Monday, December 31, 2012

Good Bye 2012, Hello 2013

What a year it has been!
I gave birth to my most adorable son in May and since he was born I don't know where the time has went.   DSCF4293
I gave up my apron business and am finally feeling good about not producing crafts to make a profit. There is a lot of pressure when you try to create something you hope people will like and then buy. 2011 was a far better year for aprons.  I'm not looking for something else to spend money on to sell though, I'm content.  DSCF4335
And now I look forward to focusing on creating a comfortable home for my little family.  Without thinking about moving to another location to open another business, I can just be, and be content.  I look forward to revamping our current livingroom ceiling, which is suspended.  I look forward to building a open curved booth in the corner of our dining room to create more flow.  I look forward to putting a vintage tin back splash in my kitchen, installing a floating floor in our livingroom, applying tin look ceilings on the 2nd floor of our home, painting our livingroom, decluttering, and hopefully taking over the property right next door to us.
I have non traditional New Year's Resolutions such as paying off my car to my dad which should have been done in 2010.  Paying off our van we just purchased with a loan this past August.  Getting home improvement projects done, successfully living wheat-free, exercise 3x a week, get back to 135 lbs ideally by May so I can reprogram my body before trying for baby #3.
My resolutions may more or less be goals, but that's what I plan and pray for.
I'm in the process of cleaning my home vs going out (super cold here in NE Minnesota) but I'm not a party goer, I am a home body.  I'd like to ring in the New Year with a nice clean home vs one I'm always trying to play catch up in.
Happy New Year to you!  If you are out and about Safe Traveling!
What are your plans this evening?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Catching UP

Now that we are home from visiting and I am finally home from work and from running errands, picking up my son, and getting him to bed, I'm frantically trying to catch up.  I didn't have time last week before we left or started the Christmas events to do laundry, so now I am trying to get it all washed and put away.  I have about 6 loads!

I'm still trying to put gifts away and fun new thrifted treasures, I'd love to find my dining room table, its quite barried at the moment.  I did take pictures of my fun finds but they are unfortunately going to have to either wait until way later tonight or tomorrow as the camera cord seems to have been lost in everything I need to put away.

I'd love to start getting to bed around 10pm but I don't know when that will be feasible either.  I'll post pictures later if I finally catch up.  I'd like my home to be prim and proper to ring in the new year!

Saturday, December 29, 2012


I'm not sure whether I do or don't like to unpack.  We just arrived home from our Christmas trip to see my dad in Central Minnesota.  I unpacked our van and pretty much filled up the livingroom with stuff we brought, stuff we received as gifts, and stuff we bought while thrifting.  I quickly unpacked as much as I could before going off to church this afternoon and now there are those pieces that will take a day or two to finally get stored in the proper place.

I have so many things I would like to do, which would a long, hard days work to do it with out having a little boy.  So essentially when I get home from my 18 hour shift tomorrow at 2pm it will more then likely take a few days to put everything away as my little one depending on his mood may or may not let me get anything done tomorrow.

I also feel as now that Christmas is over I should also undecorate the Christmas tree and out the door to go.  But I guess a Christmas tree is to stay up for the 12 days of Christmas which will delay me in getting our livingroom ready for a new paint of coat which now won't happen until after January 6th.

And now off I must go to get ready for work, make a quit errand, get to my mother's for dinner, and then dash off to work.  I fear my husband is going to irritate my parents however and show up way late.  He's lazy and he knows it and it irritates me so very much!  Grr.  Well, I hope you had a terrific day, my post tomorrow will be more exciting as I'm hoping to have pictures inserted to previous posts and show what I will be up to tomorrow!

Friday, December 28, 2012


Today, my dad, my husband, my son and I went thrifting in central Minnesota.  I told my dad, thrifting is like garage saling for the winter.  Though thrifting you can spend hours in one store vs getting in your car and driving around and some times getting lost.

As long as I can remember after I was thru with college I tried accomplishing a adult modern looking home but as I had much fun thrifting today I was reminded that I own my own home and I don't need my home to look like an accomplished adult home.  I love white washed furniture, shabby chic, and bright colors like cerlean blue.  So forget the accomplished adult look, I'm gonna get comfy in my home and customizing it to the way I want it to look.  I also tried catering to my husband's likes which are far from mine and he doesn't help with much of anything so why not do what I want.

I found some awesome fabrics thrifting today and yesterday that were once sheets or curtains that I plan on upcycling into curtains or table cloths or clothing or a new purse/wallet for myself.  I came across an awesome find yesterday.  I have an antique high chair I've been in the process of refinishing for my little boy only the problem with it is the tray lifts up over his head and comes down.  That's not so much as the problem though as is when he sits in it, I can't adjust the tray to get closer to him, creating at least 6" of space between him and the tray.  I don't know about you, but everything will end up in his lap.  I tried thinking of ways to convert it to a high chair I could move the tray closer but before finding any hard ware I came across another older but more modern high chair for $12.75.  The tray is bubbling a bit with the paint, but my step-dad has already told me he will sand blast it for me.  This high chair I found is table height where as the other one we have is more in line with a bar table.

I have plans for painting our livingroom after the new year starts in which I will start changing the look of the livingroom more for my liking.  I'll post pictures when I get home this weekend.  I didn't bring my camera cord with this weekend (oops!).

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Then & Now

I'm currently working on a "In Memory of" Quilt.  I've never made a quilt in my entire life.  A friend of mine over at Finnish Ethnic Creations in Embarrass, MN has been doing crafts for 30 years.  When you want to learn a new one I call Deb Wiitanen.  Her classes are all hands on, 1:1, and entirely affordable.  The memory quilt I am working on is in memory of my paternal grandmother to whom I loved and miss very dearly.

When I was a little girl and my parents were busy at work and I would get sick, she would take care of me.  Or when school was out for the day I would go to her house after school until my parents were off of work to pick me up.  Then when I turned 16-years-old she fell in the middle of the night and broke her hip.  When she returned home I spent my entire Christmas vacation with her and all weekends until she was back to her old self.  I essentially became her primary care giver until a stroke took her in August of 2008.

My grandmother LOVED butterflies of all colors and varieties.  So after she passed away I started collecting fabrics with butterflies on them knowing that I wanted to create a quilt.  Well, Deb got me started on a pattern and I cut out squares of the fabrics of the butterflies.  But part of my quilt has 2x2 inch squares and I want to use this space for fabric photos of my grandma and me.  I have a few but I was hoping my dad would have a lot more.

He found a box of scrapbooks he thought was what I was looking for.  It wasn't as my dad is still a child in most of the books meaning I'm not in any of them.  But the box he found is full of the cards my grandparents received from their wedding in 1946.  I'm amazed at how small the cards are.  I even found their wedding invitation.

My grandmother also had curriculum books from when she was in school.  One in particular I'm going to have to share in an upcoming post was Home Economics from when my grandmother was in the 6th grade which was around 1929.

Life is so much different now then it was then.  My dad often says that the 1950s and 1960s were such a better time and if he could ever repeat or have life lived like a certain era those would be the times.  And I have to say I think they would be.  Interest rates were high on investing and saving your money, people didn't use credit cards nor did they quite exist yet people had the mentality that if you wanted it you had to save up for it.

I found a quote by an unknown author in an antique store this past fall that stated, "This recession won't be over till we raise a generation that knows how to live on what they've got" -author unknown
Now if everyone read this, understood this, and lived by it, life might be just a bit better and got us through the recession so we could live like they did then.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Noah's 1st Christmas

Well, I was right, Noah could care less about unwrapping Christmas presents, though he did seem to like what was under the wrapping paper, even more if it made some sort of noise.  He didn't especially like the dinner grandma had for him though, he wanted what we were eating.  I screwed up on my part I could have introduced him to beef before Turkey or Chicken so we would have known whether or not he was going to have an issue with it or not and then he could have had what we had.  But there's always next year when he'll more then likely have some teeth.

Noah's Christmas gift to his daddy was a dog tag that was inscribed, "Daddy" and then "Peyton 2008 & Noah 2012."  Christmas is espeically hard for me for two reasons.  One, in 2007 I lost my dear grandmother.  I took care of her for the 7 years prior to her leaving us and she truly was one of my bestest of friends.  Then in 2008 I was pregnant for the very first time and we lost the baby in a miscarriage.  We named our miscarriage Peyton so we would never forget our first little one.  My mother also got a similar gift except it was a metal circle that was inscribed "grandmother" with Noah & Peyton with the years they either were to arrive or did arrive.  Grandpa got a sweatshirt I had a friend of mine embroider that said, "A dog may be a man's best friend, but Grandpa is my best friend, Love Noah" © 2012. All Rights Reserved Jennifer Smith  

Peyton is just as common of a name in our house hold as is Noah.  I used to design and sew aprons and I had named the children's apron Peyton for boys or girls.  My huband found a Christmas tree ornament this year that spelt "Peyton" the way we spell it vs Payton.  He also found one for "Noah."

Noah's first Christmas is just beginning. We celebrated Christmas with my mother and her husband last night on Christmas Eve, today if my husband weren't working we'd be on our way with my mother and her husband to Christmas at my grandparents in a tiny little town in central MN called "Genola," to see my mother's side of the family.  But, my husband has to work so we are heading off to his mother's in about a half an hour.  Tomorrow we'll be traveling to central Minnesota to my dad's home where we'll be staying for the remainder of the week to celebrate with him, and then my mother's parents on Thursday.  This was a normal Christmas for myself growing up over the years, I see it the same for Noah.

Later when we come home it will be all about unpacking the car only to repack for another outting into the van.

Merry Christmas and Safe Travels

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Today is Christmas Eve, in about 5 min I'm going to go start the car, then we're going to church an hour early to save seats for my parents.  This has been such a tradition since I was old enough to drive.  Jenni's going to save seats!  At least I have some help this year as I have for the last 5 years.  My husband will be saving with me as well as our son Noah who is celebrating his very 1st Christmas!  Not sure what Noah thinks about all the hustling and justling nor do I think he really cares about presents yet.

As I wait I gaze at our Christmas tree in hopes that next year it will be full of hand made decorations made with my little boy vs the mix of store boughten Christmas ornaments, silver garland, and ornaments from when I was a little girl.  I'm thinking of burlap garland and all the fancy ornaments we can make from packaging from products we use every day.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Photo Card

Believe in Christmas Religious
Make a statement with personalized Christmas cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Photo Card

Believe in Christmas Religious
Add one photo or multiple to your Christmas cards this season.
View the entire collection of cards.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Entirely Challenging

There is part of our life that has become entirely challenging since having Noah and that is finding work for me that works around my husband's work schedule.

My husband works for a non-profit that works with the Minnesota Department of Corrections at a youth facility that is basically prison for kids.  He is full time, he works doubles on Sundays and then the afternoon shift Monday-Wednesday, though he also has to go in earlier on Wednesdays and some nights has to stay late into the night because the kids are acting up.

The only out of home job I have is being a very, very part time home health aide.  I currently only have one client which is for 1 hour every other week, that makes me $23 every other week after taxes.  They don't currently have any other clients for me that work around my husband's schedule.

I am essentially a full time stay at home mom/wife.  So staying home essentially saves us money that we would other wise have to spend on daycare.  I can't imagine paying for daycare.  Money gets tight and then I find something to sell on a local facebook group which I have to say comes through if we need to buy formula or diapers or groceries. 

The only debt we have is our home and our two cars.  Though if you've ever heard when it rains it pours.  Its like we can never catch up.  This month my husband will have 3 pay days.  The first payday we had to pay all our bills which was hard because the two other big bills are due on the 15th and its 2 days before his next payday.  But this paycheck I was hoping to bank but now we found out I need 4 new tires on my car so that's gonna cost at least $400, I owe my mom about $220 for our cell bill for the last so many months.  My dad would like a car payment.  I just wish I could find a legit work from home job that I could help pay the bills.

God does provide.  He sees to it that we are taken care of and I should just remember to trust in him, I just wish and pray that a job would find me that I can do from home that was legit because there are so many scams!!!!

Monday, September 24, 2012


It seems that as soon as fall approaches I no longer have time.  Not that I had an abundance before Fall, and I don't even have children in school.  I seem to do my home improvement projects in the fall vs the summer.  I am in charge of a craft show for our Church's Fall Oktoberfest celebration which has kept me quite busy as well.

Just this week alone I need to clean house, bake goodies for Oktoberfest Bake Sale, finish working on my own crafty creations for my own booth at Oktoberfest, prep dinner for dinner with our in-laws on Thursday, my dad is coming to visit on Wednesday, I have to set up for the craft show Friday afternoon/evening and Saturday morning and I have a friend staying the weekend as well!

I'm hoping to get back to a normal posting schedule as soon as Oktoberfest is over!  I scored 2 potty chairs on a local online auction.  They are both wood, one is pink the other needs a lot of TLC.  So I'm excited to start the project of sanding them down, repainting them.  One will be for home and the other for Grandma's when Noah gets to that stage.    I scored the both of them for $12.

I'm also in the process of fixing up an old antique wood high chair for Noah.  It needed some new hardware a either a good stain and sealant or some paint.  We went with a bright blue paint.  I also paid $12 for the high chair at an antique store downtown Duluth.

And on the side of being frugal we haven't had any form of cable or satellite TV since Spring of 2011.  I have to say now that I'm home all day with my little boy it would be nice to watch some TV vs always watching what we want on the internet.  So I found where you learn how to have TV with out paying for cable or satellite with the use of an antenna.  You don't even necessarily need a roof top antenna.  My mom gave me some rabbit ears and last night I picked up 4 digital channels and 1 analog channel.  But now during the day we got nothing.  I went to the FCC website to see what channels I could pick up in my area and I should be able to get PBS which I got last night, ABC which I haven't received yet and quite possibly NBC.  I only really care about ABC.  So I just need a more powerful antenna...though my search is on... will let you know how things go.

Well, that's all the time I have to update, I still need to do Laundry, prep Thursday's meal, decide what I'm making for the bake sale, and finish cleaning house!!!!  Need to finish today cause I won't have time the rest of the week!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Children's Toys & Upcoming Holiday Season

Before my son was born, my husband and I had already decided that Noah wasn't going to have a ton of toys like some kids have.  He also isn't going to get everything in the Target Christmas ad either.  There are SO many toy recalls its ridiculous.  A lot of the toys sold in stores are made in China.  China tends to cut a lot of corners like using lead based paint and such.  Not safe and yet people buy them.  I suppose people think...well, what else am I gonna buy?  I have that answer for you!

American made toys!  Keep your hard earned cash right here in the good 'ol country of ours!  Support the families who live here.  My mother hasn't bought any toys for our little boy yet because she will not buy anything made in China.  She even made a complaint at Target because that's the primary store near us and not a one toy made elsewhere.

My little boy plays with the 2 rattles I had as a baby and they are both made in the USA.  So what happened to toys being made in America?  Did companies become greedy and want lower manufacturing costs made by children in sweat factories?  We (myself, my husband, and my mother) do not support any company who sends their manufacturing over seas.  Instead we do some research and we have found there are a lot of great companies still manufacturing right here in the United States! 

Now finding stores that sell their products is a bit more difficult so I recently decided that when I launch, "Noah's Half Pint Hub" this fall that I won't make myself a work horse trying to make everything in Santa's workshop for my new shop, I will make what I'm inspired to make for boys (girls by custom order), and be a shop owner for all the other wonderfully made toys, accessories, and clothing made right here in the United States!

But in the mean time, here is a company we know of that does sell in stores Little Tykes - outdoor play houses and toys.  We bought our son a swing to put on the clothes line pole next summer from Little Tykes we also bought a sled at the end of the winter season this past winter for this coming winter.  (We like clearance, who doesn't?)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

When in doubt...God will provide

Have you ever heard, "God will provide?"  I have.  I have also heard, "When in doubt..."  Well, this evening my husband and I took his brother and his wife out for dinner.  In recent years there has been some turmoil between us and his new wife.  I sent them a card a few weeks ago inviting them to our house for dinner.  Well, they couldn't make it to our house so we took them out for dinner on the topic to clear the air and settle our differences.  Just writing the card my hand was shaking and made me very stressed out.  As I have attempted to clear the air for quite some time and we never seem to get anywhere...

We met them for dinner at a local restaurant, we got there a bit early and all I could do was pray, I was so nervous.  I prayed and prayed and prayed.  Then my husband said, "they're here."  Oh my goodness what am I gonna do, please let everything be ok...

It was.  The night was great.  Back to the way things used to be!  I have a craft show starting tomorrow that ends on Sunday and again... I'm a little nervous because craft shows haven't been all that great this year, granted I've only done smaller ones and this weekend is a big one and last year I did great.  I can't hope for a great turn out in sales, I pray instead.  I have to rely on God and know that he will provide.

I so desperately want to get out of credit card debt and pay off the 2 months rent I have left on my downtown studio.  I've decided to stay home and not work, kinda defeats the purpose when your husband makes more money than you in one over time shift than you would all month.

I want to work from home and I was stuck and yet God is providing by showing me the way to go.  So when in doubt...they usually say ASK, I'm gonna rely on God knowing HE will provide.

What do you do when you're in doubt?

Losing weight & its challenges

In 2007 I saw a natural doctor named Monica Liddle in Duluth, MN for my endometriosis.  She took me off of the patch (contraceptive) and put me on an anti-inflammation diet that included a few supplements.  I naturally lost 25 lbs and stopped losing weight when my body got to its natural weight, 130 lbs at 5 feet 5 inches.

In 2008, I got pregnant for the first time, gaining a lot of weight quite quickly.  I miscarried.  I couldn't lose the weight and since then till I got pregnant in 2011 I had climbed to 160 lbs and holding.  However, at the end of my 2nd pregnancy I weight 218 lbs.  I had gestational diabetes.  The only weight I lost when my son was born was his birth weight of 8lbs 6 oz.  The first week after he was born I lost 26 lbs.  I think it was a lot of excess water weight because I was huge.  Then I plateaued.

This is me 9 months pregnant:
This is me 2 months after my son was born:
When I look at this picture, I think I look huge, in reality I am, I am the heaviest I have ever been and no longer pregnant.  I weighed 195 in this picture.

I have since then joined Weight Watchers and I go to meetings weekly, I track what I eat, I don't lose 5 lbs a week, I lose any where between 0.5 and 3.5 lbs per week.  I don't currently exercise because I honestly don't have time to with a 4 month old and not the greatest neighborhood to walk around in.  But, I am losing.  So far I have lost 8.6 lbs.

It took me 9 months to gain almost 60 lbs, I'm sure its going to take just as long to get back. 

I'm not just aiming to lose the weight to feel better but so that I can make some positive changes that will impact my life and hopefully any future children that I may be blessed to have.  Two days after being discharged from the hospital after my son was born, I was diagnosed with pulmonary embolisms.  They determined I got them due to the fact that I was rather immobile the last few months of my pregnancy.  So, I am now on Coumadin till who knows when and I can't conceive another child until I am off.  But, my second reasoning for losing the weight and keeping it off is also for a future child.  Going into pregnancy obese leads to the liklihood that your child will be obese and you will stay obease which is linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.

I love being healthy and I'm on my way.  If you are in a similar situation or just want to lose the weight, my suggestion to you is to join weight watchers, they money you spend weekly to join is an investment into your health.  Cut back on eating out so you can afford to live healthier.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Baby Centered Ideas

So now that my little sweetheart is almost 4 months old (where did the time go), we definitely have a routine, him and I.  Him and daddy on the other hand are all over the place when mommy is busy sewing or not home...which I think tends to screw Noah up a bit.  Fall is my favorite time of the year, not just because it seems to be more relaxed and cooler outside, but I start my home improvement projects in the fall.

I've imagined this one project for a few years, I haven't done it yet and I think this is the year to do it.  Though, what I've noticed is that when you have a little one your plans change a bit.  I've already baby proofed to the point that there are no breakables near the floor, however warm objects yes.  We have steam radiators in our home for heat.  None of them have covers.  When Noah starts crawling it will surely be cool outside and the radiators will be starting to generate heat, which will be hot on little fingers.  So besides making radiator covers for all of our radiators my dreamy fall project entails an entire wall in our living room.

This wall is 16 feet long.  Is broken up into 3 sections by 2 beams that run up the walls and across the ceiling.  This wall also has 2 radiators, and one window.  I want to line the entire wall, minus the section with the window with tounge and groove carsiding vertically.  Then I want to stain it like a drift wood hue (gray).  On top of that I want to put a place for coats/jackets on one section and in the middle section a built in hutch with shelves.  Originally this plan wasn't going to include an area for jackets.  But before last September when I found out I was pregnant, I was told I wasn't able to have children so my plans for this project included space for the many breakable antiques we own.

My home improvement projects aren't the only ideas that are changing...

I've started designing and sewing infant hats.  I'm entirely irritated that when shopping anywhere infant hats are not truly infant hats.  They are always 10x too big!  So I've started selling hats for infants 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-12 months, and 12-24 months.  So far they've been a hit.  My little boy has inspired me to create many more things from hide outs to sleepers to nook hooks, sleep sacks, wood toys, and so much more.

I wish we could find some of these items already made in America but of course for whatever reason everything seems to be made in China.  If you know of a company or someone who makes similar items, please let me know!  I'd be interested to check them out!

Our Small Home and where I've created Space!

According to the listing of our house when we purchased it we have about 836 square feet in our one and half story 2 bedroom home.  That is above ground, they aren't including our basement.  It was the perfect size home for me when I bought it as a single gal back in 2007.  Though, I then got married  unexpectedly in 2007 and we've just added a son this year.  We still fit quite perfectly in our small house, with the exception of changes I've made to our home along the way and I have changes in mind for when our family continues to grow.

This is our house.  16 feet wide, not very long, I don't exactly remember that part.  I know the width because of certain rooms within our house that I've measured for carpeting, shelves, or just plain old rearranging furniture.  Yes, I measure before I rearrange furniture, why go thru all the trouble to rearrange furniture for none of it to fit like you thought?  Graph paper is my friend, I always have a tablet or two lying around the house.

When you walk into our door you are in our front porch.  Its seasonal.  Its about 4-5 feet deep.  Then you are truly at the front door not just the screen door.  When you walk into this door you are in our living room.  When I bought the house the house didn't have a dining room.  The kitchen wasn't big enough for a table either.  So that poses the question...where do you eat?  I have since then fixed that problem which I'll share in a future post.  From our living room if you continue to walk strait you come to our kitchen and off the kitchen to the right is our stairs to go up and the one and only bathroom.  From the kitchen continuing to walk straight you are in the back entry with a door going to the back yard and steps to the right going down to the basement.

We have tons of wonderfully built in storage in the basement that was there before I bought the house.  But if you're like me, especially in cold Minnesota winters you don't want to go downstairs if you don't have to.  We have a rather small kitchen with not enough cupboards for food.  I wanted a pantry so I designed one:

Right over the radiator in the back entry.  Radiators need to be "shelved" anyways to keep the heat from going straight up.  I always design up never out.  Same goes for gardening...again I'll leave that for a future post.  Directly across from our pantry I designed and created every day-on-the-go cubbies vs having to hang our coats in the closet and leaving everything else around the house like: purse, wallet, keys, bags, hats, mitts, etc.

So as you can see with out the two projects above we didn't have much organization and a lot of stuff with out a proper home.  I love to be organized and I love organizing.  My next project I'm hoping to do is wall to wall shelves on one entire wall in our living room.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

what works and what doesn't

So as you know I am a first time mom.  My little boy will be 6 weeks tomorrow.  I'm a planner.  I like to plan as far in advance as I can, though I wasn't fully able to plan the arrival of my son, since God was in charge of his exact arrival date and time, I gave way to this plan.  Though, I wanted to be prepared for him when he did arrive.  I bought a baby carrier on clearance at Sears in March I believe.  I bought the Lansinoh manual single breast pump back in January because I found it in a store vs having to buy it online and I had read rave reviews.

Well, I'm learning never buy certain items until your little one has arrived.  The breast pump had NO suction but because I broke the seal and bought it back in January I can't return it to the store I purchased it at because the receipt was more then 90 days old.  I attempted at returning it a second time without the receipt but they said because I broke the seal they couldn't return it.  I told them it hand no suction, it was defective so they couldn't put it back on their floor anyways they'd have to mark it defective and send it back, but this particular store was not a user friendly store and I knew this, so I should have waited.

The baby carrier I bought says you can use it from 8 lbs to 35 lbs.  Ah no.  My son is now 10 lbs and he hates the carrier and I also do not like the way it all comes together, its also not user friendly.  I got rid of the box because I'm the type of person who likes to wash everything and have items put away before the little one arrives so I can be as organized and prepared as possible.  So this will be going on an upcoming garage sale.  Instead i found the moby wrap via searching for a new one and watching youtube videos to be what I'm hoping superb, I ordered mine this past week, should be here this next week. 

As you may already know, I sew.  But I haven't found the happy medium for sewing and bringing my little boy downstairs to sew with me yet.  I'm hoping the wrap will come in handy with this so I will have 2 free hands I will be able to carry his bed down there in case he just wants to chilax.  My little boy falls asleep better on mommy or daddy's chest and then being put down to sleep vs just sticking him his bed and lights out.  Our doctor said you can't spoil them at this age so when grandma and grandpa want to hold him all day that's just perfectly fine.

Have you ever noticed that when you go into a store to find a hat for an infant and the size says infant, the hat is always WAY TOO big?  Well, I also realized last Saturday at our city's annual art festival that people also try to get away with selling "infant" hats that are the same size as the one's in the store which are entirely too big.  So what did I do last Saturday in about 15 min?  I sewed an appropriate sized one up for my son that is reversible.  Oh and may I mention no one ever has boy items, so I'm changing this and I'm going to be sewing only boy items so boys have some fun too.  Though because people have it stuck in their heads that infant heads are a lot bigger, I too will sew up some girly infant hats that are truly for 0-3 & 3-6 mo sizes.

I guess my lesson learned here is you can prepare for your little one by buying clothes (more on the 3mo and up though), making blankets, sheets, etc.  But everything else needs to wait.  The cloth diapers I purchased do not work well on him yet because they are so bulky on such a little person so the cloth part we are using as burp cloths and they work a lot better then the ones I made, simply because they are bigger and they catch more, but also 10x more absorbent then just two layers of flannel sewed together.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


My son will be 4 weeks tomorrow and I think we are finally moving into a routine!  Thought it definitely helps when my husband and I totally alternate nights to who has baby duty.  I'm pumping what I can get for breast milk and doing major supplementing with formula until my body can produce enough milk, so its easy for dad to take over for a night.  Last night I had a migraine and Excedrin didn't work so my husband took over and I didn't wake up until about 6:30 this morning, it was great to get a good nights rest.  Now I'm on baby duty while my husband catches up on sleep before he works an 8 hour shift.  Though my little boy is sleeping so that allows mom to catch up on household chores, thank goodness!

It is hard for me to pump and formula feed him when I am home by myself during the day.  Having help after a little one is born is definitely a Godsend.  So if you are to be a new mom, see if your husband/partner, friend, mom, sister, can help you out during the day.  As my husband said yesterday, boy does he tire one out.  Yes, yes he does, but he is definitely worth it!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Cloth Diapers

Today we came home from spending 2 nights at my mother's (my husband worked 32 hours in 2 days, so while he was away my mom helped me out a bit).  I decided against opening a new package of diapers to start using the cloth diapers I had purchased in my last stage of pregnancy.  Not as easy as they make it look on YouTube.  The first diaper I put on him the shell is a best bottom diaper will or should fit a new born to a child 35+ pounds, there are snaps to make it bigger or smaller.  I tried one of the snap-in inserts with a biodegradable liner for the poopy mess.  Not so easy to snap it on my son and he essentially peed and pooped right away so on to another diaper.  I like the biodegradable liners, they do catch the poopy mess so you just have to throw that.

I used a preform diaper insert this time instead of the stay dry insert.  The preform diapers don't snap in like the stay dry inserts.  I think I only had him in this diaper for about 2 hours and when I picked him up to feed him, his clothes were wet.  The best bottom diaper wasn't keeping him dry and when I changed him, the entire preform was soaked to the point that excess urine was leaking out.  Not cool.  So before bringing my son to my mother's for a few hours while I pick up our house, I put a regular diaper back on him.

Nothing in motherhood is easy except when it comes to loving your child and hence why I needed my mom to watch him for just a couple of hours while I pick up our house.  Though not getting everything done because I'm already exhausted and all I've done is cleaned out the fridge, hauled out the compost and the garbage and washed dishes.  I hope my stamina returns sooner rather then later.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Planning is one thing, living is totally different

If you know me, you know I like to plan things out.  I make daily to-do lists, I have multiple calendar's through out my home where I'm always recording my husband's work schedule and making plans for his days off.  And if you read this blog before my baby was born I had plans of being green and saving money.  Plans like breastfeeding exclusively, using only cloth diapers, not using generic baby wipes, using only homemade laundry detergent, reusing cloth vs paper towels, using cloth postpartum pads vs generic plastic.

Planning is a wonderful tool, but it need only be a tool to attempt to live life that way.  I have found in the last 2 weeks since my son was born that cloth diapers that I have don't yet fit my son, they are too big, so we are using Pamper's swaddlers and no they aren't biodegradable but entirely helpful with their wetness indicator.  I tried out the Honest diapers we received as a free sample which are 98% biodegradable and they don't hold up to the task at hand.  Urine leaks thru quite steadily and the size is too small for my son.

We are also using baby wipes as well for the poopy mess in the diapers because they simply work a lot better then my cloth wipes and home made spray.  The home made spray works great for just wet diapers but not poopy.  I researched baby wipes on the Skin Deep Database and the Walgreen's brand of baby wipes rate very low on the scale for not being harmful in any fashion for your baby, so that's what we use. 

You realize that when you are a new mom and are at home most of the day with just your baby that quick is better then taking your time.  I'm sure there is a time when you need to take the time, but when your son is feeding every 2 hours and you still have to burp in that amount of time, a paper towel vs cloth works a lot smoother.  You also realize you don't have the time to do laundry like you thought was going to take care of all of these new cloth reusables you had planned on using.  I'm not currently using family cloth because I found out the hard way that blood is a lot harder to get out of fabric vs just using toilet paper.  So until my postpartum bleeding has stopped its toilet paper for me.  I'm also not allowed to lift any more weight then the weight of my son, so doing laundry has to be done when my husband is home so he can carry it down to the basement, and either carry it out side to be hung or carry it back up stairs to be put away.  And as much as I have bled in the last two weeks I wouldn't have had enough cloth post partum pads to hold me thru considering laundry isn't getting done as often as I would like.  My doctor told me I had to change my pad every time I went to the bathroom due to the stitches from my episiotomy and so it wouldn't be come infected.

I'm also not producing enough breastmilk for my son.  Maybe I would be if I wasn't diagnosed with pulminary embolisms a couple of days of being discharged from the hospital with my son and readmitted to the hospital.  I'm currently on 2 blood thinners Lovonox shots and Coumadin.  My milk came in the day I was readmitted to the hospital for this.  But the stress of being hospitalized for pulminary embolisms and taking blood thinners that totally change what I am allowed to eat, still checking my blood sugars for my doctor (when I remember), making sure my son is fed every 2 hours as he was jaundiced, and still remembering to take care of myself I think the stress caused my milk production to decrease dramatically.  We've had to start supplementing with formula.  Instead of gaining weight he was losing weight.  I pump now about half the time I breast feed but he gets most of his nourishment thru formula because I'm not producing.  I've read that all the times you supplement with formula are taking away from your body producing more milk but I will start him on my breast and nothing comes out, or I start him on my breast, he gets what he can and we finish off with formula.  Now he is gaining weight.

So as much as I loved to plan prior to having this amazing little boy, I have to let it go and realize that I can't plan everything.  I pulled my acceptance to the Land of the Loon Art Festival here in Virginia a week before he was due thinking there was no way I would be able to sew enough inventory for a show in 1 month due to the fact that my downtown studio is in pieces because my tables are still being used in our garage, my machine is here.  Though my home studio is 98% done for the portion my husband and my mother have been working on, its not ready for furniture yet.  A wall and the floor still need to be finished with paint then moving furniture in, which I'm not allowed to do until 6 weeks postpartum.

I made the decision to dissolve my business, "That's Sew Jenni" December 1st of this year.  I will still make crafts and maybe sell at shows, but they'll be smaller shows, more then  likely 1 day shows that are affordable.  My son is the most important person and he deserves all of my attention.  I'm waiting till December because I do have shows I can't pull out of and get a full refund and I do want to sell out my inventory.  I've stopped making a lot of my aprons and just selling what I have.  I'm still making the smaller items because I can and have easily sold them wholesale to various shops.

So lesson learned, planning is great when its just you or you and your spouse, but bring children into the mix and ah, forget it, there are more important things in life then your to-do lists and perfect planning!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Baby has Arrived!

I'm very sorry I haven't posted anything since May 3rd!!!!  Though there were quite a few events since then to why I have not had the time to post anything.  May 4th & 5th we had a garage sale, the 4th I started experiencing contractions 5 min apart for most of the day so I went to the hospital.  False Labor.  The 5th I went in because I was leaking a clear discharge but it was not my amniotic fluid so I went home.  I swelled up like a balloon from that Saturday till the following Wednesday when I had a weekly doctor appointment.  It felt like I had tires around my upper thighs and my feet were so swollen it hurt to walk. 

The 6th-11th I was "babysat" so to speak by either my husband or my parents when my husband was at work "in case" my water broke, they didn't want me to be alone.  I told my husband and parents that on Saturday the 12th I was staying home when my husband went to work, that I wasn't going to their house because if we keep "playing it safe" I'm never going to go into labor.  All day I had been continuing to leak more clear fluid, this actually continued to happen since the previous Saturday when I went in except this time, I was getting wet more quickly.  I didn't want to go back to the hospital for another false alarm as the hospital we chose was 30 miles away, not the one 2 blocks from our house.

So I spent quite a bit of time online trying to figure out if there was a way you could test the fluid at home to know it was amniotic fluid.  I found a post that if you had ph paper and tested the fluid and it turned dark blue or 7.0 then it was amniotic fluid, as the ph balance of amniotic fluid is 6.8.  So amazingly enough I had ph paper at home.  I tested it 3x and it turned dark blue every time.  I tested my urine to make sure and that definitely did not turn dark blue.  I called the OB floor and explained, they had never heard of that and as usual told me that if that is what I suspect the only way to know is to come in so they can run a test.  So I called my mom and she picked me up and we went.  I didn't call my husband at work because last time I went in, it was a false alarm.  We went, they swabbed, we waited 20 min for the results during which my husband called my cell phone and asked me to look something up online and I said I couldn't because I was in the hospital.  He was irritated I didn't call him, but I told him, if I called you, it would be a false alarm.  I told him we were waiting and we didn't know yet and there was no reason for him to leave work if it was a false alarm.  My results came back that it was indeed amniotic fluid.  It never gushed, it trickled.  The hospital's policy is that if you are leaking amniotic fluid you are admitted.  So, I called my husband back and said, well, my water broke.

They immediately started me on pictocin via IV.  I wasn't having contractions.  Slept pretty good thru out the night, my doctor even let me eat until I got to 4 cm.  My doctor stopped by in the morning of the 13th (Mother's Day) and examined me.  Upon doing so, I suddenly felt like a gallon of warm water came gushing out of me.  I asked her, what in the world is that?!  She stated she broke my water and what I had leaking was from a small tear more then likely at the top of my uterus.  She was hoping this would speed up my contractions.  It did.  I aimed for natural child birth with no drugs.  Though eventually I couldn't handle the contractions when I was still a 2 so they gave me Fentinol which helped me go to an 8!  At which point they told me I couldn't have any more Fentinol and it was either an Intrathecal or an Epidural both which are long needles in the back and both of which I never wanted.  So I said no.  Pushing contractions were not painful like contractions that make you dilate.  I was told I pushed for 3 hours, I'm not sure if that is for baby and placenta or just baby.  You tend to lose track of time when you're pushing a baby out.

I am unsure at what point in my pushing I became utterly exhausted, but I told my doctor, "I know I said I didn't want you to use forceps or a vacuum, but I'm tired."  So she first tried an episiotomy in which I didn't feel and when they thought I should feel a burning sensation down there I never did.  Then she attached the vacuum and told me on the next push she would use the vacuum.  I have never pushed so hard in my LIFE!  We were successful except then that the umbilical cord was wrapped around my son's neck so she had the nurses push down on my pelvic cavity to stop him from going back up the birth canal, and with more pushing after that and pulling with the vacuum he was out and on my chest!  Though I remember thinking, I did it, but I can't see him, I was flat on my back with no energy to look up.  After my husband cut the umbilical cord they took him so I could expel my placenta.  Well, lets just say this was harder then anything I've ever read about it being like.  The placenta wouldn't detach so my doctor told me she had to go in after it and detach it with her hand after she had just stitched me up.  So they gave me a little bit more of the Fentinol and it was still excruciating.  Eventually she got it out and when it came out it exploded.

My little boy was born at 7:27pm on Mother's Day, weighing in at 8 lbs 6 oz, 21 inches long, with a full head of hair!  I didn't get to hold him again until 10pm when I was completely cleaned up and he was set to breast feed.

Since then on the 17th of May I called my doctor regarding what had thought I read about chest pain being a side effect of the Iron I was taking and they wanted me to come in as soon as possible.  They had me take an X-Ray that came up clean, then an EKG that was fine, and then I had to wait an hour for a CT scan in which came up with Pulminary Embolisms, I was immediately admitted to the hospital again and put on Heprin a blood thinner via an IV.  I was told I would be in the hospital 1-2 days, I was also started on coumadin.  The doctor in the hospital however told me I could go home when my INR reached 2-3.  Saturday morning I was still a 1.  However, my doctor and the lactation consultant told me I could take a form of the Heprin via a shot I administer to myself at home called Lovenox.  The only reason I didn't take it right away is because it wasn't proven safe with breast feeding.  The research indicated that the molecule in Lovenox is too big to transfer thru breastmilk and there for wouldn't affect my son.  That and if Lovenox is ingested thru the mouth it kills the drug.  So I am still giving myself Lovenox injections via a shot in the stomach.

I am scared that something will happen with the clots that they haven't dissolved since my number was a 1 when I left the hospital last Saturday and Monday morning went down to a .0.8, my doctor increased my coumadin and I get tested tomorrow again.  The clots could move to my brain and cause a stroke or to my heart and give me a heart attack.  We are praying I am ok.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Isn't it amazing how stuff just starts to "clutter" in our homes?  It doesn't take long if you don't have the mentality to not accept something that is offered to you.  If you don't have a NEED for it you simply shouldn't take it.  Have you ever seen that show "hoarders"  its amazing how people can just collect random stuff because it was super on sale or someone was giving it away free or dirt cheap.  Just because something is a HUGE deal doesn't mean you NEED it.  I think this is the mentality my dad has.  He's not a hoarder like you see on TV.  He does own a VERY LARGE house with many garages for just one guy.  He has a 4 bedroom home that is 3 levels.  All 3 levels are livable and fully furnished.  As well as an attached 2 stall garage, a detached 3 stall garage, a shed and a fish house he uses as extra storage.  He will blame most of his "stuff" on the death of my grandmother and that a lot of it is her's.  My grandmother passed away 5 years this August and I had the bulk of what she had in her last few months, after she passed, I kept what I wanted and had a large sale after she died.  So the excuse my dad uses is a crock. 

My dad will often complain that he has "no money."  This is the funniest thing I think I've ever heard him say.  For one man in his early 60s who did not pay for his only daughters education who owns a minimum of 7 cars at a time with a fully furnished home with a ton of antiques and such I find it difficult that he has no money.  He essentially retired after my grandmother passed as she was quite wealthy.  I often tell him, if you have no money then downsize to 1-2 vehicles.  Put ads in the paper and sell some of these antiques that have no other purpose in your home other then to fill a void or an empty space.  He is beyond materialistic as he says he doesn't want to exist in this world if he can't have his stuff.

Then there is me.  I've never wanted to be considered a "pack rat" like my parents.  My father is far worse then my mother and my mother is getting A LOT better as she doesn't take things she doesn't need, for her its getting rid of what she already has.  I had part of the mentality that my home needs to look homey and in order to do so, you need to fill it with furniture and items that make it look a certain way.  I've not had to purchase most of the items in my home because my grandmother supplied me with most of the furniture I'd ever need.  But, then I got married and had my own interests and likes and as time has gone on I've sold the things she gave me and accumulated "our" style items.  But we don't keep what we replace, we replace it, the old needs to leave.  I still have pieces in which I've inherited but they are worked into our lives only if we find a use for them.

Last weekend we had a garage sale and this weekend we are having another.  My husband tells me today, I'm so glad you have started parting with so many of the things you've had.  Wow.  My husband rarely says stuff like this.  I told him, there is no reason to have any of the items in the garage that we've hauled out there.  He's glad I'm parting with my grandparents Wedding Dishes, like I told my parents, I don't have a table that seats 12, let alone an occasion in which to have such a party that you would use rare, breakable dishes, they sit and collect dust in our livingroom.  Our house wouldn't even fit that many people.  This is not 1950.

I just went thru my jewelry boxes.  I've always had 3 boxes.  Which is kind of funny if you know me.  When I'm not pregnant and have normal size fingers, I will always be wearing my wedding ring and 1 other ring which I saved for, for 2 summers and had my eye on at an Art Gallery in Grand Marais, MN.  That's it for rings, I don't wear bracelets, I wear a watch, and then usually a silver chain my husband bought for me for my 16th birthday with either a cross pendant my mother bought me the same year at Christmas or one of the many other pendants I've picked up over the years.  That's it.  I don't wear earrings pierced or regular, I had pierced ears at one point in time, but I've always had the mentality, "I am me for me, if you want me to wear make-up, jewelry, high heels, etc. then you need find something else to be your friend, because I am me, the way I am."  Plus, high heels hurt, yes they can be cute, but seriously people cute is over rated, comfort is so much better!  Who cares what people say about you, its what you say about you that matters.

I also just went thru my shoes.  All flats, all entirely adorable.  Though my dainty feet are no longer so, I'm still 9 months pregnant and my feet are swollen but I fear they have spread and they don't go back, so 6 pairs of totally adorable shoes are waiting on going out to the garage.  I kept a pair in white and a pair in black that I had on not that long ago that I'm hoping after the baby is born and the swelling goes away I can still wear them.

My point is we gather "clutter" so easily.  When was the last time you brought something home you didn't need?  Think about it, do you need it?  Did you need it at the time?  Is it something you could have borrowed instead?  I'm a huge buyer of books or at least I used to be.  Now I look online in my local library's catalog.  If my library doesn't have it, another library does, they'll get it for me.  If its a book with so much GREAT info that I can't live with out then I look on ebay or amazon for a used cheaper version and then buy that.  Barnes and Nobel is no longer a place I go in and come out with $60 worth in books because I can read most of them for free from the library.

I'm decluttering/organizing/cleaning because I'm nesting and I don't want all this excess "junk" taking up my time when my time is supposed to be with my bundle of joy when he arrives.  People are irreplaceable.  I tell this to my husband all the time, we are often in the city in which his family lives and I often encourage him to visit, and he doesn't want to.  Then they blame me for keeping him from his family which I'm not sure why they don't call and ask him why he doesn't come instead of just blaming me?  But whatever.  I see it as we need to spend time with people vs our junk.  Not every one sees it that way including my own father but when you can control the clutter to make room for family time, DO IT!

I'm going back to bringing items out to the garage as it grew quite dark all of a sudden and its only 4:19pm, hoping it doesn't rain...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Challenge over...

Well, I guess you can say one should never start a 2 week challenge at the end of their pregnancy and during a crazy time in which one is also setting up and working a garage sale.  I didn't even get a chance to check my blood sugar consistently over the last couple of days.  Our garage sale went very well.  The garage was full of stuff we had brought out to the garage over the last couple of months so we didn't have room to bring out anything from the house really.  We sold 95% of our antiques within the 1st hour on Friday morning. 

We have now decided as of yesterday when I came in the house after the sale was over that since everything is still set up, why not keep it set up and have another sale this coming weekend, that way I don't have to pack it all up and wait for the sale we plan on having at my mom's in August.  As long as my water doesn't break we can have another sale and I can get the stuff out of the house.  So yesterday, I desperately needed to clean our living room and decided to rearrange while I cleaned, ensuring I wouldn't miss a corner of the living room to find items for our next sale.  I found quite a bit.  But I also feel better that the living room is baby ready...almost.

I have a bit of monthly cleaning I'd like to get done before he comes as well as finish sewing some of his items.  But if I don't, my mom can do them too.

I think we planned our sale at a good time.  I haven't worked since the beginning of April and I wasn't remembering when my last paycheck was going to come.  Last Friday would have been a usual payday but I didn't get a paycheck, so it was nice to make the money we did which was far more then my paychecks have been in quite some time.  Now we can pay off things sooner.  Garage sales really are a win-win.  You sell your "stuff" you don't need to make some money you need all while making someone else happy in the process, fulfilling their needs or wants.

Well, its back to cleaning for me.  Decided to take a break to email my hubby at work, check in here, and now to getting some much needed baking/food prep done for the week.  I'm excited to start planning my home improvement projects for the summer and the first one is making a hutch for a family heirloom which is a gate leg table that sits in our kitchen.  I noticed while sitting in the garage the last few days that we should have plenty of lumber to make it so I don't have to spend a dime on making it.  Except for maybe some stain to match the table.

Happy almost May!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Challenge Day 4

Yesterday....remember, jenni, remember.  I really shouldn't wait till the next day to write the challenge post.  Remembering is not my strong suite these days, but I remember napping yesterday and a lot of laying down due to various aches, pains, and cramps.

I honestly can't remember what I had for breakfast.  I had mid stage peanut butter cookie granola for breakfast.  Mid stage as it was done being baked in the oven but waiting to be dehydrated.  It was pretty good.  I think I almost like this kind of granola better at that stage then the dehydrated stage, it would make a good crust to something with fruit and cream cheese on top.  Now there's a thought.   Lunch was frozen pizza, dinner was boxed shrimp scampi and frozen veggies both which I learned were not so healthy after I ate them, my blood sugars didn't go up, but the munchies did!  I remember combating the munchies with strawberries and when my husband came home from work at 11:45pm and he ate ramen noodles those looked pretty good too, so I made a pkg, but that put me to sleep.

There are just some foods in our house that are inevitable until you realize they are loaded with a ton of bad ingredients usually after you eat them.  The "Ah-huh" moment doesn't settle in until you realize you are eating and munching more then you should.

I'm at that stage right now that I need to be organized so I can start prepping meals ahead of time so I'm not in that "what am I gonna eat now" mentality.  That's another cue for munching.  I'm currently tired all the time with little ambition or energy to get anything done, I have fantastic intentions but, that's all they are, intentions.

Something else to consider when attempting to eat healthy is the aluminum content in your body and what you are doing to your body with out realizing it.  Keeper of the Home had an interesting blog post today, you should check it out here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Challenge Day 3

Sorry I didn't get a chance to post yesterday.  It was a bit of a whirl wind and after my husband started making pizza in the oven for lunch I walked into the kitchen and said, "Honey!  There is smoke coming out of the oven!" He said, "ya, it did that the other day too." I opened the oven and turned it off, "there's a fire in the oven!!!!"  So needless to say when the fire was out and the oven was cold I had my work cut out for me as I had intended on finishing my grain free peanut butter cookie granola yesterday which the next step was to bake it for 30 min before dehydrating it.

I've used Easy off in the past but with making our home toxic free in time for our little one to arrive I grabbed my homemade all natural all purpose cleaner, steel wool, and a trusty microfiber cloth.  Let me tell you, it was hard work!  The natural cleaner worked just as good as the easy off it not better but it was hard because I'm 9 months pregnant, my tummy couldn't get me near enough, I was on my knees which has been difficult for me to maneuver if I'm on the floor to getting up.  I took many breaks because I was having back pain.  But, I'm quite proud of how clean the oven got with just homemade all natural cleaner.  The recipe is under the baby safe cleaner tab.

Yesterday for breakfast I had the last of my cinnamon grain free granola and soy milk.  (Soy not so great, but it was all I could find at the time and had stocked up and my husband won't drink it so I'll continue using it until its gone!)  Then I had frozen pizza for lunch, a grain free easy black and white cake piece, wasn't at all hungry for dinner yesterday but knew I had to eat because my little boy needed some nourishment so I had left over Amish Omelet. 

On a totally different subject, I have been trying to make a home planner with a monthly planned out menu, with daily chores, reminders, etc.  First I was going to make it with a standard binder but I have this plan to make a hutch for an antique gate leg table that was my great-grandmother's that sit in our kitchen.  The regular binder would hang off the hutch and just because I'm picky I want everything to fit.  I have a couple of small blue binders I had gotten free somewhere in the past but haven't been able to use them because being smaller the holes in the paper need to be closer together.  Well, I fixed that problem because a while back I purchased a 3 hole punch that I could move the end hole cutters.  But I wanted to put my printed sheets in page protectors and use dry erase markers so I wouldn't have to waste paper.  But when I down sized to the smaller binder now I needed smaller page protectors until I had an idea last night.  I bought an entire roll of clear contact paper hoping to figure out how to make my own frosted look with it make some of the windows in our home privacy screened.  I wrote on a small area this morning with a dry erase marker and waited about 5 min, sure enough it wiped clean!  So I'm going to put my half size sheets on contact paper and then put in my binder so I don't have to waste paper for my organization!  Totally excited about this!  I'll post pictures when I'm in the process!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Challenge Day 2

Well, today was a bit more of a challenge.  I had my last two cinnamon bun grain free muffins for breakfast, didn't pack a snack because I didn't have one to pack and did good.  Sent my husband to Subway to get me a 6" flat bread sub with Turkey, veggies, and mayo, a diet coke, and cookies...?  I know.  But it satisfied me, no munchies.  I imagine there was so bad veggie oils in the flatbread, the mayo, definitely the diet coke, and the cookies.  My parents took me out to dinner at Perkins (I usually don't eat out much but they helped me tear down and unload and I really didn't feel like cooking) so I had their new Mediterranean omelet (which was amazing!), with a bowl of fresh fruit and a pancake.  The pancake is the only thing in question, but I've been satisfied all night.  Did you know that even in powdered coffee creamer there are the same ingredients as in liquid and the only ingredients are vegetable oils?  Sad.

So are you paying attention to what you're eating and what's in what you're eating?  Are you being shocked at what's on the labels or if you've eaten something lately and then realized you're still entirely hungry and you keep snacking...then checking the label to find the culprit?  Its sucks doesn't it?  Well, the more whole foods we eat the less processed and the more we control what we eat!

On a different note, today was the 4th annual Iron Range Earth Fest in my neck of the woods.  Great day!  I've had a booth for the last 3 years including this year.  The first year I mainly demonstrated how to recycle Plastic Bags into a reusable material.  Last year I debuted reusable sandwich and produce bags and this year I brought back reusable sandwich bags, debuted Handy Helper aprons which I've been making for about a year now as well as a few other kinds of aprons I make, but am just selling what I have and then no longer making them.

I met some awesome people!  Found out my parents are friends with a man who owns a strawberry farm where I can pick locally, organically grown strawberries.  Also made a contact with a local farmer's market group where I'm attending a new vendor's meeting on Tuesday to sign up to sell my reusable sandwich bags, aprons, and produce bags at this summer for a super small cost.  Made a lot of contacts on buying grass fed beef, pork, chicken as well as organically grown vegetables.

I found 3 awesome cedar planter's that are pre-made raised beds for gardening from the Cedar People out of Gheen, MN who were entirely affordable!  $35 a bed or 3 beds for $100!  My parents decided to buy me and my husband 3 for our anniversary which isn't until the end of June but still totally exciting!  I know just where they are gonna go and now I can start determining exactly what I want to plant.  I'm going to do a mix of vertical gardening and regular gardening.  I have a ton of ideas on more boxes but I think they're gonna have to wait till next year because we have to remove about 8 trees from our backyard because they are interfering with the power lines for both the city and our own that runs power to our garage.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 1: Getting Rid of the Munchies

Things are going pretty good today.  I had 2 grain free home made cinnamon bun muffins with cream cheese frosting for breakfast.  Good and Garlic Pizza for lunch, grain free black and white cake that I made last night for mid afternoon dessert.  I ate out with my parents at Pizza Ranch tonight, I had a large salad, 2 chicken legs, and 1 piece of pizza.  No crazy cravings or munchies and I've been satisfied all day.  Everything on my salad this evening except for the dressing was a whole food.  I'm assuming there would be some horrible rotten veggie oils in the ranch dressing, but used in moderation I feel ok.

My husband and I did a little grocery shopping this afternoon and I'm in the process of making my next batch of almond flour granola for breakfast since my 5 lbs of Almond Flour arrived today from Honeyville.  This time instead of Cinnamon I plan on making the peanut butter cookie almond flour granola which I'm going to need 2 cups of peanut butter for.  Last weekend I learned it really is easy to make your own homemade nut butters without all the additives and preservatives by simply putting nuts in a food processor and processing till it turns to a creamy nut butter.  We (my mom and I) made almond butter last weekend.  But looking at the ingredient labels of peanut butter today regular peanut butters are out as they are loaded with corn syrup and veggie oils.  The natural peanut butters don't contain the corn syrup or the veggie oils.  Some contain coconut oil, but that is a safe oil, it won't give you the munchies, but that also costs about $5 a jar vs $3-4 a jar.  So when I finish my grocery shopping I'm guessing on Sunday since tomorrow I'll be at Earth Fest all day, I'm gonna check the price on peanuts and make my own.  Granted my granola will take me a bit longer to make I'd rather keep the bad oils out.

So day 1 I think I did pretty good.  Tomorrow I'll be gone from 9-4 and will need to either pack my lunch and snacks or send the hubby to find food (probably not a great idea).  So I'll let you know tomorrow night how the day went.

Happy Earth Day!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

2 week Challenge: Getting Rid of the Munchies

Its amazing to me how many things we need to change in our diets in order to really live and eat a healthy diet.  Carbs are and can be bad depending on how you are consuming them and in what form.  Fat is good for you, though specific fats and other specific fats will make you fat, sugar is just not good for you unless it is in a natural form.  Controlling your blood sugar you need to eat protein with the carb so that it doesn't spike your blood sugar.  Eating fiber for a good digestive system while consuming adequate amounts of water (yes water, not coffee, tea, soda).  How is it that we got into such a confusing eating pattern of eating all the wrong foods, suffering from inflammation, a whole host of diseases our grandparents didn't have issues with until the last 30 years?  I'm thinking we got too busy listening to phrases such as "time is money and money is time" that we rushed and rushed and then came convenience foods that were grab and go and they tasted good and we didn't think about stopping to consider what in the world are we eating, it tasted good that's all that mattered.  We were brought up that if its sold in the grocery store is safe to eat other wise the government would have something to say about it right?

Well, we've been learning a thing or two about our government, they're in it for the money like every other corporate company, "time is money."  Well, I used to say the same thing, but something amazing happened to me in August of last year that I didn't find out about until Last September.  I'm going to be a mommy!  If you speak to my mother, she'll say that's nothing new I've been a mommy for 3.5 years already, but my baby Peyton isn't with us.  And unfortunately until we named our baby, I would forget about him or her because I was so insistent on "time is money", I didn't realize it till about a year ago when my mother told me to stand up with her on Mother's Day in church, I told her I'm not a mom, she said, "oh yes you are."  I cried.  I had forgotten.  I didn't have a funeral plot to visit, I didn't know if I was going to have a boy or a girl, so I told my husband we have to name our baby, I can't forget.  So we named him or her Peyton a boy/girl name.  I then named my children's aprons I've been creating for 2 years, "Peyton" so I would have a constant reminder of my baby that I lost 3.5 years ago.  So when God blessed us last summer with the news that we were gonna have a baby, I stopped and thought to myself, there is nothing more important in this world then my baby.  Time is not money.  Time is irreplaceable like my Peyton and my son who at the moment loves to stick is feet in my rib cage and kick me so that it feels like I'm a punching bag and yes, its uncomfortable, but I think its just him reminding me to stop and see the bigger picture.  We need to take care of ourselves and each other and be happy with who we are and what we have.

I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in February of this year.  Though they say as soon as he's born it will be gone, but it does increase his chances of developing diabetes later in life as well as for myself.  I hate that.  I hate that as a mother, a wife, a daughter, another citizen of the U.S. that I can't just walk into the grocery store and buy safe, healthy foods for myself and my family.  That instead there are essentially toxins in everything on the shelves in the grocery store all the way down to the produce because it was treated with pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers.  Why is eating healthy so labor intensive?

I've come to the conclusion after going thru my kitchen last night that I want to rid our home and our bodies from unhealthy foods and it can't wait till payday or when I have time or that special moment to figure it all out at once.  So I'm starting a 2 week challenge of omitting from our diets oils that create the munchies to start with.  And posting my findings here will help me stay on track as my placenta brain likes to be forgetful.  Join me if you want to see if veggie oils do really cause the munchies and how you feel after omitting them, comment below on your findings.

Omega 6's to not consume: soybean, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, corn (including corn syrup)
Omega 6's that are beneficial: borage oil, black currant oil, evening primrose oil

Check the ingredient labels before you consume anything.  Like I know the large sugar free creamer I just bought last week has all the bad oils in concentrated form in it, but I will probably still continue using it until its gone and NEVER buying it again.  I'll be posting recipes along the way of things I'm learning to make that are homemade and my local resources.  One way around flavored sugar free creamer is to use organic cream and flavored stevia.  Its pricier but healthier and knowing it costs more may make you take the time to enjoy it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Veggie Oils, Munchies, and fixing the problem

Earlier this week I was reading The Healthy Home Economist's blog post "How Vegetable Oils Make us Fat."  Good article.  The article stated that the omega 6's in vegetable oils give us the munchies.  I had put the blog post out of mind until today.  I decided to make grain free crepes with strawberries and a creamy filling.  I currently have gestational diabetes so I have to find my sweet fix and all eating options by watching my blood sugar.  I knew from my experiment a few weeks ago that since I make the strawberry crepes from scratch I know what is going into the recipe so I know to control any sugar levels.  Though, it dawned on me today when I made them, ate them, put the left overs away and about an hour and half later I got the munchies.  I looked in the fridge and as usual nothing I can eat that won't raise my blood sugar unless I eat more crepes.  So I ate the rest of the crepes but then that reminded me of the blog post about too much Omega 6's causing the munchies.  I had the munchies, last night I had the munchies, I get the munchies a lot.

So I did a little research to find out what I had in my Strawberry Crepes that could have caused the munchies.  I thought I was eating healthy.  I started with the creamy mixture I make from cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, splenda (i know isn't the greatest) and vanilla.  My crepes only contain tapioca starch, splenda, eggs, and water so I knew that wasn't my issue and I knew the strawberries weren't the issue.  I googled the ingredients of cream cheese.  The cream cheese I use was purchased from the grocery store on sale last week for the generic brand.  Here is my "duh" moment.  I didn't buy organic cream cheese or natural cream cheese, I bough commercial cream cheese which means the milk that was used to make the cream cheese more then likely wasn't an organic, grass fed cow, instead it was a grain fed cow and from the LiveStrong website, Omega 6's are typically found in grains, cereals, vegetable oils, meat and dairy.

Now I'm totally new to this topic and from what I understand Omega 6's are a vital nutrient in moderation.  They are found in the list I just stated but in whole foods such as nuts and seeds they are totally healthy to eat because the oils are not in a concentrated form like veggie oil.  It also is now occurring to me that instead of using coconut oil to smear my pan with when making the crepes I sprayed Pam... I wonder what Pam is made out of? Canola and soybean oil.  That could be the culprit to my munchies too.  And I suppose considering how often I have the munchies I must like most American's have an absorbancy built up in my system and its all about eating whole foods and really paying attention to what I'm eating and where it came from.  I'm going to continue my research on this topic.  Its already been sitting in the back of my mind to make my own yogurt, water kefir, kombucha, etc and from what I understand you can make homemade cream cheese from yogurt and to stay away from munchie producing cravings I will probably make my own organic yogurt vs the easy way out and making it from store bought yogurt.

So I'm adding on to my post.  Now that I know what I'm looking for in the ingredients 98% of what is in my cupboards/fridge/pantry contains all those bad Omega 6's in high concentrated form.  The sugar free coffee creamer 1st two ingredients corn syrup and cottonseed oil.  I made egg salad for dinner and the olive oil mayo from Kraft that I use has canola oil in it amongst many other veggie oils.  So I guess I'm gonna have the munchies tonight too.  Its amazing when you try eating healthy and you learn of all the bad ingredients that are hidden in food you think is safe and healthy.  I need to switch to whole foods now and not later.  So I think I'm gonna start spending a lot of time on the GNOWFLINS.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My meaning

It dawned on me today that I don't particularly enjoy sewing a ton of one thing for other people.  This is also the same reason why I will NOT do clothing repairs or alterations for people.  Why?  People are never happy.  People nit pick until there is nothing to pick.  You create a new pattern based upon customer requests you have your handful of happy/delighted customers and then the run of the mill grumpy people who are never happy who buy and then want to return because its not what they thought it was even though you have so many pictures showing the very last detail of your product.  So this is part of the reason why I am turning most of my "That's Sew Jenni" design company into a pattern only company.  I designed the patterns you can sew the product.

Though the other reason that made me realize today that I'm in the wrong business is I don't have a passion for what I'm doing.  People say you should blog your passion.  Didn't think about that when I started writing this blog.  I've always had a passion for being self-sufficient.  I enjoy and have a passion to sew when I create something I need, or just design and create something I need in general whether I sew it or not.  That is my passion.  And along with creating what I need vs buying it I do have a great passion for conserving, growing a garden, saving money, budgeting, planning, staying organized, etc.  I do have a passion for entrepreneurship as well but you need a business plan for that part of any venture.

I'm not sure where my passion will lead me or into what exactly.  But if anyone is reading this blog I guess you'll find out.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Homemade Nut butter

So I found this really great blog post last week when I was researching a grain free diet.  Not sure how I found it, maybe it was thru the Frugally Sustainable blog I've been attached to.  The blog post goes to instructions on how to make your own nut butter.  I don't own a food processor but my mom does.  She didn't believe me that by just putting a nut of choice in the food processor and pulsating it, that it would first turn into flour, but if you continued it would turn into Nut Butter.  So this morning after church my husband and I stopped by Target to pick up some already roasted salted almonds and after lunch I put them in my mom's food processor and showed her the flour and then continued and made almond butter.  It didn't take me as long to make the flour or the butter as the blog post stated it might take.

Almonds are high in fiber and protein, low in carbs, 1g of sugar per 1/4 cup and 6% iron.  Its like a complete meal.  I added some vanilla to mine, though I was just experimenting, probably could have added more.  Made enough to fill 2-6oz glass jars, one for me and one for mom.

So instead of buying peanut butter premade which we are currently out of, I think I will just buy some peanuts and head on over to my mom's and make home made peanut butter so I can ensure its not too sugary.

Well, I've been gone since 10am this morning as we went to church, then went to my mom's and my husband left for work from my mom's and my mom just dropped me off at home.  I have a ton of dishes to get done and I'm still sewing reusable sandwich bags and handy helper's for this coming Saturday's 4th Annual Iron Range Earth Fest that I've been a vendor for the past couple of years.  Its my last show before I expect our little one.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Food, Recipes, Menu's, Meal Planning, Budgeting

So far this week I seem to be concentrating on good wholesome food choices which are essential to a healthy life.  Its a lot of thinking and remembering and those ah ha moments when you didn't know you were eating a certain way without realizing it.  I'm learning a lot about the Paleo diet which is based upon the hunter/gather ancestors of ours where grain wasn't part of their diet and how grain has lead to so many dietary issues.

I might have mentioned quite a few blog posts ago that in 2007 I had met my natural doctor Monica Liddle.  Monica had put me on an anti-inflammatory diet to help control and cure my endometriosis.  It worked while I stayed on it.  What I didn't realize until now though is that I wasn't eating any grains when I was on her diet and nor was I consuming dairy.  I often had buckwheat hot cereal for breakfast, buckwheat isn't a grain its a fruit, also known as Kasha.  I'd have tea and a fruit for mid morning snack, lunch was a salad with protein of some sort and a vinaigrette salad dressing, mid afternoon snack was a different type of tea and more fruit and supper often was steamed veggies with butter.  Essentially I should still be on this diet regardless that I'm pregnant.  Though I would need to up the anty on the proteins since you need about 70g of protein per day when you're pregnant.

But what I'm also learning is grain free, dairy free recipes can taste amazing and be totally healthy for you.  I found a recipe online for grain free, gluten free, dairy free cereal which I made this week, a lengthy process because you have to soak the almond and coconut flour for 24 hours in yogurt or kefir, then you have to bake it for 30 min at 350 degrees, and then dehydrate it at 200 degrees for 24 hours.  Its amazing.  I bought my almond flour and coconut flour from out of New York State, shipping was free, and if you wanted to expedite it which I did, 2nd day air with UPS was only $10!  Though the pound I ordered from them for almond flour is just about all used up with that one recipe of cereal and there are so many other things I want to make that call for it.  So I'm trying to figure out a monthly menu and buy in bulk accordingly.  As we have went from multiple trips around town for items to 1 day shopping per month.

I've also read this week how easy and inexpensive it is for you to make your own nut butters, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, etc.  I did a little price comparison shopping last week at our local whole foods co-op to see what their prices stand up to online retailers.  Some they were cheaper in some they weren't.  It pays to take notice.

I'd like to get our menu done for May along with all the shopping and prepping as early in May as possible as my due date nears.  I don't think we'll have a lot of visitors other then my mother and my best friend from Alaska who's coming as she is to be one of our son's God Mothers so I should be able to manage the cooking and taking care of a newborn and eating healthy all at the same time.  My doctor told me that all the while I plan on breastfeeding I still need to take a prenatal.  Right now they are pushing for me to take my iron supplement which I can't take because it makes me so entirely constipated and that's always been an issue for me.  So I'm trying to incorporate it in other means.

When I figure all this out, I'll post it, maybe you'll see something you like.