Jan 29, 2015

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home | Week 3 - Day 4

This is the 4th day of the 3rd week of my 4-week long challenge to organize the house well before baby Nutella arrives.  Go here if you'd like to download the daily schedule for yourself.

Today's Checklist:
  •  Make a list of things to accomplish today
  • Complete daily tasks
  • Clean mirrored and glass doors
  • Clean out and organize junk drawer
  1. Midwife appointment
  2. Figure out what needs to be assembled for the birth kit
  3. Exercise

Jan 28, 2015

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home | Week 3 - Day 3

This is the 3rd day of the 3rd week of my 4-week long challenge to organize the house well before baby Nutella arrives.  I'm using the schedule made by Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom, so you can go here if you'd like to download the daily schedule for yourself.

Today's Checklist:
  • Make a list of 5-7 things to get done today
  • Daily tasks
  • Clean top of fridge and cabinets
  • Wipe down cabinet doors
  • Clean bathroom
  1. Start sewing felt animals
  2. Walk 30 minutes
  3. Earn $5 online
  4. Make chocolate-oatmeal bars
  5. Work on sewing nursing cover

One of the things I didn't find while shopping yesterday was the boning I needed for the nursing cover I'm making.  After some quick Google searching, however, I came across this tutorial which uses part of an oatmeal cover as a substitute for boning.  Using the same concept, I cut the edge off of a coffee container and used that.  I'm not sure how well it will work, but it's worth a try and I can easily replace it if I find that it isn't sufficiently strong.

Both Dylan and I like to snack on fruit a lot, and since Aldi has great prices on produce I like to stock up on whatever fruit is in season and inexpensive.  One of the things I didn't like about it, however, was the fact that we have limited counter space and I didn't know where to store the fruit.  Then I recently realized that the space on top of the fridge wasn't being utilized for anything, and so moved the fruit there - and so far it's been a win-win situation.  The space is being used, the fruit looks decorative, and my counters stay cleaner.

These chocolate-oatmeal no-bake bars were made after I realized that I'm low on snack-y foods which are also healthy.  These bars were the result, although the chocolate chips on top admittedly aren't the most healthy.  The rest of the bars are sugar-free, however, so I'm not too worried about a few bits of chocolate.  :)

Getting these felt animals made might end up being a bit more time-consuming than I was expecting, given that I only got one little fellow cut out today.  Regardless, they're cute enough that I think I'll enjoy making them anyway, and since they'll be used for the baby gym I'm planning to make (following this tutorial) I'm not too worried about getting them done right away - Nutella won't need a baby gym right away, anyway.

Jan 27, 2015

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home | Week 3 - Day 2

Today is the first day of my third trimester, yay!  I'm in the middle of a four-week-long challenge to get the house more organized in preparation for baby's arrival.  Go here if you'd like to download the daily schedule for yourself.

Today's Checklist:
  •  Make a list of 5-7 things to do today
  • Complete daily tasks
  • Sweep house
  • Clean stove top and microwave
  1. Sew 2nd nursing cover
  2. Grocery shopping
  3. Purchase craft supplies needed for felt animals and 1st nursing cover
  4. Return library book
  5. Work on bathroom floor
  6. Exercise
  7. Plan diaper bag

I'm still planning on making a nursing cover with boning and straps, but decided that having a second one around wouldn't hurt.  Remembering the simple nursing covers my mom had (which are simply a rectangular shape with a half circle cut out of one side and buttons to secure it around the neck), I cut one out from memory, hemmed the edges, and added a button and buttonhole.  Twas a simple project.

On a totally unrelated note, I snapped this photo while folding laundry after I washed some baby socks.  The sight of Dylan's sock next to the itty-bitty newborn sock made me smile, and I can't resist sharing the picture here.  :)

Shopping took several hours today - not so much because I had to purchase a lot, but because I had quite a few different stops to make.  I went to the thrift store (got a nice new shirt and and bundle of super cheap zippers!), then dropped in to see Dylan during one of his breaks.  After that I hit Walmart, Aldi, the library, and Dillons before heading back to pick up Dylan and bring him home.  Since I got everything done that I'd intended, though, it was a very satisfying trip.

Jan 26, 2015

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home | Week 3 - Day 1

Today I'm beginning the 3rd week of my 4-week long challenge to organize the house better before baby arrives.  I'm loosely following the checklist given by MoneySavingMom.com, so go here if you'd like to download the daily schedule for yourself.

Today's Checklist:
  • Make a list of 5-10 goals for this week
  • Complete daily tasks
  • Tidy house
  • Clean out kitchen drawers
  • Clean part of the bathroom floor
  • Calculate square footage of the rooms left to paint
  • Exercise
  • Work online for an hour or more

I'm nearly finished cleaning up the grout in the bathroom, which is very encouraging.  I can't say that housecleaning is something I love, but the satisfaction of getting an area squeaky clean and the way that the lack of dirtiness catches my eye for a while afterwards makes the cleaning process more than worth it.

It was rather difficult for me to get into the swing of things today, and I'm not sure why.  Perhaps it was simply tiredness, perhaps it was the fact that Dylan was supposed to have off from work today and ended up working instead.

When I cleaned the silverware drawer last week I did so without realizing that it would show up on the to-do list for today.  Since it didn't need to be re-cleaned so soon, I took this opportunity to clean my four other kitchen drawers.  None of them were terrible messy, but they all had crumbs and such which needed to be gotten rid of.

I also grabbed a tape measure, pen, and paper to calculate how much paint we'll need to completely re-paint the rest of the rooms in our house.  I'm not a math person by any means, but I found myself actually enjoying the little bit of mental exercise.

Today is the last day of the second trimester, which seems unbelievable.  Where has the time gone?!  Only about 12 weeks are left before baby arrives, which is both exciting and slightly terrifying all at once.

List of Goals for Week 3:

  • Finish cleaning bathroom floor
  • Design and sew diaper bag
  • Purchase felt and start sewing felt animals like these.
  • Work on ordering/compiling the birth kit
  • Midwife appointment
  • Paint bathroom?

Jan 24, 2015

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home | Week 2 - Day 5

This is the 5th day of the 2nd week of my 4-week long challenge to organize the house well before baby Nutella arrives.  I'm using the schedule made by Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom, so you can go here if you'd like to download the daily schedule for yourself.

Today's Checklist:
  • Plan day, make a list of 5-7 things to accomplish
  • Complete daily tasks - make bed, start laundry, wash dishes, tidy house
  • Set aside 15 minutes to relax
  • Dust fans & clean light fixtures
  1. Work online for an hour
  2. Workout for 20 minutes
  3. Clean part 1 of grout in bathroom
  4. Read 2 chapters of Economics in One Lesson
  5. Shorten blind strings
I'm writing this near the end of the day, and I'm quite tired - too tired to give a lengthy summery of the day, so I'm just going to say, I got it all done.  Now I'm off to finish up making dinner (Turkey Pot Pie) before Dylan gets home.  Later, folks!

Jan 23, 2015

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home | Week 2 - Day 4

This is the 4th day of the 2nd week of my 4-week long challenge to organize the house well before baby Nutella arrives.  Go here if you'd like to download the daily schedule for yourself.

Today's Checklist:
  • Make a list of 5-7 things to accomplish today
  • Complete daily tasks
  • Clean light switch covers and outlet plates
  • Clean bathroom - 15 minutes
  1. Earn $5 or more online today
  2. Clean out the silverware drawer
  3. Alter skirt
  4. Exercise: walk 2 miles
  5. Alter leggings
  6. Start sewing nursing cover
 A lot of what I wanted to get done today involved sewing, which I really enjoy doing.  It doesn't feel like a chore, therefore, and if I don't watch my time I can easily spend hours in front of my sewing machine instead of getting the other tasks that I need to do done.

Today I needed to alter two items - a brown corderoy skirt and a pair of leggings.  The skirt I bought with the intention of making it maternity, and a previous attempt to do so ended up less-than successful - the fabric I used to make a stretchy band at the top simply wasn't stretchy enough, which resulted in a skirt which felt like it was falling down.  Ick.  After removing the evidence of that failed attempt, I used a pair of maternity jeans to figure out exactly how the waist needed to be shaped, and then decided that I also wanted to shorten the skirt a bit - ankle length just seemed too long.  I'm very happy with the finished result.  :)

The leggings I bought online after I grew out of my non-maternity leggings.  They were supposed to be the same size as what I normally with, with the exception of allowing for my pregnant middle to fit.  Apparently, however, the sizing got mucked up somewhere along the line and I ended up with a pair of baggy clown pants.  Figuring out how to sew in the sides without all sorts of twisting was a bit confusing, but after trying them on and pinning them multiple times I figured it out.

The nursing cover I only barely started on, since I decided that I want to include boning in the top section, and that needs to be purchased before I can work on it further.

The assigned tasks for today were quick and simple - given the small size of our house we don't have all that many lightswitch or outlet covers to clean, so that task was a breeze.  While cleaning the bathroom I decided to start deep-cleaning part of the grout, a job I've been avoiding for a while now.  I think breaking it up into sections instead of doing it all at once will make it less intimidating, so I'm planning on doing that.  I also organized the silverware drawer, which was starting to get cluttered. 

Working online today was less-than fruitful - Textbroker, my go-to money making site, didn't have any good offers on it today, which resulted in my not completing that goal.

Jan 21, 2015

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home | Week 2 - Day 3

This is the 3rd day of the 2nd week of my 4-week long challenge to get the house in order before baby Nutella arrives or I get too tired to clean sufficiently.  Go here if you'd like to download the daily schedule for yourself.

Today's Checklist:
  • Make a list of 5-7 things to accomplish today
  • Do daily morning routine
  • Clean out and organize dresser drawers (time limit - 20 minutes)
  • Wipe down door handles
  1. Work on Textbroker.com for an hour or more
  2. Exercise - walk 2 miles
  3. Cut out fleece liners for cloth diapering
  4. Wash sheets
  5. Bake cinnamon raisin bread
  6. Finish reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
I got nearly everything done that needed to be done, but for some reason I felt somewhat "out of it" all day.  The time seemed to drag by for the most part, and I don't really have many comments to make about how the day went.

The one thing I didn't accomplish was the goal of exercising, but since I did well for the past two days I'm telling myself that's okay.  I do want to make sure that I'm active tomorrow, however.

The cinnamon raisin bread isn't finished baking as I write this, else I'd include a photo... perhaps I'll edit this post later and add one.  Nothing else done today was very photogenic, hence the lack of pictures in this post.

Here, I'll make up for it with an awkward bump/selfie photo:

Jan 20, 2015

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home | Week 2 - Day 2

This is the 2nd day of the 2nd week of my 4-week long challenge to organize the house well before baby Nutella arrives.  Go here if you'd like to download the daily schedule for yourself.

Today's Checklist:
  • Create a List of 5-7 Things to Accomplish
  • Complete Daily Tasks
  • Vacuum House
  • Clean Baseboards
  1. Work on Textbroker for an hour
  2. Exercise: 5 minutes of stretching, 20 minute workout
  3. Quick Shopping Trip
  4. Work on edging baby wipes for 20 minutes
  5. Work on grocery budget
I'm gradually starting to get accustomed to early morning starts to my day - this morning I got up at 3:30 again to drive Dylan to work, only to find that his schedule had changed and he didn't need to come in until 7:00.  That meant that we ended up coming back home for nearly two hours before going back into town again.

Oy.  :P

Anyway, the items on the to-do list today weren't all that complicated, interesting, or difficult.  Since our house is quite small vacuuming it and cleaning the baseboards didn't take long at all.

I've been doing okay with sticking to the grocery budget I set for myself, but decided on a whim to itemize a list of what's been spent this month so as to better see where the money is going.  I finished getting all of January's grocery receipts chronicled this morning, and I'm thinking that, rather than adding in December's receipts, I'll add to the tally as I shop.  Hopefully this will have the result of making me better watch where the money is going.

I gave myself twenty minutes to work on edging the baby wipes that I cut out last week, thinking that I'd get perhaps half of them done.  Much to my surprise, I managed to get them all finished by simply going for a few extra minutes after the timer beeped.

I've been lax about getting onto Textbroker and working lately - partly because of other obligations and interests which have taken precedence, partly because I'm just lazy, and partly because there hasn't been as much work on there lately.  I dipped my toes back into the water and started working there again today, which felt really nice.  (Even if it was only for an hour or so.)

Jan 19, 2015

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home | Week 2 - Day 1

This is the 1st day of the 2nd week of my 4-week long challenge to organize the house well before baby Nutella arrives.  Go here if you'd like to download the daily schedule for yourself.

Today's Checklist:
  • Make a list of goals for this week
  • 15 minute quick-clean of the house
  • Complete daily tasks - Wash dishes, do one load of laundry, make bed, etc
  • Exercise
  • Paint living room

Weekly Goals:
  1. Paint Living Room
  2. Exercise
  3. Sew - alter brown skirt so that it fits
  4. Sew - cut out fleece diaper liners & edge flannel diaper wipes
  5. Textbroker - work on for four hours total this week
  6. Dresser - Clean out and organize drawers
  7. Wash Bedding
Today wasn't quite "normal" feeling, since Dylan was home and we tackled the painting project.   I'm very glad to have that completed, and thankful for the fact that the day was quite productive.

This blurry photo doesn't really portray the color (or Dylan!) all that well, but it gives you an idea.  It's a soft, powdery shade of blue which really looks nice in the room.

After we finished up the painting we went on a long walk - about 4 1/2 miles.  The weather here has been unseasonaly warm, so it was lovely to be outdoors after staying inside to avoid the cold for so long.

Jan 16, 2015

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home | Week 1 - Day 5

This is the 5th day of my 4-week long challenge to organize the house well before baby Nutella arrives.  Go here if you'd like to download the daily schedule for yourself.

Today's Checklist:
  •  Make a list of 5-7 things to get done today
  • Complete daily tasks
  • Do two logic puzzles
  • Clean couch
  1. Make and freeze lasagna
  2. Mop kitchen and bedroom floors
  3. Work on Textbroker for an hour or more
  4. Read a chapter of Economics in One Lesson & a portion of Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
  5. Exercise for 30 minutes
  6. Make a birthday card for Grandma
5:00am - My sleep was less-than optimal once again, so I'll likely end up napping later today, if I'm feeling the affects of only sleeping for about six hours last night.  Even though Dylan's work schedule dictated that he get there 45 minutes later than usual we both ended up waking in the wee hours of the morning.

After hearing some odd noises in the house and startling fully awake, there was no way either of us were going to fall back to sleep.  Consequently, I ended up finally getting up at 3:45am or so.

So far I've figured out today's list of things to do, checked my email, and made myself a bowl of oatmeal (which is cooling next to me as I write this).

 Photos of food taken with an iPhone look so appetizing, don't they? /sarcasm

9:30am - Ate breakfast, read books.  Decided to lay down on the couch for "just a few minutes", and the next thing I knew I'd been sleeping for over two hours.

After I got up for the second time I did the dishes and cleaned up the bedroom.  There wasn't enough laundry to start a load, so I skipped that this morning.  Started cooking the ingredients for lasagna, then hopped onto Swagbucks for a little while.

 Yet another unattractive iPhone photo.  Egh.  And the stove isn't even completely cleaned.  Ew.

11:15am - Finished making the lasagna, and ended up making more than I'd originally planned on... which of course took a bit longer to make, but getting more food than expected is a good thing.  I then mopped the bedroom, then sat down to do some logic puzzles and relax.


2:00pm - Worked on textbroker for a while, then replied to an email from one of my aunts.  Mopped the kitchen floor after making myself lunch, then simply relaxed for a bit.

5:30pm - Cleaned the couch and washed dishes from making lunch and lasagna, then exercised and (finally!) showered.  After that I sat down to make a card for my grandma's birthday, which is rapidly approaching, then tidied the house one last time before Dylan gets home.  All I have to do now is heat up dinner! :)

Recap from this week:

To review, here are the goals for this week which I set on day one:
  • Exercise for 30 minutes or more at least 4 times this week
  • Apply 2nd coat of paint to living room/kitchen area Didn't happen; Dylan's work schedule changed mid-week and I wasn't going to attempt the project by myself.
  • Sew 1 baby outfit
  • Mop all tiled floors
  • Clean front porch - sweep leaves and clean railings
  • Make 2-3 meals to freeze for later 

Jan 15, 2015

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home | Week 1 - Day 4

This is the 4th day of my 4-week long challenge to organize the house well before baby Nutella arrives.  Go here if you'd like to download the daily schedule for yourself.

Today's Checklist:
  •  Make a list of 5-7 things to accomplish today
  • Complete daily tasks (make bed, do a load of laundry, wash dishes, tidy clutter)
  • Clean bathroom - set timer for 15 minutes
  • List 2 items on ebay.com -- This... just didn't happen at all.
  • Clean under couch, bed, and dressers -- Sort of done, but not very thoroughly.  Thankfully these are things that were cleaned under recently, so I'm not fretting about the fact that I didn't get them better done today.
  1. Sew baby dress
  2. Go through Ibotta, Checkout 51, and other similar apps and claim savings on items from yesterday's shopping trip
  3. Clean off front porch
  4. Read 50 pages of Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth
  5. Read 1 chapter of Economics in One Lesson
  6. Exercise for 30+ minutes
  7. Bake granola

Waking up so early yesterday must have messed up my body clock, because I woke up around midnight and then couldn't get back to sleep for over four hours.  Blech.  I finally fell asleep again after 4am, and then got up at 7am and stumbled around in a bleary-eyed manner for a few hours while I got breakfast, read the Guide to Childbirth book and did my daily morning tasks.

I've never disliked childbirth stories, and since childbirth is now inevitable for me I've found them far more interesting... but so far I'm not so sure about some of the stories told in the book.  I'm totally in favor of natural, even "primitive" childbirth, but certain things there seem to be over the top hippie-ish or bizarre.  So... if the story section of the book continues this way, I might skip to the second section which is apparently more facts and less anecdotes. 

 I eventually woke up more thoroughly and checked Ibotta and other similar apps to see if I could get any cash back for items I bought yesterday.  For the first time in quite a while there weren't any, so I just uploaded my Walmart receipt to the Savings Catcher program and went to make granola.

I do have a granola recipe which I generally follow, but this time I just decided to wing it and didn't even measure my ingredients.  It turned out better than my granola normally does, with a nice flavor and the perfect amount of chunks; now I'm sort of which I had measured.  Ha.

 While the granola was baking I moved my attention to sewing up the little baby dress I started earlier this week.  You can find the pattern here, although I will admit to changing some things up - I sewed all seams in such a way that the dress can be reversible, skipped the piping and bias tape, and also made the skirt part narrower.  Because I was hiding all of the seams this project took me longer than I expected, but I'm glad I figured out how to do it nevertheless.

I'll probably use this pattern again, but I'll also cut the shoulder ties to be a bit smaller.  They seem ever-so-slightly bulkier than I'd like.  I still love the way it turned out, however.

At this point I realized I was starting to run out of time, given that Dylan was going to be home and expecting dinner in an hour and a half.  Cleaning the bathroom was definitely a high priority on the to-do list, so I tackled that next, then did some exercising while the floor dried.

I then tidied up the house, cleaned the front porch, and did some stretches to try to help relieve my achy back, then made pizza.  At this point I'm planning on reading Economics in One Lesson after Dylan is home and we've had dinner.

Jan 14, 2015

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home | Week 1 - Day 3

This is the 3rd day of my 4-week long challenge to organize the house well before baby Nutella arrives.  Go here if you'd like to download the daily schedule for yourself.

Today's Checklist:
  • Make list of 5-7 things to do today
  • Do daily tasks
  • Bedroom tidied - vacuum, clear off dressertops, dust.  (Set timer for 20 minutes.)
  • List two items on Ebay
  • Clean out freezer
My to-do list for today:
  1. Exercise for at least 30 minutes
  2. Finalize menu plan and shopping list
  3. Shopping trip - Walmart, Thrift Store, & Aldi
  4. Read two chapters of Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
  5. Stop by library
  6. Pay bills
 The day started really early, at 3:30am this morning.  :P  In order to go shopping, I need to go with Dylan to work so that I can take the car back home.  Getting up to do this always makes me appreciate all the more the work Dylan does to provide for us.

Once I got home I relaxed for awhile, checked my email, and planned my shopping trip and menu.  After a little I realized I was getting too drowsy from simply sitting in front of the computer, so I started a load of laundry, and did some dishes.

 The next task on the list to tackle was cleaning the freezer.  Most of what I needed to do simply included re-stacking and re-organizing containers and such, but I also decided to remove the leftover cake (from our reception), cut it into more manageable-sized pieces, and store it in a square casserole dish. Just doing that freed up a ton of space, and I wish I'd done it sooner.

Here's the "after" photo - it should be much easier for me to find things I need now.  (I forgot to include the doorway in this shot, but I organized that as well.)

The rest of the morning was spent doing a variety of tasks - listing two shirts on ebay, doing laundry, making myself a smoothie for second breakfast (I had a bagel at 4am, but couldn't make it to lunchtime with only that in my stomach. :P ), and reading.

I'm almost surprised at how much I'm enjoying this book, Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics. (aff)  It's very easy to understand and follow, and the common sense of the author is quite evident.  I highly recommend it. :)

Then I cleaned up the bedroom and exercised for a bit after getting briefly distracted by the new Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer.  I'm definitely looking forward to seeing the movie, although depending on when Nutella arrives I may or may not get to see it right away after it comes out.  We'll see.

I had a few extra minutes before leaving for town to do shopping, so I decided to chop up some flannel into squares for cloth baby wipes.  Easy-peasy.

The rest of the day I was spend doing errands out and about.  I stopped by the thrift store and ended up with a nice sheet which I'll be chopping up to use for fabric.  Library was next, and then I dropped by to visit with Deelambs during one of his work breaks.  Shopped at Aldi and Walmart, picked up Deelambs, and then came home.

Right after leaving for town I realized that the pizza dough, which was supposed to be shaped and rising in the cast iron skillet it bakes in was instead still sitting in the bowl I'd mixed the dough in.  Because of this I ended up re-thinking dinner, and instead of pizza we had a variation of these Cheesesteak Nachos.  Yummy!

Jan 13, 2015

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home | Week 1 - Day 2

This is the second day in my 4-week effort to further organize the house before baby gets here.  If you'd like to follow along, you can download the ebook from MoneySavingmom.com.

Today's Checklist:
  • Make a list of 5-7 things to get done today Done - see list below
  • Do daily tasks (laundry, dishes, bed made, any extra clutter picked up)
  • Clean kitchen - wipe down microwave, mop floor, wipe down cabinets, counters, and fridge exterior
  • List two items on Ebay Only got 1 item listed... C'est la vie.
  • Clean out fridge

First off, my to-do list for this day - fairly short, since Dylan has work off and I prefer to spend time with him rather than houseclean:
  1. Fill out forms from midwife
  2. Make and freeze chicken enchiladas
  3. Find a pattern to use for making a baby outfit and cut out pattern pieces See photos below!
  4. Clean mirrored closet doors in bedroom I was glad to *finally* get this done - the doors have been needing cleaning for a while, and so it was nice to finally get them sparkling again. :)
  5. Mix pizza dough for tomorrow's dinner  I use this recipe from Foodie with Family and it is seriously awesome.  Tastes fantastic, the texture is perfect, and since there is no kneading it's super easy.
 I started out the day by making the bed, starting laundry, and tidying things up from the lounging we did last night while Dylan made breakfast for us. :)  The rest of the day was a combination of lounging around interspersed with getting stuff done.

This is baby dress pattern I chose, and I grabbed decided to make it out of two different fabrics, gingham blue and solid blue.  I already love the cheerful look of the fabrics, so I have high hopes of this being a rewarding project. 

One of the projects I got done was filling out a variety of forms for my midwife - I finally got ahold of the needed insurance information today, so I went ahead and finished up filling those out.

 The fridge wasn't in terrible shape, but that's mostly just because I need to go shopping again.  :P  That's on the schedule for tomorrow, so this actually ended up being the perfect time to get it done.

I didn't do as thorough a job as I could have this time, but it's definitely more orderly and although you can't really tell from the poor-quality iPhone photos, it's cleaner too. 

The only thing I didn't complete off of the list(s) was getting two items up on ebay.  I got one listing done, but ran out of time and energy before getting to a second one.

Jan 12, 2015

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home | Week 1 - Day 1

Since baby Nutella will be making her appearance in just a few short months, I'm hoping to take the next few weeks to get the house in better shape.  January seems like a good month to focus on housecleaning, since I'm still energetic and flexible enough to tackle cleaning without exhausting myself.  Hopefully simply maintaining the house won't be too difficult if I get it thoroughly organized now, and I'll be able to focus on other goals, such as filling up the freezer with ready-made meals for after baby's birth.

I'm planning on loosely following the 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home series which was posted on MoneySavingMom.com back in 2012, so I'm hoping to check in 5 days/week around 4pm with photos of what I've done.  (Since Dylan's schedule isn't as regular as most, I'm not necessarily going to be doing these straight through Monday-Friday, but I'm going to try to do five days a week regardless.)

Today's Checklist:

  • Make a list of 5-10 goals for this week
  • 30 minute quick-tidy of the house
  • Clean out purse
  • Complete daily tasks - do 1 load of laundry, dishes done, bed made


I'll admit that I nearly forgot about this until the day was more than half over, which means that I ended up feeling a bit caught-off-guard and unprepared.  Thankfully, the house was already mostly in order from the cleaning I did last week before having guests over, but the day still didn't go exactly as I'd hoped.

My list of goals for this week is as follows...

6 Goals for this Week -
  • Exercise for 30 minutes or more at least 4 times this week
  • Apply 2nd coat of paint to living room/kitchen area
  • Sew 1 baby outfit
  • Mop all tiled floors
  • Clean front porch - sweep leaves and clean railings
  • Make 2-3 meals to freeze for later Today I made and froze Chicken Alfredo.
A 30 minute tidy of the house never really happened.  I cleaned up sporadically throughout the day, but never really devoted that much time to just tidying.  As I stated above, the house was already in okay shape, but it still would have benefited from some cleaning.

Clean out purse - 
Now this I got done thoroughly enough to feel satisfied about.  :)

A peek at the inside of my purse before cleaning it out.

I'd thought my purse was fairly clean until I pulled everything out - then I realized I'd been hauling around all sorts of extra stuff.  An old inhaler, gift cards (for stores which we don't frequent often enough to justify carrying them around all the time), hair clips, nail clippers, spare change, and a few other random items I didn't need to have weighting down my purse.

 Here are the items which got put back into my purse after I sorted everything through.
  • My envelope wallet - this is probably the most vital item, for obvious reasons
  • A notepad
  • 2 pens (1 extra because Deelambs and I both like to take notes at church, and since I tend to lose pens rather easily anyway.)
  • Lip balm
  • Tylenol - after dealing with some intense round ligament pain earlier, I feel better knowing this is on hand should I need some pain reliever.
  • 2 band-aids - because there have been multiple times when I've wished for a bandage to stop my shoes from chaffing against my ankles.
  • 1 pad
  • 1 plastic bag (football-folded to take up less space) - this is just 'cause I've learned it's handy to have a bag on hand at times.
  • Utility knife - so useful.
  • Tic-tacs and chewing gum
  • Hairband (wrapped around tic-tac case to keep it closed)
  • 1 quarter - for the shopping carts at Aldi
  • Flashlight - another item which I've found useful to carry around
Other items- When I go out and about I typically stick my hairbrush in as well, but that doesn't stay there; I use it too often.  My phone also (obviously) gets brought along wherever I go.  If I know I'll be out and about for any great length of time I'll also stick in my contact case in so as to make sure I can take out my contacts if need be.

Daily Tasks -
When I suddenly realized half-way through the day that I was supposed to be working through this challenge, it was a relief to check the list and see that this part was already done.  I've been challenging myself to be more faithful in making sure that I don't procrastinate on these items and get them done early on in the day, and this was definitely one day where it paid off and my efforts were rewarded.  :)

Jan 9, 2015

Maternity Re-Fashion | Green Striped Shirt

What I did: This was a fairly simple re-fashion.  While clothes shopping in the local thrift store I found a size-L (I normally wear S or XS) women's shirt which fit me fairly well in the shoulders and sleeves, but was baggy elsewhere.  I cut off the sleeves, then the bottom of the shirt at an empire-waist level and put several darts in the top part to make it fit more snugly.

Then I took the lower part of the shirt and cut off the buttons and buttonhole parts, sewing the raw edges together. After that I reattached the lower part of the shirt, rotating it so that the new seam was in the back and gathering all the excess to the front area of the shirt.

Two simple pieces of elastic in both the center front and back of the shirt helped ensure a more flattering fit, and after reattaching the sleeves I was done! :)

Jan 4, 2015

Second Trimester Ramblings

It's hard for me to believe that in just a few short weeks I'll be entering the third trimester of pregnancy.  Since I'm aiming to accomplish everything needs to be done before baby by week 35 or 36, the end of this pregnancy seems to be drawing to a close rather rapidly.

At the same time, it still feels like the fact that I have another person growing inside me hasn't totally set in yet.  The whole concept seems semi-unreal and bizarre, which isn't a part of pregnancy that I had anticipated.  Feeling Nutella kick and roll around makes everything seem more real, but even so it's hard to believe that I'll be holding her in my arms in just a few short months.

I can't say I've experienced any major, spur-of-the-moment nesting urges yet, but realizing how much time I have left is definitely helping to fuel my motivation to get things done.

Dylan and I also painted the main area of the house, which has been on the to-do list for a while.  It still needs a final coat before we can call it "done", but just getting the ugly yellowish color out of the room has already improved it tremendously.   The same ugly color was used throughout the rest of the house as well, but since we spend the bulk of our time in the main room (which is a combination kitchen/dining room/living room) it had the highest priority on the to-paint list.

I had planned to start blogging my way through the 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home checklist starting this week, but an unexpected death in the family has caused those plans to be set aside until next week.  My sister-in-law and her husband are staying here with us so as to be closer to family, and we have a midwife appointment later this week as well, which basically means that there will be no extra time for scrubbing or cleaning. 

All of this isn't what I had hoped for or planned for this week, but one of the things I learned in 2014 was to be more flexible and not to get upset over disrupted plans.  It's life.  This blog and the house and my plans will still be here next week.

On another note, I've encountered hip pain from this pregnancy for the first time this last week or so.  I wake up feeling fine, but by late afternoon my hips are achy feel like they're out of joint.  It's tempting to feel sorry for myself, but since I've had an extremely easy pregnancy thus far I really shouldn't be whining.  I managed to avoid all but some mild morning sickness, and my only other complaint was a short bout of round ligament pain.

Weeks 24-28 of pregnancy are said to be the time when baby is most active, due to the fact that they have room to move and are also strong enough to be felt very easily.  I'm definitely finding this to be true so far, as I can feel a lot of movement almost every time I sit still for a while or lay down at all. 

Anyway... my coffee cup is empty, so I'm going to end this rambling post.

Jan 2, 2015

ThredUp | A Review + $10 Off Your First Order

Several weeks ago I realized that I had nearly nothing left to wear in terms of skirts or pants, which meant my wardrobe options were extremely sparse and limited.  Several trips to places such as Target, amazon.com, and other stores soon made me realize how costly maternity clothing is nowadays, especially when one takes into consideration the fact that it will only be worn for a few short months.

Hoping to find some better deals, I looked in the local thrift store.  Unfortunately, their stock was very limited and I couldn't find anything I needed.

That was when I remembered that I'd signed up for an account on ThredUp, which is an online consignment shop.  I'd bought a jacket from them and then promptly forgotten about their site.  When I saw an email from them advertising a sale, I took advantage of the opportunity to score two like-new pairs of maternity jeans for just over $20.

As I purchased the pants I remembered how enjoyable it is to shop at ThredUp.  For one thing, they tell you how much you saved by buying from them rather than getting the items brand new - in this instance, I saved over $71, and the jeans are in flawless condition!

They are also careful to sell only top-quality items, from expensive brand names that I'd otherwise never purchase simply because of the high cost.  Their site lets you know whether the item is slightly flawed or is in like-new condition, but in my experience even the "slightly flawed" items are in stellar condition.  I've found the item descriptions are very accurate, which helps me feel more confident about purchasing clothing online without first trying it on or seeing it in person.

Furthermore, they are very careful to package their items very well, which makes receiving them in the mail that much more pleasurable. :)

If you've never shopped at ThredUp before, I strongly encourage you to check it out.  Furthermore, if you use my affiliate link you'll get $10 off your first order, which means that you'll be able to get many items on their site for free or almost free!

I've worn the jeans multiple times each since I got them, and I'm quite confident that they will last for the duration of this pregnancy as well as for any future pregnancies I might need them for.  I'm definitely happy with this (as well as previous) experiences with ThredUp.

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links.  All opinions are my own, and I was in no way compensated for this post.

Jan 1, 2015

Baby Gowns

Happy New Year!  I hope your holiday season was full of joy and God's blessings. 

It's hard to believe that 2014 is over, and yet when I look back at the past year I'm amazed at all that has happened in it.  Even with a baby on the way 2015 seems sure to be less eventful, though I'm certain it will hold many adventures as well.  :)

One of my recent sewing projects has been to refashion Dylan's unwanted t-shirts into baby gowns using this tutorial and pattern.  It's a quick, easy project, and now that I've got the method down it took me less than an hour to create this latest gown, which is my third.

Alterations: I added the lace so as to make it more feminine and less boring, and I really think it helps make the nightie seem a lot nicer.  I considered adding some more lace to the edges of the sleeves, but for the sake of keeping it comfortable for baby I choose not to do so.

The only other alteration I made was to hem the sleeves before sewing the sides together.  I followed the exact tutorial with the first gown I made, but found that the sleeves were so tiny that sewing them was a bit of a headache. 

These are all the baby gowns I've made thus far, and I think the next one I make will have to be pink...  The gray one was made and blue one was cut out before we found out that we were having a girl, so they aren't overly feminine - although I did add a little butterfly to the blue so as to make it seem a bit less boyish.  I'll need to find some other source of fabric if I want pink, though, since Dylan's shirts are definitely not overtly feminine in their coloring at all.  :)