to work, drive, or even sit up straight without being sick. After 8 mths of morning sickness I finally started to feel better, only to deliver her two weeks later at 38 weeks. After a quick and easy labor and delivery there she was, a screaming healthy little girl. But wait I am told she isn't the right color and I am not going to be allowed to hold her, she has to go right to the nursery for observation. I did finally get to hold her for literally a minute before she was whisked away. I did not see my child again for 12 hours. They tell me she didn't suffer any damage from being the "wrong color" but I have my doubts knowing what I know now.

Fast forward a few weeks and we come to find out that the bouncing baby girl that I have brought home from the hospital has colic, no wait make that a allergy to her formula. Once we found out that we were literally poisoning our child with a formula she was allergic to and switched her to a hypo-allergenic one things got mildly better. She stopped screaming non-stop for hours, stopped projectile vomiting every where, and she could poop like a normal child for the first time. But it didn't solve everything she still didn't sleep, she still hated to be touched, and forget about making eye contact and "talking" to us. She wasn't what society sees as a "normal" child. As a first time mother though I didn't see these things as being warning signs, after all I had never done this before I didn't know what a "normal" child was supposed to be doing.

At 18 mths I started to notice that something wasn't right. The few words she had developed were gone, she didn't make eye contact, and she never responded when spoken to not even when we said her name. Following many sleepless nights where I wrestled with my ego I finally called for a appointment to get her evaluated for a delay. They tested her and everything came back at the low end of normal. We were given the option of starting therapy if we wanted but it wasn't necessary after all she was still young and all children develop at different rates. I left that appointment feeling like a over reactive mother.

At 2 1/2 years old I knew in my gut that something was terribly wrong. She still had no functional words, she still didn't know her own name, and the world would disintegrate if we changed her routine even by a small amount. She was extremely anxious in public and couldn't stand to be touched by anyone, even me. The major warning sign to me was that while she couldn't ask for a glass of milk she could repeat line by line a whole cartoon. This phenomenon is called echolalia, where children can repeat everything they hear but can not use the words functionally, and is very common in children with autism. I made the call again and this time the evaluators came to my house and worked with Hailey. I could tell by the looks on their faces that there was something really wrong with my child. When I received the report I understood, my daughter was determined to be severely delayed in every category of development. Talk about a soul wrenching report to read. As a first time parent I am sure you can understand how I felt. I just knew that I had in some way *broken* my child. The evaluator later told me that her case was so serious that he didn't know how the first evaluator missed it. Great thanks for that!

Hailey started undergoing in home therapy the very next week and continued to do so every week until she turned 3 years old. At this point she was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental delay - Not otherwise Specified). At that point she had to start attending a special needs preschool 3 times a week and then a main stream preschool the rest of the week so that she could learn from her "normal" peers. She has been in therapy for over a year with no improvement when one day on the way home from her special needs preschool she said quite clearly "Mama I can't reach". Let me tell you I almost wreaked the car! She had finally spoken functional speech! It was not all downhill from there but it was the first hurtle.

After many many more therapy sessions we received wonderful news our child no longer qualified for special needs sessions anymore. While this was a wonderful evaluation and what we had been working towards for years it was also very scary for me as a parent. While in a special needs situation my child was normal, and actually most of the time my child was above normal because she was high functioning. But in a mainstream classroom she was going to be anything but normal. Things that other children take for granted can cause my child to have soul shattering anxiety. Who would cater to her anxiety and help her through situations that caused her to panic? Who would go over and over and over the specific directions so that she would understand? The list goes on and child may not need a special needs class anymore but she wasn't ready for a mainstream one either. She was caught somewhere in the middle and I knew she was either going to suffer a extreme setback or she was going to grow in a way that could only happen my forcing her to learn more coping mechanisms. What was I to do? Send her to kindergarten of course, what else could I do?

When dealing with a child with PDD-NOS there are certain coping mechanisms that you as a parent learn. One that I learned really quickly was that if we were going to change her routine we had to tell her about it WELL in advance. For weeks we talked about going to kindergarten, right down to the smallest detail. Then we did several dry runs where she got to experience the school without ever leaving my side. Finally it came time for her first day. I walked through the whole morning routine with her and settled her at her desk. I told her I loved her and walked away. This wasn't her first time away from me and in a classroom, but this was her first time in a new classroom and that is always a situation that can cause a extreme melt down. I am told that those first few weeks she was in her shell, she didn't speak to anyone, didn't play with the other children, didn't make eye contact, and wouldn't answer any questions. Eventually she started get used to her new routine and began to interact with the teacher and the other children. One thing though continued to haunt her for months. The toilet at the school was outside the classroom and was extremely loud. Seriously it made ME flinch and I didn't have sensory issues to deal with. Hailey would sob at night not to make her got back to school the next day because of that toilet. Eventually after going through dry run after dry run the teacher and I finally got her to the point of being able to use the bathroom without sobbing and having nightmares at night. While she was able to function in the mainstream kindergarten many of her issues are still there. She still can not stand to be touched (she has actually never hugged me in her entire life), loud noises and crowded situations cause her to panic, new situations have to be explained to her in detail, she still has major textural issues when eating, and directions have to be extremely specific.

When it came time for the end of the year review I waited on pins and needles. What would the teacher say? Was she ready for first grade? Had she improved enough academically to progress? Was it possible for her to actually thrive in a mainstream classroom? When the day came I was not surprised that the teacher recommended holding her back based on the fact that she was not able to read all 20 of the sight words. After talking with other parents who home schooled their children I came to the conclusion that reading and sight words is more developmentally appropriate for a 6 yr old. So after much discussion we decided to push her through to first grade this fall. Can she do it? Can she keep up in first grade? I honestly don't know, but then I didn't know if she could handle kindergarten and she did it with flying colors.

My child will always be different, she will always be quirky and special, but she will also always be my child and I wouldn't trade a moment of our past. Yes it was hard and yes it was painful but it was our history and it has made us both the people we are today. Many of our family members have expressed surprise that we chose to have more children after seeing her issues, after all she was not a easy child. I say how can you look at that sweet face and not want more children just like her?

Friday, July 16, 2010

My Husband Doesn't Get Me.

Seriously he doesn't get me at all! Not that I can say I blame him I don't really understand his hobbies either. You know that old saying "opposites attract" well we prove that true. Tonight I am playing with my new toy, a pressure canner, and my husband thinks I have lost my mind. Seems that since I am canning beans he thinks I have gone off the deep end ;) I on the other hand am feeling very self sufficient and productive. Once I was sure I wasn't going to blow myself up it became quite fun! So here is my new toy in action :)
I decided to start with kidney beans since I had a ton of them from WIC and I am so not a fan of remembering to soak and cook beans before use. I have not tried them yet but if they turn out like they should I will be ecstatic :)
And here is the poor guy...doesn't he just look tortured? :)

Cloth Diaper Maintenance

Cloth diapers are a very economical choice for many people, especially for those with multiple children in diapers at one time. While cloth diapers are over all pretty much exactly the same to use as disposable diapers there are some things that are different. One thing that is very different is the usage of diaper rash creams. There are very few that are safe for use with cloth diapers this is not usually a issue, you find a cream that works well and you stick with it for the length of time your child is in diapers. There are however times when you must use a different cream, one that is not safe for use with cloth. What to do then?

My youngest two children developed a pretty bad case of diarrhea a few weeks ago which resulted in a bacterial and yeast infection on their little butts. After several different Dr appointments and even more prescription creams they are finally doing better and almost healed. The problem is that even with a disposable diaper liner there was still some contamination on the diapers resulting in non-absorbent diapers. Now while cloth diapers are economical to use, they become some what less economical when you have to replace your entire stash. Stripping the diapers on the other hand is a great way to make your diapers like new for very little money and some elbow grease.

The first step in the process is to get some REALLY hot water in the kitchen sink. My water heater was not able to get the water as hot as I needed thanks to solar power so I boiled some water and added to the sink with a few Tablespoons of dish soap. Add the diapers to the mix and let soak till the water cools enough for you to be able to put your hands in the water.
Once the water is cool enough for you to put your hands in you will notice the water has turned cloudy. That is all the *stuff* that was accumulated in the fabric. In my case diaper rash creams...
Once you can handle the diapers you take a nail brush and more dish washing liquid and scrub, scrub, scrub. Once all the diapers are done toss them into the washing machine on hot with 1 more Tablespoon of dish washing liquid. Send the diapers through as normal being sure to check during the rinse cycle for bubbles if you see bubbles like in the picture below you need to keep up the rinses. It took me 4 rinse cycles to get clear water.

And there you go you now have stripped diapers :) I am very happy to say that my diapers are now as absorbent as the day I bought them....the Velcro on the other hand....well that is another post ;)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Freezers and loans :)

I have very exciting news to announce. In my ever continuing attempt to cut our grocery bill we have finally taken the plunge and bought a chest freezer! Now I know this isn't exactly stop the presses type of news but it is pretty exciting for me! I have wanted a chest freezer for years but had convinced myself that we couldn't afford to get one. For the last few months I have been socking away $40 towards my freezer fund. This month we finally took the plunge and bought it! We got a great deal thanks to the aafes website. I have cleared out a spot for it and re-organized my stockpile in preparation for its to just wait on pins and needles for it to get here. Once it arrives I am going to attempt twice a month grocery shopping once again. I found when we did the twice a month grocery shopping in the past that it saved us a ton of money, the only problem was that we didn't have enough freezer space for all the meat and such. Our problem should definitely be solved now! I will be sure to keep you all updated on our progress!

On another front we are down to our last debt, our car loan. I am proud to announce that in the last 3 months we have managed to pay $3,700 towards the principle! Talk about debt snowballing that is practically a debt snowman! Makes me ill to think that in the past all of that money would have been slipping through our fingers every month with nothing to show for it. If we are able to keep up the intensity and have no major Murphy moments in the near future we should have it paid off by the first of the year....2011 is looking like a good year to me! Then it is on to saving for a house :) Our major goal is to have at least 50% down on a house when hubby retires from the military in 15 years. That will also be the time when our children start leaving for college so hopefully we will be able to buy a smaller house than we would need now saving us even more money ;)

I have been slacking.....

Not in real life but here on my blog ;) Gotta get my booty back into posting since it helps to keep me honest with my debt/frugal progress.

Quick family update....
Sara Beth has become quite the little dare devil! There is nothing this child fears :) Here we have her riding her first horse:

Hailey just turned 6 and we had a wonderful party for her at the beach on base. I was able to rent out the entire private beach with a personal lifeguard for $125. My mother ended up paying for the beach (Thanks again mom!) so my only out of pocket expenses were for the food...$20 on fruit alone! But at least it all got eaten so there was no waste :) My poor $15 cake completely melted in the was quite comical!

My little girls are all grown up! Well at least they think they are :) They are now 4mths old and are getting big...Emma 10lbs 6oz, Lacy 8lbs 13oz! They are finally sleeping through the night, well most nights, and are getting ready to start solids soon. Not looking forward to the hit my grocery budget is about to take but getting excited about taking this next step with them. Lacy is now rolling over and getting quite mobile while Emma is still content to be a little bump on a log. The are both laughing now which makes life so much more fun over here!

Here we have Lacy:
And here is Emma:

Ok there is a quick family update. I promise to get a post up soon about how we are doing on our financial/frugal journey, I can say though that we are making some great progress :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My little ones :)

The twins are now 3mths old :) That is Emma on the left and Lacy on the right.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Simple Moments

There are so many simple moments through out our childrens lives that we as parents never really pay attention to. When raising a special needs child those moments no longer exist, there are no more simple moments every moment is compicated and unexpected. The things that are old hat to most children become anxiety filled tests of perserverence for the special needs child. Everything from flushing the toilet to going out in public causes tears and major drama.

My oldest daughter has PDD-NOS a type of you know how many years it took me to be able to say that statement without crying? How many sleepless nights I spent trying to figure out how to solve her latest anxiety inducing incident? It honestly took me 6mths of constant work to get her to simply step into a public bathroom stall alone let alone go potty and flush the toilet on her own that took several more months and several relapses all while her peers had long ago mastered the skill.

Today though we had a rare moment, a moment where she was able to experience what normal childhood should be. Today my daughter ran off ahead of me with her friend, shared a chocolate bar and giggled as they ran in the grass. For most of you this would be a moment of annoyance that they had run off, or that they were going to ruin their dinner but for me it was a huge milestone.

My child who has been glued to my side in a panic while in public actually ran off without me with only a few fearful looks thrown over her shoulder every now and then to make sure I was still following. My child who can not eat 90% of foods because the texture makes her vomit shared food with her friend. My child who couldn't stand the texture of grass for the longest time was running in the grass.

Now it may have been a simple moment for most other children but to us it was a very rare moment in time where she was able to glimpse a normal childhood. I as a mother can only hope that this is the beginning of some independence and self reliance while at the same time struggling with the thought that my child who has needed me more than most may actually be growing up. *sniff*

Sunday, April 11, 2010


As many of you know I am always on the lookout for things to do from home that earn me a little money. I have tried all the survey, product review, and other gimmicky things out there and none of them work. They all take forever and at the most all you receive for your time is $0.50 now really my time is worth MUCH more than $0.50! So when I read about swagbucks on another blog I was sceptical to say the least but it was a blog I trust so I decided to give it a try. It was simple to use I just downloaded the toolbar and used it for my searches instead of google...that is it no surveys no e-mails to read just do your regular searches and every so often you win swag bucks :) Now once you get so many swagbucks saved up you can go to their store and buy things with them. So far since using the toolbar I have gotten $20 worth of gift certificates! Now no it isn't a lot but it is $20 I didn't have before and it was $20 that I didn't have to do anything for :) You all should definitely check it out if you have not already :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

New Quilt Project

I am happy to say that I am almost finished piecing Hailey's quilt :) I picked out the Fabric with her taste in mind and it has almost been my downfall since she is constantly trying to steal my squares because she thinks they are so pretty. Here she is proudly showing it off....
I just got the batting today so I should be able to start quilting it this week :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cloth Wipes

Amazingly enough when you are diapering two babies you need twice as many wipes...shocking I know :) I didn't realize this fact until I started running out of wipes constantly though! I blame it on lack of sleep, lol.
Thinking that it would just be easiest to buy some cloth wipes I started looking at prices and was shocked at how much they are! They charged $1.25 per wipe, for 12 wipes that would have been $15 and that was without shipping charges. I decided to make my own wipes using some 100% cotton hand towels I was able to find on base for $1.99 each. I bought two towels and was able to make 12 wipes for $0.33 per wipe. All it took was breaking out my sewing machine and doing a simple zig-zag stitch around the edge to prevent unraveling. From start to finish it took me about an hour but then I kept getting up to start/restart the diapers in the wash so it probably actually took me half that time.
Now some of you may be wondering where the wipes I have came from to begin with. Years ago when I started cloth diapering Sara Beth I knew nothing about cloth wipes and decided to buy one of those cloth wipes starter kits....yeah huge waste of money! I bought it thinking I needed the cloth wipes solution to put in the wipes don't think I used it more than twice. I actually found the still full bottle in a closet the other day when I was looking for something else. For us plain old water works just fine and is much more cost efficient especially when you go through two boxes of cloth wipes a day.

While we are talking about cloth diaper accessories I thought I would also let you all know about my favorite cloth diaper safe diaper rash cream. Northern Essence has a wonderful all natural diaper rash cream. I actually am still using the same cream I bought for Sara Beth on the twins. This stuff lasts forever, smells great, and works wonders on little butts.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pre-folds versus Bumgenius 3.0's

So the twins are growing at an astonishing rate lately and have begun to outgrow their prefolds. While researching which diaper style to go with next I decided to go with the Bumgenius 3.0's since I was able to find some really good deals for used lots on eBay. We tried our first Bumgenius 3.0's last night and I am ready to give my review ;)

Bumgenius 3.0 Pocket Diapers


  • By having the wet insert stay in the outer waterproof shell of the diaper there is no wet insert to touch.
  • No need for a snappi which while easy to use is sharp and I do end up stabbing myself with it at least once a day.
  • No leaks even though the girls slept for 6 hours straight in it. Since the insert was so thin I was expecting it to leak but not a drop got out.
  • No tucking in around the legs or back to make sure there wasn't any wicking, just put it on and go.
  • Thin and not bulky at all. I was expecting it to be bulky on Lacy who is only 6lbs. A diaper that is meant for 7-35lbs just seems like it would be bulky on the newborn setting but it really wasn't thanks to the pocket design.


  • The Velcro was crazy tight it took major muscle to get the tab off of the washing setting to use. Not a big deal if you know this BEFORE you have it on the baby!
  • Diapers have to be stuffed when removed from the dryer...just one more little time drain in the day.
  • You can not reuse the cover and have to have a new cover for each diaper change during the day.



  • Slim fitting on the baby
  • Drys very quickly
  • Cheap, at $1.00 per pre-fold there isn't a cheaper diaper out there
  • Very absorbent
  • Easy to use and takes no extra steps once dried
  • You can reuse the covers multiple times, sometimes one cover all day.


  • You have to touch the wet pre-fold to remove it from the cover. Not a big deal during the day but at night that sucker gets REALLY wet :(
  • You have to use a snappi which is easy but sharp and my fingers are usually a victim at least once a day
  • You have to tuck the pre-fold in to the cover around the legs and back, not a big deal but a already screaming baby doesn't enjoy being manhandled to get the back tucked.

So what is my final verdict?? Honestly I am indifferent at this point, there are pro's and con's of each system and I am not in love with one over the other. Both function equally well and serve the purpose they were bought for. We will be moving to the Bumgenius once the twins out grow their pre-folds and I honestly can say I am excited to be DONE buying diapers FOREVER! :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I hate TV

Since becoming a parent I have developed a love hate relationship with my TV. Yes it is nice to have something besides myself keep the kids occupied when I need to be doing something non child friendly but the negative aspects are about to outweigh the positives in my household. As it stands the kids are only allowed to watch PBS on live TV and a few recorded shows off of the other channels. I really like PBS as everything they show is educational my problem is with the commercials. Even with PBS there are commercials for this or that....I feel like I am raising materialistic children and it is starting to get to me. Every commercial that comes on I hear "I want that..." "I want this.." "I can't live without that...." .

I just wish there was a way to edit out the commercials! Wouldn't that be wonderful :) Not that it is going to happen the people who pay for said commercials would put the kibosh on anything that prevents their product from being shown but it is nice to dream :) I am trying to teach my children that there are other things in life than plastic stuff I just wish that the world wasn't working against me!

Pantry Challenge Update

So we are halfway through March and we are doing pretty well on our pantry challenge! So far we have spent $139 leaving us $161 for the rest of the month :)

It is truly amazing the difference you can make in your grocery bill simply by paying attention to what you have and not buying unnecessary items on a whim. Take last month for example I sent my husband to the store to get the items he couldn't live without for the month. He came home with $130 worth of pure junk....soft drinks, deli sliced cheese, toaster strudels, etc. The man couldn't find a bargain if he was locked in a room with it! When he told me how much he spent I about had a heart attack! Fast forward to this month and I sent him on the same shopping trip after having a talk with him about brand name items. This month he came home with an equal amount of junk but this time he spent $26...much better!

Our pantry is doing pretty well....I am going to need to get some more meat next week but other than that I think we are sitting pretty :) There are several items in my pantry that I am trying to figure out how to use such as cans of salmon (thanks WIC) and TONS of beans. I have managed to use up the majority of our surplus of 5 DOZEN eggs so at least I am making headway on one stockpile.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Whole Wheat Pancakes -Pantry Recipe-

Anyone who knows my children knows that we go through a obscene amount of frozen chocolate chip pancakes! Two boxes a week at least and that is being conservative :(
This month we are doing a pantry challenge so no more buying frozen pancakes and lets face it my kids are not going to suddenly start eating oatmeal. So that left homemade pancakes but as a mother of 4 children under 6yrs old I don't have the time to make pancakes from scratch in the mornings. That leaves making my own frozen pancakes. In an attempt to trick my children in to eating healthier I made whole wheat chocolate chip pancakes :) and then froze them individually. They are just as simple to thaw in a toaster and taste wonderful :)

Whole Wheat Pancakes
4c. Whole wheat flour
8tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Salt
4tsp Sugar
4 eggs
4c. Milk
8T Vegetable Oil
Mix all ingredients and make as normal but before you flip for the first time sprinkle with chocolate chips :)
Here they are all done....One batch makes about 40 pancakes.
Then once they are all done place them on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen place in a freezer bag and thaw in the toaster when ready to eat.
Of course I couldn't help myself I had to do a cost analysis on homemade frozen pancakes versus store bought.
Homemade: $3.65 for 40
Store Bought: $12 for 40
That is a savings of $25 for one month in our house or $300 for a year!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

2mth check-up

My little girls are now 2 mths old! Hard to believe it has already been 2 mths :) They had their check-up this morning and are growing well.

Emma 7lbs 10oz (was 4lbs 15oz at birth)

Lacy 6lbs (was 3lbs 14oz at birth)

They are both small for 2mth old babies but they are growing well and Emma is almost on the growth curve :)
Lacy on the left and Emma on the right

Sunday, March 7, 2010

March Grocery Challenge

For the month of March I am challenging myself to do a pantry challenge. A pantry challenge is simply put a attempt to eat solely out of your pantry only buying fresh items as needed. Our pantry has become a little to stocked as of lately and if I try to get one more thing in my freezer it may explode! lol! S0 for me this is a great way to get everything cleaned out, learn some new recipes, and save some money.

For this month I am giving myself $300 instead of the usual $500 for groceries and toiletries.

3/5 Commissary $56
3/9 Commissary $27

$217 Left :)

The pre-fold Cloth diaper results

As those who have kept up with my blog know I decided to go with pre-folds and covers this time around instead of the All-in-one diapers that we used in the past. Since we only needed to buy diapers for the first 6mths then we are going to be able to use the AIO's that we already purchased for our older children we wanted the cheapest solution for the interim. I had never used pre-folds before and it was quite the learning curve :) First off we had to wait until the girls were 2 mths old to even try them since the girls were to small to wear them in the beginning. Once they were big enough to wear them it took me several attempts to get the correct folding technique down so that they fit the covers, didn't leak, and didn't have any wicking. Once we got the folding down everything got much easier :)

*Cheap to purchase
*Easy to dry
*Very soft and absorbent

* You have to handle the wet insert to remove it unlike a AIO where you don't touch the inside
* You have to manhandle the baby to make sure everything is tucked into the cover at the legs and back.

Would I buy them again? Yep they are easy to use and don't take much more time to put on than an AIO would. I have some pics of Lacy wearing her first cloth diaper that I will have to put up soon.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

2009 results and 2010 goals

Anyone who has read my blog knows that I am a supporter of simplifying our lives and steering away from this consumer driven madness we have found ourselves in. Do we really need all this stuff?? There are so many new and improved gadgets out there that if we upgraded every time a new option came available we would find ourselves in a never ending buying spiral, and sadly that is what has happened to many people. We as a society are so worried about keeping up with our neighbors that we don't stop and think what we really want and need.... It has been a year since we started this path to simplicity and while we do not in any way shape or form have it all figured out I thought I would share our success with you all.

In 2009 we were able to pay off:
Credit Cards: $12,000
Part of Student Loan : $6,000
TOTAL DEBT PAID: $18,000!!!

In 2010 we have paid off:
Rest of Student Loan: $2,500

As you can see we are well on our way to financial independence and I couldn't be happier with our results. How did we do it??? Simple we stopped buying STUFF! I am not talking about the basics our children still get clothing when they out grow something, we still buy plenty of food for our family (a little to much if the bathroom scale is any indication!), we go out as a family and enjoy ourselves. When I say stuff I mean the random junk that you don't need to survive or be happy the stuff that ends up in the closet collecting dust a month after you bought it. When we first looked at our spending habits a year ago I was shocked to see that we spent over $500 a month on stuff and I honestly couldn't tell you what we bought! By giving each other a allowance of $100 a month Bry and I are still able to buy the things we feel we need (outside of the necessities) while not breaking the bank. Once we started seeing that debt start to drop dramatically it was a feeling we couldn't explain and we were more than willing to find other ways to cut expenses so that we could watch it fall even faster :) Right now our debt payment is $1,245 a month and we as a family are not feeling the least bit pinched at that amount. We still have plenty to live on and are so much happier learning to live a more simple life :)

Our Goal for 2010 is to pay off our Van and be completely debt free!!! With our current debt repayment plan we should be debt free by February 2011 but of course we are going to work our butts off not to go into another new year with debt. We could pay it off a whole lot sooner but we are planning a trip home in June for my brothers wedding and as well all know people and relationships need to come before the almighty dollar so we will gladly add a few months to our debt repayment in order to pay cash to go home and see my baby brother walk down the aisle :)

2010 Goals:
*Pay off Van loan ($15,000)
*Attend Brothers wedding paying 100% cash ($5,000)

What about you all what are your goals for 2010 and how did you do in 2009?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How does your garden grow.....

OK so maybe I am the only one gardening right now but I would love to hear about your plans for your garden once the mainland starts to thaw!

So far my tomatoes are about hip high and had to be staked, still no blooms but I am expecting them any day now :)

My cucumbers have about 4 leaves each and are about 3in high, can't wait for them to hit a growth spurt. I am not sure how they are going to do since they are in a corner of the yard that doesn't get much sun, but my yard is so small that there really wasn't much choice for the location.

My bell peppers are doing well and some of them have actually started to bloom, one seems to be doing better than the others and is double the size....not sure what is going on there maybe it is getting more sun than the others???

Onions are starting to sprout and are looking good :)

Carrots are sprouting and about an inch tall :)

Strawberries are about 4in high and one is blooming, these are a total pain since they will not really start producing till next year but I still have to keep them alive this year :)

My herb garden is still waiting to sprout, we shall see how it does once the little guys are up. There is dill, coriander, rosemary, creeping thyme, Italian parsley, and chives in there and I am looking forward to seeing them all start growing!

I still have more to do but I am having to work with just an hour or two on the weekends when Bry can take care of the twins. I am going to put in 2 more beds, one will have zucchini and squash in the back and cabbage and lettuce in the front and the other will be for potatoes.

I recently read a great book called The Backyard Homestead and it is a wonderful resource. The premise of the book is that you can grow all the food you need on a 1/2 an acre with sections of the book dedicated to smaller gardens. Now my backyard is WAY smaller than even the 1/8 an acre option in the book but it is still a good resource, although I skipped the sections on raising chickens, rabbits, and cattle....not quite ready for THAT! lol! It lists every fruit, vegetable, and edible/medicinal herb going into detail on how to grow it, how to preserve it, and then how to use it :) I learned quite a bit about things such as drying herbs (who knew you could do it in the microwave?!) and how to make flavored oils....seriously you should check it out!

I will get some pics up soon :)

Busy Busy do you manage?

We are all busy...we all have things that have to be done and only so much time to do said tasks, but how do you do it? I thought I was busy before the twins was I delusional! Now if I have time to go to the bathroom alone I think I have it made :) As I type this I have a million tasks that need to be completed around the house but I also have a fussy baby who needs her momma so I am sitting on the couch with a baby on my chest staring at me and making cute faces (good thing I learned to type without looking at the keyboard along time ago!). I though since I was bolted to the couch I would list some of my tricks I have learned over the last few weeks for getting it all done when it seems like you are in constant demand.

Let me start by saying that my twins were to small to breastfeed the normal way so we are pumping and bottle feeding the milk so that affects how I budget my time. It takes 2min to warm the water in the microwave for the bottles of milk per feeding then another 3-4min per bottle for the milk to reach the proper temperature. So every 3 hours I have 8-10 min of available time to either stare into space or do something productive.

Per 10min available time I can:
* Put dinner in the crockpot. I obviously do this at the 8am feeding and it is a lifesaver by the end of the day! Even if the actual dinner isn't crockpot appropriate there is always some part of the dinner that is. Take tonight's dinner for example I am making a chicken pot pie, now this isn't a crockpot meal but I was able to use my crockpot to cook the chicken breasts so that they will be done when I am ready to assemble everything. (simply put the frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot in the morning with a little chicken stock and cook on low all day).
*Hand wash anything that can't go in the dishwasher (11am feeding)
*Gather up the laundry (2pm feeding)
*Start the dishwasher (5pm feeding)
*Clean up after dinner mess (8pm feeding)
*Start the laundry (11pm feeding)
*Fold a load of laundry (2am feeding)
*Empty the dishwasher (5am feeding)

There you go my daily ritual to keep up with my housework and still be able to take care of my kiddos.

I also have to pump after each feeding (takes 20min) and use this time to do things that I have to be stationary for such as online banking, returning calls, making up my meal plans for the week, writing out my grocery lists, etc.

What about you all? What are your tricks for saving time and getting everything done when there doesn't seem to be enough time in the day?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Birth Announcement

Thought I would share the twins birth announcement with you all :)

I can't wait to actually get them so I can mail them out to everyone....just to cute!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Our twins are here :)

We were induced on the 6th due to Lacy's growth restriction. We were able to have a natural delivery thanks to both babies being head down at the time of induction. Emma was born head first at 3:33am on the 7th, Lacy did a back flip and came out as a Frank Breech at 3:36am. Both babies are healthy and home with their big sisters :)

Emma 4lbs 15oz

Lacy 3lbs 14oz

Monday, January 4, 2010

35 weeks...

Thought I should probably update my belly pic....this is at 35 weeks :)And here is one where I am looking slightly better...this one is 32 weeks on our way to hubby's Christmas Party :)
As of our last growth scan at 33 weeks Baby A (Emma) was 4lbs 3oz and Baby B (Lacy) was 3lbs 9oz. We are having another growth scan on 1/6 to check-up on Lacy and maybe having an induction that day depending on how she is growing! I am excited and terrified at the same time, lol! I am VERY ready to have my little ones here in my arms but more than a little anxious about caring for 2 such small newborns!


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