Thursday, May 31, 2012


My sweet husband sent me this picture today that he took while working, along with a text that said:
"Our marriage is like this.  Some times are rough but when you take a good look at it, it's really beautiful"
My heart melted :) How thoughtful and true is that?!  All marriages are hard and take a lot of work, but we need to always remember why we got married in the first place, and remember all those beautiful things about our spouse that we love.  If it weren't for our trials, I don't think we'd really appreciate the great times.  So thankful for a loving husband that I get to spend eternity with.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Eliminating the unncessary

Society makes you think that when you have a child you first need to have a bassinet for them, then a crib, then a toddler bed, then a full or twin bed.  Wow, that is a lot of furniture, and A LOT of money!  Here in my household we have a much different opinion.  When our son was born we had a very very tiny one bedroom, so of course he slept in our room.  We had a crib only because it was a family crib of my in-laws that they let us use.  When we moved and our son outgrew his crib we started looking around for a bed.  Both my husband and I saw no use in  a toddler bed because when he outgrew that we'd have to buy yet another bed.  We knew we wanted more children so we decided the best route to go was to get a bunk bed.  Best decision ever!!  

 Our son can use this bed well into his teenage years, and then we have an extra bed for guests.  Because we didn't have a lot of storage space we decided to completely set up the bunk bed, but instead of setting up two beds, we use the top bunk as a loft for our son to play with his cars and toy trains.  He loves to climb up there to play and it saves on floor space.  My husband just cut out a piece of plywood the size of the bed, then covered it with some old carpet.  Very stable (even for me) and lots of fun for our son and his friends.
So, if you're deciding on whether or not to get a toddler bed.....I say no!  Go the bunk bed route and save some money in the long run!

P.S. The only advice I'd give in buying bunk beds is to buy really good quality, sturdy ones, even though they will be quite a bit more it makes all the difference in the world!  We didn't have a lot of money at the time, so we just bought this set form Walmart.  We've moved a few times since then and they have gotten pretty banged up.  I really wish we would have bought the set that Deseret Industries sells (in their line of brand new furniture).

Saturday, May 26, 2012

How to keep strawberries fresh longer

I LOVE strawberries, but am famous for not eating them all before they go bad.  Here is a really simple and quick way to make your strawberries last twice as long!
 Mix 1 part distilled white vinegar and 10 parts water (I did 1 cup vinegar, 10 cups water).
Let strawberries soak in vinegar and water for about 3-4 minutes.  The vinegar kills any mold spores and bacteria that cause the strawberries to rot.
 Drain, then store in uncovered container in fridge. I cut the lid off the original container from store so I didn't have to dirty another dish.
And there you have it, another simple way to save some money, and some food!  Oh, and no worries, your strawberries will NOT taste like vinegar.

Remember, if you love it, PIN IT!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pregnancy 101: Advice for new Moms

 Just for fun, here's a comparison picture from my 2 pregnancies

26 weeks pregnant with my son



25 weeks pregnant with my daughter

Let me start this post by saying that I do not consider myself an expert at pregnancy/motherhood, but I'm hoping that since I've gone through one (and almost 2!) complete pregnancies that I can offer some advice to all you first time moms.  I have a few friends that are pregnant for the first time and as to be expected there are a lot of questions.  I'm here to hopefully answer most or all of those questions.

Common pregnancy concerns:

  • Consuming sushi.  There are so many things that we as pregnant women are told not to eat.  Most of you know that I LOVE sushi, so when my co-workers told me that I shouldn't eat it I almost died.  No sushi for 9 months?!  I asked my doctor and he told me that it is okay to eat sushi while pregnant.  Obviously you want to stay away from fish with high mercury levels (mackerel king, shark, swordfish, tilefish, bluefish, etc. For an extended list, click here).  The only advice my dr. gave me on the fish subject was to not have a big salmon every night.  He said once of twice a week was okay.  So all you sushi loving preggos, feel free to dig in!! :)
  • Eating deli meats. This one is a whole new thing to me.  With pregnancy #1 I had never heard this, so I ate deli meat.  I never had any issues at all, so I guess I lucked out.  In doing some reading, the reason for this is because raw meats, raw vegetables, un pasteurized milk, etc can be contaminated with a bacteria called listeria monocytogenes.  Pregnant women are 20% more likely to be infected.  According to the CDC 1,700 people are infected each year and about 260 will die from it.  The chance of a pregnant woman getting it is about 17%.  For more information and what the symptoms are, click here. I was a little skeptical of this at first, but in researching I see that this could definitely be a concern.  I did read though that as long as the meats are heated up it kills the bacteria and is okay to be consumed.  So, if you love a good deli sandwich just remember to say, "Yes!" when they ask you if you want it toasted or non-toasted.
  • Pain medications. There are some pain medications that are safe while pregnant, whereas others need to be avoided.  Here are a few that are safe while pregnant: Benadryl (diphenhydramine), claratin, tylenol (acetaminophen), saline nasal drops or spray, colace, metamucil, benadryl cream, caladryl lotion or cream, hydrocortisone cream or ointment.  Most women choose to completely avoid all medications while pregnant which obviously is the best choice if you can, so the choice is up to you--and it doesn't hurt to ask your doctor.  I have IMMENSE back pain while pregnant that at times is not tolerable, so it's nice to know I can take some tylenol if need be.
  • Caffeine. There are no conclusive studies showing that caffeine has a negative effect on pregnancy and labor.  Caffeine can be passed through the placenta to your baby, so it is important to limit your intake as caffeine is a stimulant.  We may be able to handle the caffeine, but our tiny baby's body can't handle it quite as well.  The American Pregnancy association says we should limit our caffeine intake to less than 300 mg a day.  For a list of caffeine amounts in common drinks, click here
  • Lack of sleep, heartburn, etc. There are so many less than fun side effects that come with pregnancy, including but not limited to: back pain, leg cramps, heartburn, frequent urination, lack of sleep, etc.  Some people experience all of these, some experience none of these.  For me I got some of these more with my first pregnancy than with my second and vice versa. DO NOT worry about this until they start happening!  Don't get so concerned in thinking that you will experience all these symptoms and worrying what to do in case it happens. Just relax and when the time comes, if need be, do some research about how to cope with these side effects.  Worrying will do no good-just consider yourself lucky that you haven't experienced these yet.  Also, every pregnancy is different (my 2 have been sooo different!), so don't compare yourself to others.  Don't dread the 3rd tri-mester, thinking it will be horrible just because another woman is having a hard time dealing with it.  You may be just fine and dandy up until delivery day.  Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!
A few more tips:

  • Maternity clothes. Buy them!  For some of us it can be hard to justify buying clothes that you will only wear for a few months.  For some of us though, you have no choice.  With pregnancy #1 I put off buying maternity jeans for as long as possible, but when I finally gave in I regretted not getting them sooner.  They are so comfortable!!!  I love them!  This pregnancy I got big a lot faster so I had to wear them a lot sooner.  Some of you women can get away with regular jeans all 9 months-amazing!  If you can, I say live it up!  Don't forget the rubber band trick if they do start to get a little snug.  Also, a lot of shirts these days can be worn while pregnant, even if they don't say maternity on the tag.  Sometimes you don't always need to shop the maternity section, especially if you're small.  With both pregnancies I've been able to wear my undershirts from DownEast Outfitters pretty much my entire pregnancy, since they tend to be longer than most.  Oh, and don't worry about stretching out your shirts, they will all go back to normal after washing and drying.  I have not had one issue of stretched out shirts.  Since maternity clothes can be hard to find (especially if you don't want to break the bank!) here is a list of my favorite places to maternity shop: Kohls-not always the biggest selection but cute stuff and cheap-esp on clearance!! (Found my favorite maternity jeans for $20!), Target-also have to dig a bit but I've found some real gems here, Shopko-didn't look this pregnancy but my hubby got me cute stuff from there previously, Ross, TJ Maxx, Motherhood Maternity-can be very pricey but check the clearance for great sales!  I really love their jeans and skirts.
  • Baby clothes.  No one can deny the cuteness of baby clothes, but be careful what you buy.  I suggest not buying very many (if any) newborn size clothes.  Most newborn outfits are meant for babies 5-8 lbs.  Some babies aren't even that small when they are born!  My son was 8 lbs 5 oz, so he was only able to wear his newborn clothes for maybe 2 weeks or so.  Although they might be tiny and cute, try to resist. :)  With my son I bought some of these shirts that button in the front and are short which are nice while their umbilical cord heals/falls off.  Click here to see what I'm talking about.  You can also get them in long sleeved.  Lastly, be aware that your child will more than likely scratch their face (a lot!) the first few weeks.  To prevent this we put socks on our little guys hands, looked kind of funny but kept him safe.  A much better option is to buy long sleeved shirts/onesies for them that have the "mittens" on them.  It just a flap/pocket on the end of the sleeve that folds over.  Unfolded, it looks like a pocket on the sleeve.  If you're worried about the heat, I'd say just put little ankle socks on their hands instead.
Stay tuned for future pregnancy and baby tips!  Thanks for reading--and don't forget to share with your friends!
P.S. Not sure what is going on with this post, but I could not figure out why/how the font and color are different, or why there is big 'old space between the pictures. Sorry :/

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Organizing on a budget

My husband likes to tease me, saying I'm OCD.  I keep telling him that I am not....not entirely that is.  Some things in my life I have to have completely organized and kept a certain way or I will go crazy!!  Then there are other things that I don't organize at all and could care less if they have their own spot or not.  
When it comes to organizing clothing closets, I'd say I'm a little OCD.  My closet is organized by color and all the shirts have to be hanging in the same direction.  Luckily my husband doesn't mind when I take it upon myself to organize his side of the closet :)
I was trying to figure out how I should organize our baby girl's closet.  I always organize baby clothes by size, but then there's the question of short/long sleeved, colors, etc.  I decided to keep my sanity and skip organizing by color, though that may change one day when I get in my OCD organizing mood.  Everyone is different, but my suggestion for organizing baby clothes is to at least organize by size since they grow out of them so fast the first year.  Wouldn't want them to miss out on a chance of wearing a really cute onesie!
For those who know me well, also know that I don't always like to buy unnecessary things for a baby's room.  I'd rather spend more money on organizing and decorating when they are older and actually care what their room looks like.  There's nothing wrong with spending the money to really deck out a nursery--it's just not my thing.  
A while ago I saw on a friends blog a picture of how she organized her daughters closet.  I loved the idea, so I copied it :)  I didn't want to buy anything new to make the organizers, so I just used what I had: colored contraction paper, metallic markers, and packaging tape.  I cut out the shape of how I wanted it to hang, decorated it, then used clear packaging tape to "laminate" them to make them last longer.  For not being a very crafty/art person, I'd say they turned out pretty well!  

 After making the hanging organizers I decided I needed something to keep her folded clothes organized.  I just cut our square shapes on construction paper, then "laminated" them as well.  I didn't have a hole punch, so I taped ribbon on the back and strung it through the shelving.  This will make finding clothes SO much easier!  I already packed her bag before I thought about taking pictures, so her closet is a little more empty than normal.
 My last tip for organizing a new babies closet is instead of buying an expensive dresser for $50-$100, we bought the above shelving for only $15!!  You can buy it in all sorts of colors.  I liked the multi-colored for our daughters room.  It's not the most attractive piece of furniture, but it sure is cheap!  When we were looking at furniture and things for the baby's room I REALLY wanted to get a crib with matching dresser and changing table.  Then my husband lovingly reminded me that we didn't have all these things with our son, and just wondered if we really needed all of that.  Then the practical part of me agreed and I set up the metal shelving in the closet.  I don't mind it as much since it's in the closet and won't be out in the open.  I'm just so excited about all the money I'm saving!!!
So, what have we learned here?
1. That you don't need to spend a lot of money on a room for a baby who really has no idea that their room is even decorated cute.  It's okay to be practical and frugal.
2. You can do a lot more with the things you already have in your home than you thought!

I should also add that when our son was born we had a 1 bedroom, so he did not have a closet.  We set up the same shelving next to our bed, and just bought a wooden dowel and put it across through the holes and hung his clothes on there as well.  So these also work great if you don't have anywhere to hang baby's clothes.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Feelin' the Love!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Mothers Day!  I sure did!!!  It felt more like Mothers Day weekend, than just a day.  
My husband took Friday and Saturday off work and took my son camping.  Every year our stake (church group/congregation) has a Father & Son campout.  Since my hubby is so into camping and anything outdoors, he was stoked to go!  My son is just like his Daddy and LOVES to be outdoors, so it was a heavenly weekend for both of them.  It was also a heavenly weekend for me because I got an entire day and night to myself.  I've really been nesting lately so it was great to have all that time to clean.  I actually really enjoyed myself :)
Before they left for their camping trip my husband bought me these incredible flowers.  I really love daisies and especially LOVE bright colored flowers (even though they are dyed), so this was perfect!  When they came home from their trip William walked in the door and handed me some purple wild flowers to add to the bouquet.  It was so sweet :)  Love my boys!
Today for Mothers Day my husband made my favorite breakfast, Puffy Pancakes!!!  Mmmm, they are SO yummy!  I will have to post the recipe another day so you can all try them.  He also made Rhodes cinnamon rolls.  It was divine!
Our son had a cough and runny nose today so my husband was nice enough to take him home early so I could stay and enjoy church.  Such a nice thing for him to do, since he's not guaranteed to have Sundays off from work.  
After church he made an amazing dinner of: bbq chicken, bbq corn on the cob, grilled summer squash and zucchini, and twice baked potatoes.  Then for dessert he made dutch oven peach cobbler!!  It was simply amazing!  So glad I married a man that can cook!  If you'd like to try this cobbler for yourself, click here for the recipe.

The day also consisted of a nice long nap (this was not taken today, but too cute not to share) and a great back massage.  Thanks babe for making my Mothers Day perfect!!! :)
 I truly do love being a Mother.  Children are the greatest gift that God has given us.  I really don't know what I would do without my son.  He makes my days worth living and brings so much joy to my life.  He also teaches me so much every day.  I'm so grateful for his example to me, even though I'm sure he doesn't even realize it.  So, thanks to my little guy for making me a Mom and the happiest Mom at that!  I mean, c'mon how could you not be happy when you get to spend every day with this cute guy??  love my goofy boy! :)

Dutch Oven Cobbler

Here is a recipe for one of the best dutch oven cobblers I've ever tasted.  My husband loves to cook dutch oven food, and boy is he good at it :) He has made many cobblers, but tonight I think he perfected it.  It was seriously the best cobbler ever!!  We've done a few different kinds, but for now here's the recipe for peach cobbler.
What you will need:
1 large can sliced peaches (in light syrup, NOT heavy)
1 box white cake mix
Sprite or 7up
3-4 Tbsp butter or margarine
2-3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees if you plan to bake inside.  Otherwise, start getting your charcoal ready!
2. Pour can of peaches in dutch oven.  No need to drain the juice
3. Pour cake mix in next and stir slightly to mix with peaches.  Put cake mix in dry, do not mix cake as directed on box.
4. Pour sprite or 7up over peach mixture.  Pour in just enough to give enough liquid to the cake mix, but make sure not to put too much in or it will be very runny.  You'll probably need around 10-16 oz.
5. For 10" dutch oven place 3 Tbsp butter or margarine (divided into thirds) on top.  For 12" dutch oven use 4 Tbsp butter or margarine (dived into fourths).
6. Sprinkle 2-3 Tbsp sugar on top.
7. Bake uncovered in oven for about 1 hour.  You'll know it is done when top is crispy and golden brown, and most of the juices have been cooked out.  You'll want it to still be a little runny, as it will thicken upon standing.  A good rule of thumb for baking cobblers is if you can smell it, it's almost done!
8. If you are cooking outside with charcoal, you will want to cover the cobbler and place briquettes underneath oven as well as around the perimeter of the lid and a few in the center of lid.  It will take at least an hour longer to cook with briquettes, so plan early.
9.  Lastly, ENJOY!!!! :)
Here is our finished product.  It was so yummy we couldn't wait to try it before I got the picture.

You can also make this in any oven safe pan/dish.  Just make sure it is deep enough so your cobbler doesn't overflow!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

One more Mother's Day gift idea

I can't believe I forgot to post this!  In October 2011 President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave a great talk titled, "Forget Me Not".  It was such a great talk!!  To read it, click here.  

  Deseret Book now sells a book with quotes from his talk.  It's filled with great, inspiring quotes that would mean so much to any woman!
Deseret Book is also selling forget me not flower grow kits.  They are mini flower pots with seeds to grow your own forget me not flowers.  I really want one of these in my home so I can always remember that I am never forgotten.  I'm planning to buy one for each of the sisters I visit teach.  For only $1.49 each, you can almost afford one for every mother in your life.  Sadly, though these are out of stock until after Mother's Day.  They get shipped from China and are stuck at customs. :(  Bummer!  But, nothing wrong with sending a little post-Mother's Day gift!  Would also make a great birthday gift, or you can give them for no reason at all--because you are NOT forgotten :)

Mother's Day

Me with my wonderful Mother.

As I'm sure you already know, Mother's Day is this Sunday, the 13th (If you didn't know this, then you better mark your calendar!).  In honor of this, I thought I'd blog a little bit about my own Mother and how great she is.
My mom is one of my favorite people :) She is so kind, caring, sweet, loving, and full of great advice.  She is always looking out for me.  I love that I can call anytime of day and she is always willing just to chat with me.  Sometimes I make up excuses for why I've called, but really I just miss her and want to chat, about nothing in particular. 
 I am so thankful for all the sacrifices she has made for me (which are quite a few).  She never ceases to amaze me with the service she gives to me and my family, as well as others around her.  
She is also so much fun to hang out with.  I really feel that now she is just one of my best friends.  Growing up at home I always loved to go anywhere with her, and actually whenever we visit I still love to just tag along on errands.  
My mom is such an honest person and I love that about her!  If I want a real opinion I know to ask my mom.  This is why she is such a great person to go clothing shopping with-I know I won't walk out of the store with something ugly.  
I sure wish my Mom lived closer so I could see her more often (maybe one day).  I hope she knows how much I truly do lover her, admire her, and hope I can be just like her one day!
Well, I could go on and on, but for now we'll leave it at that :)

Mother's Day is such a great time to reflect on how wonderful our own Mother's are, and also all the other Mother's in our life.  I'm also so grateful for wonderful Grandmothers who raised so many of our great Mothers!  There are also many women out there who may not have children yet, but in my opinion are still Mothers.  I have a few very special women in my life who are not official Mother's yet, but they are in my book!  They have every quality of a perfect Mom and they love and care for their families as if they are their own children.  I'm so grateful for these women in my life and the great example they are to me.

So, don't forget to call your Mom this Sunday and tell her how amazing she is.  And for you guys out there, don't forget to spoil your wife this Mother's Day :)
Just in case your stumped on what to do/get for your wife or Mom this Mother's Day, here are a few ideas:
  • Breakfast in bed.  Pretty traditional, but lets be honest, how often do we actually do this?
  • Clean up and organize the house Saturday!  That way she can relax in a clean, orderly house on Sunday.
  • Cook for her all day, and do the dishes<---I'm excited for this one, because my husband cooks wonderful dinners!  He HATES doing the dishes, but I know he will because he is that kind of guy
  • A list of reasons why you love her and/or why she is such a great Mother.  Have the kids make one too!
  • Pictures of the grandkids.  For my Mom, nothing is better than pictures of her grandkids.
  • A thoughtful card in the mail.  Sometimes a simple card means a lot more than you think.
  • A simple gift that she isn't suspecting.  My husband is great at this.  I will sometimes mention things that I'd like, or would be nice to have (not intending to actually buy them) and sometimes he'll surprise me with them--guess he pays closer attention than I thought :) 
  • A day of relaxation!  I told my husband what I really want for Mother's Day is to sleep in (as much as I can, with 9am church), and have him get our son all ready for church.  
  • Back massage.  Really, who wouldn't want this?!
  • Frame a family picture, or one of her with the kids.  Write all the reasons why she is great Mom.  This would work for your Mother or wife, or both!  It'd also be really neat to have a 4 generation (or more) picture if you have it and do this--->you, your kid(s), your Mother, Grandmother, etc.

  • A gift basket that represents your relationship with her, or things she loves.  It could be filled with thing such as: A picture of a fun memory with her, her favorite candy or treat, an apron (if she loves to cook), a gift card to her favorite store, or a gift card for her to go do something fun/her favorite hobby--groupon often has great deals on fun stuff! (Ask me for more info about signing up for Groupon!)
  • A pampering gift basket: nail polish, nail file, face mask (can be found for $1 at Walmart!), lotion (preferably a great smelling one from say, Bath and Body Works), candle, foot/hand scrub, perfume, bubble bath, rice heat pack, and her favorite magazine to read while she relaxes.
  • If you have young kids, they could make a cute coupon book with lots of fun, inexpensive coupons for mom such as: free hug/kiss, day free from whining/complaining, free night out with them (I would LOVE if one of my kids came up to me one day and gave me this coupon-whats better than knowing that your child want to hang out with you), movie night in of her choice, coupon for doing the dishes, washing the car, etc. Let your imagination run wild and I'm sure you'll think of other great coupons.
  • Apron with the kids handprints on it.
  • Pretty much anything homemade form the kids will mean a lot to any Mom!
  • A night all to herself--this may mean a date night, letting her go out with her girlfriends, or just out by herself for some alone time.  Mother's Day is a great day to let your wife relax, but every wife could use another peaceful night. 
I hope this gets your creative juices flowing on inexpensive and thoughtful things to do for the Mother(s) in your life.  Have a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Got Stress? I've found the cure!

Yup, that pretty much sums it up :) I first saw this stress reduction kit paper in my Dad's garage and thought it was pretty funny.  Never thought that one day it'd actually seem logical, haha!
Just feeling a little stressed and frustrated today.  I know I should have more patience with my son than I do, but sometimes (a lot of times!) I don't know how to keep it under control and always have such a loving, kind demeanour.  I feel bad sometimes for not being as nice as I should, but there are those days where I just need a break--know what I mean?  
My husband works VERY long days and he is pretty drained by his job.  He described it to me this morning that he feels like a robot, doing the exact same thing every day.  Now, I don't feel like a robot, but there are days where I wish we could just switch spots with him for a day or two and I could go to work for him, and he could be the stay at home dad.  I see so many other stay at home moms out there (with at least 2 or 3 more kids than me) that just seem to always have it all together.  I know things ALWAYS look different from the outside, but I'd like to just steal some of their patience and organization.  
I'm SO excited for this new little girl joining out family soon, but I am also so scared!!  If I can hardly handle one child at times, how will I deal with two?  Anyone else have these fears?  Was it as hard as you imagined after you had your second?
Well, there's my rant for the day.  Have a great rest of the day! If you don't hear from me soon, it may be due to the stress reduction kit.