Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Moving Up and Moving On

Alex and I plus baby and our two little critters be moving out of our current dwelling in exactly 19 days. And let me tell you I AM SO EXCITED! The move is going to be a challenge with the distance alone, one of our challenges has been finding a home. We want to rent because with the military you never know how long you may be some where. We've seen some contenders online and we will have to make a decision before we move but I have my eye on a cute little historical home (emailed them and they told me that I could paint if I want to). We have a town home that we've paid half of a deposit on and if the cute house doesn't work out the town home will be our fall-back, but we should know something by the end of the week. The Rest of this post I wrote about a week ago but we've been so busy and with our current lack of Internet it makes it incredibly hard to stay on top of these blog updates, but I hope you enjoy.....
All that in mind since we are ending our lease early we must pay two months of rent while we are in Kansas which would not be ideal. Yesterday I used the day as a relaxation time. I started cleaning up around 4pm and I hadn't even showered or put decent clothes on for the day when my husband called me and asked if the on-site realtor for our building could show our apartment to a potential renter and if it went well we may not have to pay the two months rent. I was not in any shape to be seen by ANYONE and the apartment looked like it had exploded. The realtor and prospect agreed to come back tomorrow.
I then spent a good chunk of my evening and all of my morning feverishly cleaning our little home. This really wasn't that much of a burden though, our apartment is getting packed up gradually and we've been cleaning but having early clean-freak deadlines is really nice because it gives me a goal to shoot for.
Now that my house is virtually spotless I couldn't help but take some pictures of my favorite places in my home that I'm really going to miss.
Our dining table!
It looks so beautiful next to our exposed brick wall and our huge windows that let in so much light all day long! Our windows are so awesome and let in so much daylight, and our brick wall is something that I don't know if we'll ever get to have in our home again but I love it so much and it adds so much interest to our home.

Our adorable bathroom!
Our bathroom is beyond perfect, it has wonderful granite counter tops and great tile. We added the glass shelf above the towel rack as well as the picture frame on the mirror. It definitely added some class to a plain wall mirror.

Our family wall!
I worked on gathering personal stuff for this wall. Our engagement story from the paper, coral from our honeymoon in Hawaii, a cross my best friend's parents bought for us and lots of pictures from our wedding and dating days. I love it! It's a good representation of us.

I can't forget about our church pew! 
This is probably the most random item in our home and everyone comments on it and asks where on earth we got it. Answer: creepy abandoned church. I love it though and it is just the right length for our super long entry hallway (ignore our moving boxes stacked at the end).      

The view from the pew!
If you were to sit on the pew this is what you would see. 
The wooden artwork is a really pretty addition to the back wall, which I think adds a lot of color to an otherwise very plain hallway. 

We just received word today that the potential renter for our apartment has decided to rent it!!! Yay! we are so excited because this means we only have to pay rent covering till the day we move out. Also, when he came to look at our apartment he noticed some wall shelves that Alex and I built when we first moved in out of pretty iron brackets and re-purposed wood from some of the historical buildings in the area and offered us 50$ if he decided to rent. He's coming by with a check tomorrow! We are really excited that we don't have to go through the trouble of taking the shelves down and that we are making our money back on them! Now we just need to keep our fingers crossed that we will get the house that we want in Kansas!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Nursery Inspiration

Of course since the day I thought I might be pregnant I've been trying to put together the perfect nursery. Since we still don't know what we're having and because we're wanting some bigger items to last through a few babies I decided that I wanted to use grey in the nursery and then depending on boy or girl we would pull in other colors.
I really love this Chicco baby bouncer, I think the wooden accents make it look so much cuter and more artistically designed than plastic. And of course it's grey which fits perfectly into our color scheme.

I also want to stick with grey crib sheets and then find coordinating bumper and other linens. I found these on amazon. There isn't much grey in the baby section at target and other stores these days.

I think that grey and yellow are so pretty together and they seem to be a really popular color scheme, however I never wanted to have a yellow nursery, for some reason that idea just never really appealed to me. I would totally have a pink nursery though, and I love pink, grey and yellow together.

I've been looking around to find accent pieces that would look great in both nurseries. I found a really classy yellow lamp stand at target that is so cute.Apparently chevron print is really in and I'm totally okay with that. I love this pink chevron print pillow.

I want to tie the dark grey into the color scheme with furniture pieces. This Ikea dresser is the perfect height and width to be a changing table and it has drawers for all of baby's clothes! If we end up going this route I plan find a crib with fancy-ish looking legs to coordinate with the changing table and then painting the crib to match.


Rust and light blue is such a cute color combination, and the grey is subtle enough that it compliments the color combo without being overpowering. I have drawn the rust color from an armchair that was my Mamaw's, and it would coordinate perfectly in this little boy room.

I found a blue chevron pillow just like the pink. And today at Target I found these great blue and grey curtains on sale for $20, you can't beat that!!

I plan to buy a crib and matching dresser in the dark wood color. I really like the babyletto crib and dresser from target. It is a bit steep for a crib and dresser but I found a very similar(as in absolutely the same) dresser and crib on Walmart.com much cheaper.
I guess we'll have to wait until Febuary 7th to find out which color scheme will be in our baby's nursery!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mommy Must Haves And Something I wish I Had Not.

Being pregnant, it seems that I require so many more accessories than I did before to accommodate all the changes. Every magazine and pregnancy website seems to have their list of "Mommy Must Haves", after trying some of these products and finding many on my own, I thought my own review of these mom products would be helpful.
When you become pregnant lots of weird things start happening to your body. I've heard of women's hair changing color, feet growing, heightened gag reflects, liking food that was disgusting to the individual before the pregnancy, skin break outs and strange dreams are just a few. One of the first things I noticed was hair loss.....on my head. I was definitely less than thrilled. I'm not talking about underneath hair that could be easily disguised, I had full on on top and in the front hair loss on the side where I normally would part my hair. I parted my hair on the opposite side of my head which was really tricky in the beginning because of the way my hair falls naturally, but the real problem was when I started to get regrowth. Yay! Regrowth sounds like a good thing right? Not so much.... If I kept my hair parted on the side with hair loss I had one gnarly one sided mullet, this was not good. Even if I continued parting my hair on the opposite side I hade little spiky pieces of hair sticking out and up everywhere! I went out and bought and Herbal Essences leave-in protector, it's called Long Term Relationship(available Here) and it's for repair and protection. I put one squirt of the product(about the size of a nickel) in my hair after my shower, morning and night and it's helpful conditioning my hair and when I blow dry my hair it tames the regrowth down and allows my hair to be smooth no one can see the regrowth.
One side-affect that seems to plague most pregnant women is stretch marks. Thankfully my skin is very stretchy to begin with but the real secret to keeping stretch marks at bay ( for the most part anyway) is exfoliation and moisterization. I exfoliate every time I shower, with a light scrub and a synthetic loofah but like most people I forget to lotion on a daily basis. I have made a point to moisturize every day and I've tried a few different lotions and by far my favorite is Bethany Frankel's Skinny Girl Mommy, Belly Butter(available Here). I apply after my shower and it keeps my skin moisturized all day and through the night. I don't limit this lotion to just my belly area, this stuff is great! I would jump in a vat of it if I could. It is really smooth and soft on my skin with out being greasy like some lotions and creams.

Hormonal changes are a crazy part of pregnancy and they have seriously taken a toll on my face. I started breaking out about midway through my first trimester and it is AWFUL! I've never had breakouts this deep and intense, my normal face wash just was not cutting it. My husband had pretty crazy breakouts when he was in high school and he suggested Proactive(available Here), which is what he had used to help clear up his skin. I ordered Proactive immediately! Proactive seemed to start working right away but instead of just straight up clearing my skin, it began by purging all the bacteria and junk out of my pores which was slightly discouraging at first because it caused more pimples. Thankfully though after a few weeks of more breakouts, the Proactive system has brought all the junk to the surface and out of my skin. Which now just leaves to system to clean my pores daily and fend off future breakouts. It is definitely worth the money and time.
I like working out with my husband. It was really difficult for me during my first trimester and the first weeks of my second because I was so fatigued but now I feel a lot more energized. It was really hard to find clothes I liked on myself for a while because I was starting to show but my belly wasn't cute, round and obviously pregnant yet. I was totally in the "pregnant or fat?" questionable area, where no one wants to ask if your pregnant or when you're due. So, when it came to the gym and gym clothes I felt awkward wearing my normal shorts and a t-shirt over my belly, it basically just made me feel like I was hiding chub chub under a tent. I found a sweet deal on stretchy Champion racerback baby-doll style exercise shirts at Target(available Here). It has a built in sports bra that has great support though these days I'm wear another sports bra in addition to the built in. The top hits close to the body at a high waist line and shows that you have a figure, however the bottom half flares with ample stretchability to cover a growing belly. The top holds all the necessary parts in but gives my belly plenty of room in a very flattering way.
When I got pregnant there was a plethora of information on the Internet of things that pregnant women shouldn't eat or drink. Some of it is absolutely important, however there are of over dramatic moms on the web that apparently think pregnant women should only drink water and eat lentils. Honestly your best bet is to ask your doctor about your specific questions if you want a medically relevant answer, without all the paranoia. That being said, one of the things pregnant women SHOULD abstain from Is caffeine. I knew this was going to be a killer for me, I'm totally a three shots of espresso kind if girl. Chai tea is a great alternative to coffee and naturally without caffeine. I bought this box of liquid Tazo Chai mix(available Here) at the grocery store(this is the exact same mix they use at Starbucks and the whole box cost less than 1 grande chai latte!!!!!). I mix equal parts chai and milk, heat in the microwave and I have a wonderful caffeine free(super cheap) chai latte!

It's said that when you get really pregnant your pelvis, tailbone and essentially your whole booty starts to hurt. Somehow my body didn't get the memo about being really pregnant for this to happen, my whole entire lower half has been killing me since the middle of my first trimester, and I can only imagine it'll get worse. Even sitting on a couch or a seat in the car is enough to make my tailbone cry out for mercy. I started sitting on my blowup exercise ball(available Here) when I'm watching a movie or just need to sit for a bit. The ball allows me to sink down to a comfortable position and the air cushions my bottom and supports me without putting extra pressure on my pelvic bones. It's been such a help at keeping my body from being so sore.

They didn't make the group photo because I'm currently out,
yeah they're that good!
Fortunately my morning sickness never resulted in throw up, so I count myself very lucky. However I gained a seriously heightened gag reflex, this was only really a problem when I was brushing my teeth and worst of all taking my crazy prenatal horse pill vitamins. My OB suggested that I take any kind of chewable daily vitamin(available Here) instead of prenatals. He said even flintstone vitamins would do the trick, I just needed to take two. The One A Day adult chewy vitamins have become my favorite, I take two a day and they taste great. It is definitely a huge improvement from the nasty prenatals I was trying to choke down before.

One of the accessories suggested so much by magazines and websites are the belly bands. They are supposed to allow you to wear your pants unbuttoned or wear bigger pants while holding them up for you. I bought the Beband from Target and it's not working to well for me. When I sat down the band would pull up off the top of my pants and I would have to completely re-adjust when I stood back up. The band is about eleven inches tall and stretches. I thought I could stretch it over my belly(at this point my belly was hardly poking out) and the band just made me feel sick to my stomach, like it was squeezing me too tight but I still had plenty of stretching room in the band. I had to take the band off in the middle of the day it was too painful. I tried using the band another day, this time I pushed the band under my belly but eleven inches of fabric bunched up under your shirt just isn't flattering. And still just shifted around and was pretty inconvenient all day. This was money not well spent. I definitely wouldn't recommend this one to anyone.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Short Pants In The Land Of Giants.

How to shorten your jeans using the original hem....

I found some spectacular dark jeans today that are a few sizes big but wearable so that my baby bump will be able to grow into them as time goes on. The only problem with the jeans was the length, because apparently only women who are 6'4 need jeans these days... The jeans were at total of $29.99 which is a great deal for Seven jeans, but I really didn't want to buy them (even though I desperately needed them) if I was going to have to pay another $25, and wait a week to wear them just to have them hemmed. I got a sewing machine for Christmas so I decided to try my hand at this sewing thing and to my surprise it went smoothly. I was able to shorten my jeans using the original hem in less than 10 minutes, Fo Real!
The photos are the illisutraion to my hemming instructions and they go clockwise ;)
1, Put your jeans on and cuff them at the bottom (we actually wore our jeans like this in high school along with three polos all with the collars popped and thought we were cool) once you have them cuffed to the desired length take the jeans off making sure not to disturb the cuff. It's okay if you only cuff one leg at a time, this will help you not get too ahead of yourself and it's easier to fix one sewing mistakes than two.
2, Pin the cuff of your jeans across the hem line. Don't pin parallel to the hem line, that will make it harder for you machine to glide over the pins.
3, Sew the new hidden hem. You'll want this hem where the orange line is placed on the picture. It's right below the original hem, give it a little space so your needle is hitting the light inner part of the pant leg and not the folded over part of the original hem. However don't venture too far below the original hem or you may end up with pants a little longer than you intended. Sew the whole cuff.
4, Move on. Cuff the next pant leg to match the first. Be sure you measure, remember it's always better to measure twice and sew once! Pin just like the first and sew likewise.
5, Take out all the pins and fold the cuff back down, tucking the fold of inner fabric up inside the pant leg. You may also want to cut this part off or trim it, depending on how long your jeans were to begin with, no one wants a five inch fold of fabric hanging out in the pant leg but you need to make sure that you leave about an inch left intact to alot for fraying. My pants were only about two inches too long so my fold was only about an inch so I left it as is and can't even tell it's there.
6, Iron it out. I actually used a flat iron (for hair) instead of a regular garment iron. It applies heat from both sides and really flatens the hem which is what you want.
7, Voila! You have jeans that fit and still have that cool stitched hemline that they were made with and your $29 jeans didn't have to become $55 jeans.

Craigslist Can Save Your Life.

About a year ago on a walk through Target I stopped in the baby section, just to look at the cute stuff that always seems to reside in that area of the store was when I saw the coolest red, grey and black travel collection from Chicco.
This is the Holy Grail of Strollers.... 

And this is one cool playard

I'm really into the colors of our baby's travel gear being versatile in a few ways. I wanted colors that could be used for boy or girl and I also wanted colors that would look great in a vehicle. My husband has a white truck with black interior and I drive a black car, I wanted gear that wouldn't clash with our cars because let's get real, style IS important.
This is our new playard!
    It's really important that above all else our baby gear is so so safe. The Chicco brand is known for being a top safety rated brand (rating for Chicco Keyfit car seat http://products.howstuffworks.com/chicco-keyfit-30-infant-car-seat-review.htm) and unfortunately very pricey. However my frugal side kicked in and I paid a visit to my dear Craigslist app. As luck would have it, I found myself a wonderful find! A Chicco Lullaby LX playard in Fuego(the great red color scheme I like). The seller was really great and sent me all kinds of detailed photos of the playard, they said that the playard had only been used a couple of times and looking at it in person I don't believe that, this puppy looks brand-spanking-new! It came with every original part, the adjustable height mattress, optional zip on changing table, carrying case, nightlight with sound and light remote and WHEELS so it is very portable. I am just ecstatic about this playard and especially that it only cost me $100!

I really couldn't ask for much more, now that I have the first piece to the travel system puzzle I can start acquiring all my other pieces!
P.S. We let our sweet puppy Chewie try it out for a bit, and he approved as well ;)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Baby Bling

It's no secret anymore that in June there will be a baby at our house, along with our awesome budgeting concept we've also decided that it would be totally wise for us to start stockpiling our BABY BLING, and I started last night! The hubby and I decided a long time ago that we wanted to diaper our little ones with cloth diapers. Apparently if you say cloth diaper around any mom with grown up kids you immediately see her face turn but these cloth diapers we're talking about ain't your momma's cloth diapers. In the time I spent as a nanny I actually cared for a few little ones who had these new-fangled cloth diapers and they were awesome, so before you go thinking I don't know what I'm getting myself into, relax. I've got this. New Parent magazine did an article comparing and contrasting the use of disposables and cloth diapers. the article was pretty darn objective, the one disagreement I had with the article was the opinion of cloth diapers not being as absorbent and not wicking the wetness away from your baby. Personally my experience changing many cloth diapers was that if I was on top of my diapering duties the diapers definitely absorbed like a diaper should and the babies really didn't have a soggy bottom or any diaper rash issues. As a stay at home mom staying on top of the diapering thing shouldn't be a big deal, however if you are a busy parent that sometimes needs your baby to be content with a wet diaper for a little long, disposable might be a better fit for you. Anyway, I already new that I love love loved these diapers the next step was to convince my husband that he loved them too. New Parent had that covered too. In their price comparison they came to a great conclusion that if you buy cloth diapers even though they look pricey from the outside, in the long run you're probably going to shell out a lot less cash than if your buying two to three years worth of disposables. "By the time your child is potty trained at age 2 or 3, you may have shelled out as much as $1,500 to $2,000 on disposables, according to Consumer Reports. If you use more “eco-friendly” disposables, such as biodegradable or chlorine-free, you can expect to pay even more-an average of $1,600 to $2,500. On the other hand, cloth diapers and accessories (such as waterproof covers and cloth inserts or flushable liners) could cost as little as $500 or up to $1,200, depending on what kind you buy." (http://www.newparent.com/baby/deciding-diapers/2/)

 After I ran those facts by my husband he was ready and willing to commit to the cloth. the beauty of these new cloth diapers is their re-usability and that they grow with your baby. There are many different models of these diapers but they all have a few similar features, they all come equipped with a series of snaps on the front and sides so no matter how tiny or chunky your baby might be, she can have a great fitting diaper. Then there is the removable absorbent pad that takes the brunt of the action going on in the diaper. I've found one brand that I really like, Fuzzibunz (http://fuzzibunz.com/) but last night I branched out and bought two off of Zulily.com, If you don't have Zulily, you need it. They are a website and app that make daily deals available to moms. They have really great products for kids, moms and babies. They had a deal last night on Bum Cheeks cloth diapers, so I bought two! 
I bought a black one and an orange. We don't find out if our baby is a girl or boy until Feb 7th so for the mean time we're sticking to gender neutral diaper colors.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Holiday Wrap-Up

As the holidays draw to an end people everywhere start making and breaking their new year's resolutions, our family gets down to business and starts making good on our start of the year commitments.
With our little family growing this christmas by one puppy, our move to Kansas quickly approaching and a baby due in June, we decided it was time to buckle down and create a solid financial plan in the form of a monthly budget.
Both Alex and I aren't really the most budget savvy people, so I started with what I know, food. I really enjoy grocery shopping and cooking but since I've gotten pregnant I had really fallen down on my cooking duties. In my first trimester and beginning of my second food just really grossed me out. I was really turned off to cooking and looking at raw meat just gave me the heebie-jeebies. Due to my finnicky stomach we ate out ALOT and I rarely cooked anything. Now that I'm about 16 weeks and my sick feeling have subsided I'm back to cooking delicious meals for my hubby.
This week was our trial week of our food budget system and it only took me a couple of steps...
1. Create a list of all snack, breakfast and lunch supplies (we found that our list will last about two weeks-ish). This is our concrete list that really won't change much, I made an excel doc with the list and printed it out, when our two weeks our up, I'll mark the things we're out of and go get more.
2. Make a weekly menu. Make a solid menu for the dinners of one week and stick to it.
3. Make a list of all supplies needed to make the dinners, that you don't already have.
4. Shop at the cheapest place first. Grocery shopping for me took three different trips so that I could keep track of the prices and wouldn't need to decipher receipts, but now that I have a more concrete weekly list I can narrow the trips down into just two.
Grocery trip 1. Was strictly a bi-weekly lunch/breakfast/snack trip (this is a Walmart trip for us, their prices are the cheapest for the things that we're buying for these meals) and totaled to $80.00.
Grocery trip 2. Was also made at Walmart, during this trip I went down my list of dinner supplies and bought everything possible there and that was totaled to $64.00
Grocery trip 3. For this trip I shopped at Martins. I choose to buy my meat/fish and specialty items at Martins. The quality of meat and fish is better there than anywhere else that I've seen in our area. This trip totaled $49.00.

Let's break it down...
(Bi-weekly list: 80.00)
For one week: 40.00
Menu list 1: 64.00
Menu list 2: 49.00
We went ahead and bumped that to
So we spend around $155.00 a week for groceries, we will budget about $160.00 to give us some wiggle room.
This budget was strictly food, we are going to follow it up by subtracting all of our monthly bills from our monthly income, and spreading the rest between, savings, baby, home, clothing, entertainment etc.
Hope you enjoy, will keep you posted on our progress.