Archive | May, 2011

What I’ve Been Up To…

29 May

I wanted a lighter-weight diaper bag because I kept hitting random people in the grocery store checkout with my 5-pound glazed Petunia Picklebottom backpack…
Diaper bag sewing

Pleated diaper bag

This door leads from our kitchen to our laundry room. It’s always open so the cats can use the litter box, but the visual clutter from the shelves of cleaning supplies and kitchen storage was driving me crazy. This curtain helps hide it. It’s a twin sheet from Target, hemmed and hung on a tension rod. The tie-back matches our cafe kitchen curtains.
Kitchen curtain in doorway

My friend recently graduated so I whipped up this handy business card case. Now I want one! Not that I have business cards.
Sewing business card case

Sewing business card case

I’ve been taking the kids for long walks lately to help my daughter run off some steam. The other day we saw a crow on our walk and started talking about what a crow’s nest might look like, what color the eggs would be, etc. So after nap we sat down and painted a crow’s nest. We didn’t have any black paint; brown crows look a little less… uhhh…. greasy? anyway. I painted the crows, tree trunk and cloud; my 3-year-old did the rest.
Preschool art

The eggs hatched…
Preschool art

That’s all for now. Hope you are enjoying your Memorial Day weekend!

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Saving Money by Not Spending It

19 May

Looking for tips on how to save money? I’ve got a great one:

Don’t spend it.

This is also probably one of the hardest money-saving tips to put into action. I know I suffer from want-itis often. Our 3-year-old daughter? Yeah, she’s got it too. You just try to make it out of Target without a meltdown in the toy aisle. I dare you!

In the coming weeks I’ll write more about the methods I have used to manage our household finances so we could be a single-income family in Southern California. But for now, let’s keep it simple: Don’t buy stuff. Extraneous stuff. Stuff you don’t need. Stuff that will fill up your house with clutter. Stuff you will step on six times a day while walking from your living room to your kitchen. Stuff that replaces other stuff that still works perfectly well. Stuff like beautiful purses and a fourth pair of flip-flops and vintage-looking seagrass baskets with quaint little chalkboard labels on them that are just so adorable and would perfectly store all of those Little Tikes train tracks you picked up at a garage sale a few weeks ago… Yeah, that kind of stuff.

Like most families, we are not saving as much money as we should be. One way that I am going to begin combating that is by depositing money into our savings account whenever I am seriously considering buying something that is not necessary. Example: My 4-month-old baby loves this toy by Lamaze, Jacques the Peacock. At least, I think he does. As much as a 4-month-old can love a toy. He drools on it. And his eyes get bigger when he sees it. I hear it crinkling in his car seat when we are driving somewhere. That’s good enough for me! Anyway, Lamaze makes other toys, like this Mortimer the Moose. I think it’s adorable. And look at those reviews! I am a sucker for good reviews, let me tell you. I don’t buy anything that doesn’t have more than four stars on Amazon.

I realized that as cute (and well-reviewed) as I think Mortimer is, he isn’t necessary. So instead of buying him, I turned around and transferred that amount of money into our savings account.

Actually, I rounded up. Mortimer is $12.69, and I took $15 from our checking and moved it into savings.

It’s not much. But once money is in our savings, we tend to leave it alone and let it grow. I’m hoping I can turn this into a new habit. Maybe you would like to give it a try?

If there is something you want to buy, resist. Take the amount of money you would have spent on a frivolous item and deposit it into your savings account instead. Whatever method you choose to track your finances, leave a little memo there for the record. Mine will say, “In honor of Mortimer.”

What will you resist buying this month?

Happy Things

11 May

Hello everyone! I hope you had a pleasant Mother’s Day filled with hugs and kisses, macaroni jewelry and homemade picture frames.

My dear sweet husband and little girl rewarded me with some lovely flowers in an adorable blue, vintage-looking planter. I love them!

Every time I walk by them I smile. I think it’s so important to have things in your home that make you happy. Not expensive things, just simple, beautiful things like fresh flowers in a pretty pot.

Or this mouse pad.

It’s kind of random, I know. But I found this fabric at Jo-Ann and fell in love. I discovered a tutorial from Make It and Love It for a fabric-covered mouse pad and I was sold. It was so easy, 10 minutes tops. Every time I glimpse over at it I smile. I’m smiling now. I wonder if my husband ever notices me sitting here and smiling at my mouse pad. He probably thinks I’ve gone over the edge which isn’t far from the truth. But as long as I can bring my happy flowers and my happy flowered mouse pad to the loony bin I’ll be golden.

What object in your home makes you smile?

Happy Mother’s Day

7 May

I am writing this post from a chair in my daughter’s room. I am waiting for her to fall asleep. She is dangling her stuffed penguin – who wears a scarf and hat to keep warm – over the bed rail, pretending she is Rapunzel and the penguin’s scarf is her hair. We watched “Tangled” tonight for the first time as a family, the baby dozing on and off in my arms, my daughter asking a million questions in between attempts to leap over the baby and me and launch herself onto Daddy’s lap.

After the movie and before coming up to her room, I picked up a crate full of train tracks, stepped on a plastic swordfish, watched the baby chew on his fingers and spit up simultaneously, collected all of the wardrobe changes from the living room floor, and changed a diaper.

Motherhood is nothing like I expected it to be. It is far less glamorous.

Motherhood is infinitely harder than I thought it would be.

Motherhood can get a lot uglier than I ever imagined it would be. The bodily functions, the sleep deprivation, the tantrums, the grief and frustration.

But there is beauty in motherhood – such raw beauty.

A screaming, red-faced newborn being held by his overwhelmed, terrified and elated mom.

Impossibly tiny fingernails and impossibly long eyelashes.

Those eyelashes fluttering as baby sleeps at her mother’s breast.

First, second, third and 283rd smiles, each one more contagious than the last.

Giggles, then laughter. So many giggles and so much laughter.

Soft snuggles, stories, kisses on damp heads after bath time.

Pride. Joy. Worry. And love. So so much love. Love that hurts. And underneath it all this fear that life will try to take your babies away. You imagine every scenario, every disaster, and you hurt just imagining it. Because your babies and your heart, they’re the same thing. They can never be separated.

I am honored to be a mother. I am proud of my children and the work I do in raising them. I feel joy when I see their faces. I kiss them so often that I don’t bother wearing lipstick.

That gorgeous little girl of mine with the Rapunzel hair, she’s asleep now. Those impossibly long eyelashes cast a shadow across her cheek. I want to kiss her even now but I want her to sleep more. The baby is sleeping too. I don’t know which clothes on the bedroom floor are clean and which are dirty. There are dishes in the sink and we desperately need to wash diapers in the morning. And it is anyone’s guess how many times I will be woken up tonight.

Motherhood is infinitely harder than I thought it would be.

And it’s so beautiful.

Mom, I love you.