Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Cheer

For so many people {myself included} the holidays are a time when I struggle to be happy. 
Happiness is something that comes in so many forms- 
and really is a skill. 

Recently I heard someone say- "I hate Christmas. Everyone is so grumpy, focused on money, and it is always so disappointing."

It was one of those times when my heart ached. Ached because I too have been guilty of that in the past. I can recall a few Christmases that were sad, disappointing, and overall lame. 

And when I heard someone else say what I too had thought- it all hit me. 
There was nobody but myself that made Christmas that way. 
Christmas is a time for families to gather together. For quality time to be spent, for memories to be made. For parties and treats. For giving and getting presents. For everyone's hearts and minds to be focusing on the Savior. On His birth. On His life. On our relationship with Him. How in the world can that be sad? 

This year I decided that I would make Christmas a happy time. I began by decorating our house- to look and feel festive- to help remind myself of the season. 
We read scriptures every night about the life of Jesus Christ. We talked about His life, and how we could become more like Him. We made treats and delivered them to our friends. We went and drove through the neighborhoods and ooed and ahhhed as we saw all the lights. We looked for meaningful ways to serve other people and collected them on our service tree. We talked and taught Parker about the Savior. I bore my testimony of the Savior to him.

I haven't always had the best Christmases. I have been sort of a scrooge in the past.
But when I focus more on Christ and less on gifts- Christmas really is my favorite holiday. I love spending time with my family. Even when it's just the three of us- I really love spending time and making memories with my little family- it's even better when we can spend time with even more family.

I have decided what my goals are for next year and I'm so exited to share them with you. Have you started to think about your goals for next year?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Not Just a Diaper Rash

{Beware folks. We're talkin' about bums here}

So PK got a bum rash. And to be completely explicit- 
it wasn't your ordinary rash. 

It was scabby, and bloody, and red--- all around.
It was BAD. 
 I tried creams, I bathed him, I let him run around with no diaper, I changed his diaper all. the. time. 
{Can you imagine a toddler with no diaper? It was FUN, let me tell ya}

He had no acidic foods, he had no new foods, I even considered an iodine bath after hearing that worked for my cousin.... 

and then- I did what any new mom would do. I broke down and called my grandma. 
For those of you who don't know- my grandma lives in my hometown so I grew up having her around. My grandma is awesome. I mean- my grandma is better than your grandma. 
{Yes, I did just say that!}

So what did she tell me to do? 
Use bag balm. This stuff was AMAZING! 
Even when he got diarrhea- which is every mom's worst nightmare- it prevailed! 
Bum rash- you've met your match. HA. 

Now that the rash is gone- and we're back to just standard diaper changes- I'm starting to feel pretty confident. I mean- if I can get rid of that bad of a diaper rash- I can do anything, right? 

I'm thinkin' potty training, back talking, toddler bed-- all those things I used to be scared of-- suddenly seem like cake. A walk in the park. NBD. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

Christmas! Everywhere we go! Oh man, it does- for real! :)
{It's cold, my skin is dry and cracked, and the season-long runny nose has started!
Just kidding! I love this season! 
It's beautiful out, people are generally friendlier, and the magical spirit in the air is very contagious. 

We started decorating Thanksgiving Day and I still make changes daily. 
Who would have thunk that a 16 month old boy does not do well with glass and baubles everywhere? Apparently not me because I have had to redo our decorations to make them baby proof-
oh, probably 3 times and counting.
Having a toddler really is a totally different mindset. 
Considering PK has been toddling for a few months now- you'd t hink I would have known I guess I'm just a little s.l.o.w.
So here is our house in varying stages of being decorated: 
 The outside is pretty basic. I think I might put lights up in the windows and maybe some red bows in the big bush- but I don't really know.

I never really know what to do with this window- and it always ends up being an after thought. After taking this picture I've decided it definitely needs some sprucing so I think I will hang all the Christmas cards we get around the frame {BTW I totally need to get on that!}
This is a garage sale find- that Jed thought was RIDICULOUS in the middle of the summer. I think it looks cute- so there! It's a fun little countdown with a star that you move each day. I think PK will have fun with this next year- but for now Jed and I take turns doing it. Also- the cute Santa garland my grandma gave me last year or the year before. It's a little different and I totally love it! 
 This is the top of our piano. We moved it to a different corner to make room for our tree. I love the little nativity I found at Savers for a few bucks. It is a nice nativity and a special part of our decor. As a side note- see that cute poinsettia?! .99 cents on Black Friday baby. Oh, and yes- that is a picture of young Jed and I. (We have one 4x6 picture of our family the day PK was born- posted in his bedroom. I hope we can get some pictures printed soon of our family- *hint* hint* Jed (Christmas list!))
 I don't know if I will ever have book shelves in my house. Okay- I probably will- but decorating this section of my house is  the worst. I never like the way it looks but give up after the 5th try. This time I just did it once and was done with it- aside from moving the glass stuff high. yeah- go me. :)
  My aunt gave me a few homes from her Christmas village and I think they are cute. I don't know if I will add to this village or not- but I like the festive look they have. My SIL made us the nativity on blocks last Christmas and I have had SOO many compliments on them {Go Alisha!} And as a bonus- it's a Christmas decor item PK can play with. {Of course he would rather play with hanging lights or candles!}
This is our "giving tree." Jed and I asked around and got some ideas for fun traditions and this was something we created after hearing some of them.  We are trying to fill the tree with acts of service. I'm excited for when our children are older and get excited to make cookies or babysit or shovel driveways. For now Jed and I try and teach PK about service during FHE and by example. We've had many opportunities to serve and are trying to recognize service opportunities when they come. Then, on Christmas Eve we'll gather the kiddos around (4 if you ask me and 35 if you ask Jed) and read the Christmas story from the Bible. Then we will explain that Christ was the perfect example of charity and service to those around him and for all mankind. This is a fun tradition- one that I am looking forward to continuing.




Next is our mantel. Usually I love this way it looks- it is a beautiful to mantel- so it's not too hard to dress up. I don't really like the way it turned out- I think it's a lot going on without anything holding it all together. Here she is anyways:





 I made the white glass vases using three different techniques. One I simply painted, another one has white paint on the inside of the glass (where i poured the paint in the vase and swirled it around to get an even coating), and then another one started out having the paint on the inside but then I sprayed adhesive and rolled it around in Epsom salt to make it look like snow. 

I made the sign by painting a piece of wood, printing out the text, tracing the paper with a ball point pen, and then filling in the letters with paint. A little time consuming- but that's what one does without a Silhouette.

Usually the tree is the show stopper. Ours was another garage sale find- and will not be joining us in our next move. It is not stable, is very...sparse, and has absolutely no character. It was fun to decorate anyways! I made the snowflakes using painted Popsicle sticks and paint- it was super quick with big impact- my kind of craft.

So there it is. Oh- I don't have a picture of our mistletoe- but we have two so... beware! :) Are you all decorated for the holidays? It's so fun to be festive and it really does lighten the mood with the house all decked out!

{This might be my longest post- as it should be!} 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Just a quick Love Letter

Dear PK, 

Last night was a long night. I heard your coughs echoing in the seemingly empty house. 
They pierced my soul. 

Some people ask me what I do. 
I used to say- "oh, I just stay home."

But you know what?

I get to play cars for hours. 
I get to eat animal crackers and yogurt for breakfast. 
I get to pick out cute outfits and play dress up. 
I get to read Barnyard Dance and make up each animal's voice and 
laugh along when I oink instead of neigh. 
I get to make big splashes in the bathtub. 
I get to smell clean baby.
I get to fold teeny, tiny baby clothes. 
I go on long walks and breathe in fresh air. 
I get to listen to fun new adventures during Story Hour. 
I get teach. 
I get to learn. 
I get to love and be loved. 

I get to be a kid again in the best way. 
I get to be one little boy's whole world. 
I get to be a mother.

So what if it isn't the most glamorous job?
So what if I rarely get thanked?
So what if my life isn't how I planned? 

Cuz you know what? 
It is infinitely better than I could have ever imagined. 

And tonight when I get to rock you back to sleep after a 
coughing fit has woken you up-
I will think,
"I have the best job ever."

Love always and forever, 
your Momma <3

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Our Fall Mantel

Taking down the Halloween decorations took an entire afternoon... and is still not done. 
But I can't stand having an empty mantel. 
It makes the living room feel naked.
So I decided to dress it---

 Here is what I came up with: 
{The mantel is 6FT across!}

After Halloween and now preparing for Christmas, I really wanted something simple. 
I spent $2 at Hobby Lobby for the cat-tails in the middle mason jar just for some variety.
I went up the Provo canyon (sick momma and baby-greatest mom here!) 
and chopped some brush from a park. 
{I hope it was legal?!}

Then I stuck them in some mason jars wrapped in twine. I think I might go re-wrap it with some baker's twine I have for yet another dimension, but for now I am gonna sit and blow my runny nose. 

I also chopped off a few branches from this really pretty red bush at the park to add some red color. I love fall red. It is SO pretty. 

Then those little balls I got at Ikea awhile back- for $3 I think and I threw them up there because it was too boring for me. To be honest, it is still a bit plain... but then the Christmas decor will look that much more awesome- so I kept it that way. 

Here are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure: 


Well, I guess it's not to bad. I can't wait to decorate for Christmas though. I asked Jed when we could start listening to Christmas music. He said December. I said now. So we compromised with after Thanksgiving. Secretly- I still listen to it in the car. Mwahaha. :) 


p.s. Those red branches really stink. I don't know if they will last that much longer- I can't stand the smell. I bought a $2 candle from Rite Aid- and of course- it doesn't give off any smell. I guess I will have to make my own potpourri!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Homemade Baby Wipes {tutorial}

Sorry for my brief absence... I hope that this is not a normal occurance, 
but I will always do my best to be a Mom first. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Having a baby is not cheap. Even when you buy second-hand, use coupons, and make things homemade... they use a lot of {everything!}

One of my favorite homemade recipes I originally got from my sister. (Thanks Day!)
Here is how I make my own wipes: 
Ingredients: Olive oil, baby wash, paper towel roll, and hot water

To make- take this:

(one thick paper towel)


Then, cut the paper towel in half



(I used a bread knife- but I have used a razor before- it does take some... effort)

Then mix together 2-2.5 Cups Boiling water
2 Tbsp.Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Baby wash

Well... don't mix. Lightly stir (if anything). Much more than lightly stirring will cause a hu-normous amount of bubbles... which doesn't help anything.

Then put the cut end of the paper towel roll in to a container 
(the best container is one that the paper towels barely fit in.)
Then---pour the soap mixture over the rolls, cover with a lid, then let them sit overnight. 
In the morning, you will have this: 
Some pretty {awesome} baby wipes!

Considering when you cut the paper towel in half- you then have two sets of baby wipes- I usually make 2 batches at the same time. Then I don't have one random 1/2 roll of paper towel sitting around. 

Look forward to a few more tutorials this week! 

Is it really NOVEMBER already? Like the 11th month of the year? What!?!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2 Week Menu: October 26-Nov 7th

A few weeks ago I taught 3 couponing/meal planning classes- they were a hit! 
{At least I thought so!}
After having such a great response, I decided to start posting my weekly menus on this here blog. 

I also will be talking about local sale prices- mainly to be price matched at Walmart. 
One part of their Corporate Ad Match policy states: 
"We do not honor competitor's ads from outside the store's local trade territory." Which basically means if you're are outside of the Provo Store markets (depending on the store- the ads might be state/region wide- check the stores in your area to see if the match my store's current prices) then the prices I list are not valid at your local store.
{Gosh, I hope that makes sense!}
*Also, if you are going to Ad-Match, I highly recommend you printing out the Ad-Match Guarantee and taking it with you to the store. This will help you understand and clarify any potential questions. 

I hope that even if you are not able to Ad-Match at your local stores, you might be able to use some of the recipes or learn how to Ad-Match yourself (it is AW.E.S.O.M.E.)

Here is my 2 week meal plan for Oct.26th-Nov 7th: 
Sun: Chili dinner with friends
Mon: Halloween Party
Fri: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks
Sat: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
Mon: Whole Wheat Pasta Primavera

{I awkwardly feel exposed knowing that on any given night y'all will know what I'm cookin'}
Anyways... here is a list of the best current prices for items that I either needed for the recipes above or needed to get for another reason. You DO NOT need to bring in the sale-ad with you to get these prices. It says right on the policy {which is also posted on every check out lane at Wal-Mart}. 

Sunflower Market: 
Seedless red grapes: .77/lb  

Macey's
Gala, Red delicious, Golden delicious: .99/lb
Avocados: .50 each
W. Family Apple Cider: 1.69 for 96OZ.
Pillsbury Brownie or Cake Mix: .89 each
Don Julio Chips: 1.09 for 9OZ

Buy Low
Fuji Apples: .50/lb
Ground Beef: 1.99/lb. 
Italian Squash: .50/lb. 
Large Dozen Eggs: .99
Red Onions: .33/lb
Yellow Onions: .25/lb
Cucumbers: 4/$1
Don Julio Tortillas: .99

Bananas: .50/lb
Yams: .25/.lb

I hope that this helps. It is sort of confusing, and I know it isn't all inclusive, but I know living on a student budget is difficult.
Look forward to a post on Rite Aid and Wal-Mart in the near future! 
~~Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thoughts: Desserts spelled backwards

Do you know what that spells? 

S.T.R.E.S.S.E.D

This is probably a weird post- but that's okay.
{Suits me well :)}

Everyone has a way that they handle stress. 
Some do it well, some not so well, and others handle stress by
not handling it. 
During different stages of my life I have gone through each of these.

Sometimes- we handle stress by trying to soothing our self: 
{He sucks his thumb while holding his shirt...?}

I however- generally don't handle stress well. 
Usually when I'm stressed out- I get so overwhelmed by everything going on
that I end up doing nothing. 
{Backwards, right?} 
Or- instead- I eat. It took me 
going on a very restrictive diet for 6 weeks to realize something about myself. 
Food is more than just calories to me. 
I didn't realize how much a bowl of ice cream at night meant to me. 
To me: 
Food a comforter. I use it to socialize. It controls my mood. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm grateful that I was able to make this self realization. 
{Sad that it took 22 years- but that's okay}

As a mother, I know that my personal habits and decisions do effect my children and husband. 
I don't want to teach my children to use food in unhealthy ways. 
I have realized that talking things out is a lot more important to me than I once thought- I totally need it. 
I have learned that though food is used to socialize doesn't mean that it only has to be sweets, or that I have to try everything. (Though I always want to!)
I have learned that if I eat regular, healthy meals/snacks
 food can have a positive effect on my mood. 
I have also learned that the Lord really can heal ALL wounds. That things that are important to me, are important to Him. That when I feel the most alone is when He is most ready to show His eternal love for me. 

I have also learned that I really do have the best husband. 
Sorry gals! jkjk. 

So here's to eating healthier, talking more, and learning how to handle stress better!

Friday, October 21, 2011

airing my dirty fan blades

Today I am going to air my dirty fan blades. 
I have seen the dirt on them for months now- and have wondered how to clean them. 
Wipe them off so the dust just settles everywhere else but the rag? 
That was the best I had come up with. 

Until Pinterest. 
{Yeah, baby}

So- I went ahead- and cleaned my ceiling fan 
{with an old pillowcase!}

Here are my dirty fan blades for all to see: 

{eek!}
{Gross!}

The process to clean them took less than 2 minutes. 
So here goes: 

Place the pillowcase over the fan blade: 
 Then use your fingers to swipe the dust off- this may take a few swipes.

{I also sort of held the open side of the pillowcase closed.
I don't think know if any dust would have fallen out- I just wanted to cover all my bases}

Then- just do that for all of your fan blades... and

Voila!


WOW! Those look pretty good.

But what is my favorite part?

All those not-so-cute "dust bunnies" are INSIDE the pillowcase. 
Just where they belong!

**If you click on the picture of the clean blades- there is still some sticky gunk on the side of the blade. I will just wipe that off with a water and some cleaning solution.

There you have it!
Easy peasy lemon squeezy. 

Idea found here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

keeping up my end...

When I found out that I was with child- I freaked out, 
ate WAY too much, cried for a period of time I am not willing to admit
decided to read as much as possible about pregnancy and infancy. During that time period I felt confident about pregnancy (not to say I didn't have emotional weeks moments) and after taking a class about birth, 
I was strangely misinformed ready for labor and all that it would bring. 

Then, my sweet baby arrived, and after reading some more, I had Parker 
put on a schedule which he {I} loved.

Until recently.

I think because a lot of changes have happened- mostly to Parker (whole foods, walking, communicating etc)- he hasn't done as well with his schedule. It has fluctuated- obviously he isn't sleeping as often as he was at birth- but lately I have no idea when his naps will be. 
Friend: Hey, Aubrey! Want to go for a walk at noon today? 
Me: I don't know? Parker, do we want to go for a walk at noon or is that nap time today? 
Parker: puzzled look....

I have never been willing to have that as a lifestyle- but lately- it is what it is. 
And then I realized what it is. During pregnancy and infancy, I had read as much as I could, asked other seasoned Mom's their ideas etc. so I had a decent idea what was going on. 

Not. Any. More. 

I haven't picked up a single book on toddlers. I haven't asked anyone how to communicate with their 15 month old. Is there discipline at this age? If so, what is it? What the heck should I be doing with this kid?

If I am not keeping up my end, I can't expect the Lord to figure it all out for me! I need to show the Lord that I am seeking answers in all avenues and then seek His help in understanding how it all applies to my little PK. 
Ding. Ding. Ding. 
{Sometimes the light bulb just takes a little bit longer for me. :) }

So, if you have ANY tips, books, websites etc.- I would HAPPILY accept them. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Magazine (or anything) Holder {tutorial}

I've been redoing my craft room 
WHAT! I haven't told you!! 
Well, I am. And it is marvelous. 
First- because I have a craft room. But also because I get to decorate it any way I want. 
{Well, and the rest of the house too... hehe}

Here is where I first saw a box turned into a magazine holder. She did a great job!

So one day- I just went for it. No plan- just went. 

This is what I came up with: 

I started with this: 
{I actually went out and bought this cereal just for the box- and for the cereal too}

Then I cut off the top tabs like this: 

Then I went and marked where I wanted the diagonal line to be drawn:






It was 6 inches from the bottom and 2 inches diagonally from the side
{it is marked in the pictures- but it's hard to see}

Then I cut: 
Yes, the box is turned around- I don't know why- 
Also, I have seen some magazine rack things made with no top edge- 
meaning it is diagonal all the way to the top corner- that is just a personal preference thing. 

Then I started to trace the paper I wanted to cover the box
All I did was lay the box down and literally trace around it- easy :) 

Cut the traced paper- and attach. I used Spray Adhesive. 
Remember when I said that I would be doing a project using S.Ad here? This is said project. I really do love S. Ad. It's easy to use- and has severe hold. 
{I mean severe- so yeah, make sure you are ready to stick when you go to stick- 
cuz there is very little give.}

As with nearly every.single.project I have ever done- I had to make adjustments. 
As I was tracing the paper- I realized the box was taller than my 12x12 paper.  See...



So what did I do? I cut off the extra box.  On all 3 sides of the box. 

Then I covered the rest of the sides with the paper. Trace, Cut, S. Ad, Cover. 
Here is what I had: 


I LOVED it! I mean love, love, loveeee, lurve, loved it! 

But something was missing. So I did some do-bopping (a new term meaning: random crafting)
and this was my finished product: 
Basically just 4 brads and a small scrap of cardstock. 
{Do you believe that the TAG took me longer to make than the rest of the box itself??} 
No Joke. 

I love it! I can't wait to get it placed in my new craft room with... something in it. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

When I'm hot, I'm HOT: post 2

I LOVE Rite Aid. 


I know some people have "their" stores or brands or companies. One of my stores is Rite Aid. Fo' sho  :) 

They have the easiest rewards program, their rebates are the easiest to get, and their coupon policy makes sense- not to mention they have the nicest clerks! 
I have been a couponer for a little while now- and have had a hard time working with Walgreens. I know they have great deals some weeks- and some weeks I venture in there (when the diapers are dirt cheap) but on average- Walgreens is much more difficult to use {as a couponer}. 

ANYWAYS... this is what I got at Rite Aid today. 
Rite Aid loot: 
Allergy Buster nasal spray ($8)
Sinful Colors nail polish ($2)
Revlon nail polish ($3)
Blistex cold and allergy lip balm ($1.50)

I then used a peelie coupon from the Allergy Buster spray for $2 so the break down goes like this: 
Total: 15.45 (before coupons)
Total: 13.45 (put on card)
with the Up Rewards I recieved- basically a coupon/gift card 
that can be used on most products in the store
Total OOP: $1.96 

For 4 products which I am excited to have- and for not doing any prep work before going into the store- aside from looking at the ad. 
Let me know if you are interested in Rite Aid. I would be happy to do a few more detailed posts on Rite Aid- if anyone is interested. Or I just might do it anyways. I'll surprise ya :)

p.s. This is a post that features my honest opinion- I was in no way paid for this post. 
{Not to say I didn't want to be!}