Monday, July 25, 2016

Preparing for school planning

As I pull up my August calendar on my phone I see that nearly every day has plans.  Normally this would make me very nervous.  Our family does not do well being that busy.  We need "home" days.  Instead this sight makes me smile.  I smile because (for the most part) those days are set apart.  They are set apart for talking with the kids and planning out our school year.  They are set apart for easing back into school.

In the mean time I'm reading this great book a friend of mine suggested.  Teaching from Rest; A Homeschoolers Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie.  Just reading the Forward and Preface gave me peace and encouragement.  I'm replenishing my soul through His word, praying over our coming year, and working on casting my cares upon Him.  Homeschooling our children can be a heavy burden if we don't cast those cares on the Lord.  I'd encourage you, mama, to take this time to look to Him and find rest so that you may joyfully care for and teach your  His children that He has placed in your care.

"Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." Psalm 55:22

"...casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you."  1 Peter 5:7

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Taking care of mom- Stitch Fix has sent me my favorites!

This past week we had some special plans, all made by my husband.  For my birthday.  As I was figuring out what I wanted to wear for these dates I realized that each outfit I was picking had at least one element from Stitch Fix, if not the whole outfit.  Wow!  I knew I was liking it, but not until then did I realize how very happy I was with their picks.  I thought I'd share.

This blue and white stripe top was perfect for our dinner date.  The cut of the top hides my mama belly, the style and color where ones I'd asked for, and it is easy to care for.  I love that it works for me now, but it's cut is a flexible one.

I think this is my favorite top right now.  It came in a fix right before I had my baby.  I can't remember if it was a maternity top or not.  I had asked for tops that would be great for the transition time after baby; that's exactly what this is!  I love the fit, it drapes nicely and is easy to nurse in.  I love how easy it is to just throw on with jeans or dress up a bit with a skirt.  I feel pretty in it, but it does not show spots easily and is easy to care for.  It's a perfect "mom" top. :) 

This grey top and printed skirt are from two different "fixes."  I love that they know what I've kept from past fixes and are able to make pairing suggestions based on that.  I'd have eventually figured these out on my own, but it sure is nice for my mama brain to have that right out of the box!  Both pieces are very forgiving.  They work well with my ever changing mama body. :)  I loved wearing them for a casual afternoon out with my husband (and the baby).


This top obviously does not fit well right now, I can just barely wiggle into it.  It is from a pre-pregnancy fix.  It is still one of my favorites and I'm looking forward to it fitting again....sometime.  I'm sharing for a couple of reasons 1) my stitch fix stylist checks my pinterest page and blog to see what styles I like 2)to be real...it can be frustrating to have your weight fluctuate regularly, not fit into your favorite clothes or not feel as good about your body as you once did.  Remember that you've given the gift of life to your little one(s).  Often our extra weight is needed to support our little one while we are nursing.  Just look at those chubby cheeks, and dimpled arms (on the baby!) she is growing strong and healthy.  If I was slimmer my baby would not be chunking up so nicely.  I know because I have lost weight too quickly in the past and my baby has then struggled with weight gain.  If we're eating well, exercising and resting in the Lord it's a bit easier to accept where we are at physically....even when that baby is not such a baby anymore. ;)  Being real and sharing our struggles in an encouraging way can be a big blessing to others, I know I've been encouraged greatly by others in this way.

***I'm sharing this because it has been a blessing and encouragement to me to use this service.  It is not a "budget" service, but one that is a treat my husband has encouraged me to use.  The opinions are my own.  I'm not compensated by Stitch Fix.  However, if you sign up through my links AND receive a fix I do get credit toward my next fix.  That credit has been such a blessing to me.  A big "THANK YOU!" to those of you who have signed up through me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Preventing those diaper blow outs...

***Even if you have NO interest in cloth diapering you'll want to know about this little trick***

One of the biggest surprises when I had my first babies was all of the diaper blow outs.  Sometimes huge messes.  All over everything.  Often when we were out and about.  It was nasty and often outfits ended up ruined.

I love cloth diapering, but sometimes life takes over and we need to use disposables.  Years ago when we switched to cloth diapers I was surprised to find that we were no longer experiencing those diaper blowouts that were so frustrating.  

I started putting the cloth diaper covers over disposables when we needed to use them.  They contained messes!  The stronger elastic at the backs and legs were enough to catch any overflow.  Any mess was contained to that cover.  I've been using this trick for almost 9 years now and realized maybe I should pass it on.

I think any good cover with elastic at the back and legs would work well.  I use the Flip diaper covers because they are made by one of my favorite cloth diaper companies.  They are good quality and I've used them through several children.  I purchase them at cottonbabies.com  They are about $15 and well worth the cost considering all of the trouble and clothing they save.   


*I'm not being compensated for this review/suggestion.  I'm just a mom sharing what I've found to work well. ;) 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Why we planned a home birth

*There are so many options when it comes to birthing.  There is no one right choice for everyone, just the best option for each mom and baby.  I'm sharing how we came to this choice this time.  It's not up for debate here. ;)

First a little humor....


It's an overall funny about his large family, he starts the home birth part at about 1:30


We've been heading in the direction of home birthing for a while now, but this will be our first.  Our last baby (#8) was born in a detached Birth Center staffed by Midwives.  While many will choose this option feeling it is "safer" than a home birth; the reality is that these facilities are rarely equipped with anything that would not already be at a home birth.  Sometimes they are located closer to a hospital making emergency transport faster, that's about it though.  The nearest birth center to us is over an hour away ruling it out as a reasonable option anyways.

Some reasons we were leaning towards home birth.....
1)Unnecessary interventions that had nothing to do with my labor/birth process or medical history.  Just hospital policy.
2)Uncertain environment.  So much depends on the nurse you get or the on call doctors.
3)Doctors not listening to my medical/pregnancy history and "freaking out" when the situation then comes up.  Jumping to suggestions of interventions and c-sections despite my assurances that the situation would right itself; because it always had in the past and did again shortly after it came up.  Specifically...my babies turn.  They spin all the way through the last month of pregnancy and even overdue.  Every single one has gone back to vertex for birth on their own, but none of my doctors listen to that.  My midwives do and have a much more relaxed attitude about this knowing there is nothing we can do until "birthday."
4)Our family dynamics.  Hospitals do not lend themselves well to a bunch of kids being around before, during or after a birth.   The birth center was so much better, but still not what we (or our children) were wanting.
5)My own pregnancy/labor/delivery and medical history makes me an excellent candidate for a home birth.  *If this was not the case it would have overruled all of the other reasons to home birth and we would go to a hospital.
6)This one really didn't come into play, but is a perk....given the time of year; planning to be home just feels good.  Snow storms, influenza outbreaks and such are not a concern knowing I'll be staying home.

This time the choice (in some ways) was made for us.  Once we looked at our options realistically in terms of what we needed and what our insurance would cover it was clear what our choice would be.  My husband is in the military.  We're thankful for the medical coverage we have, but in this instance it would not work for us.  For oh so many reasons the Army Hospital* in our area was not an option for us (distance, reputation, and policies are some of the reasons).  Civilian doctors and hospitals were not really an option unless we found ourselves in an emergency situation during labor; in that case they would be covered and would be able to provide much better (in our opinion) and faster care than the military facility.  *Last time we were stationed in this area we also did not see this hospital as a good option.  At that time we had other options that we were able to use, and ended up with a civilian doctor at a civilian hospital.

This left Home Birth which we'd been leaning towards anyways.  We paid out of pocket for it since it is not covered by our insurance.  Only my lab work was covered for this pregnancy.  While having to pay for it on our own is an added strain it greatly relieves other strains and concerns.  I know we're not alone in making this choice and many others go through much more financial hardship in order to make this happen.
My oldest daughter delivering her baby sister with the help of our midwife.

I love that my midwife takes her time at my appointments; each one has been about an hour long.  She is much more detailed in her questions about my pregnancy and over-all health.  She does more testing too.  Nothing big, but she is certainly much more aware of my over-all health than most of my doctors ever have been.  With the longer appointments we're able to get to know each other better.  I trust her more than I've trusted most of my doctors, and I'll feel much more comfortable with her at the birth.  This is much more of a partnership.  We're in this together to get the best outcome for both me and the baby.  An added bonus?  Her husband is retired military in a similar career field as my husband.  We share some similar experiences in that aspect as well.  She understands our life in a way that many midwives could not.  Finding the right midwife can make a huge difference. :) 

Friday, February 12, 2016

February Stitch Fix

This was my 4th box from Stitch Fix, and it's my favorite one yet!  I was very intentional about scheduling this fix.  In my "notes" to the stylist I let her know that I wanted clothes that would be great for right after the birth and be nursing friendly.  I wanted items that would help hide my postpartum belly and look "springy" while still warm enough for our cold Colorado weather.  As soon as I opened the box I could tell that she'd listened to me and I was so excited to start trying on clothes!

None of the items are a great fit right now.  They are all intended for after the birth.  I'm pleased that I was able to try them all on and get a good idea for their potential fit. ;)   The first outfit I tried on was not my favorite, but I did still like the items.  The skirt felt so nice on both for the fit and fabric quality; I was sad that the print/color combo were just not quite "me."  I really liked the feel of the grey criss cross top that was chosen for me because it would be nursing friendly.  I wasn't sure if it would help in hiding my belly.  Obviously it's good at showing it off right now. :)

The pink top and cardigan were in colors and styles I'd requested.  The top will be great for spring and summer while the cardigan will keep me warmer while we're still in the cooler temps.  The cardigan will also be great pared with the top for nursing as it will help provide a bit of extra cover and privacy.  Right now I can just get the top over my belly, so I can't wear it, but I know I'm going to love being able to wear it right after baby is born.  It's always nice to have something pretty to wear right away.

This one is my favorite.  I'd requested more of a "romantic" look and this is what was sent to fill that request.  The top is in colors I'd requested and while the cut does accomedate my belly now it'll be perfect all through the spring and summer for hiding my mamma tummy and nursing the baby (while not looking like I'm wearing a maternity top).  I also love that the stylist pointed out that the tops she picked would look good with the pants I'd kept from my last fix.  I'd have figured it out eventually, but I appreciated the thoughtfulness.

I ended up keeping all 5 pieces.  I normally would not have, but I knew I was going to keep the 3 I loved.  The grey top was questionable and at first I'd decided to send it back.   Over the next few hours I keep thinking about it though and pulling it out.  There is a 25% discount for keeping all 5 items, plus I had credits making it cheaper to keep all 5 once I decided to keep the 4th item.  I'm thankful for a husband that is so sweet and encouraged me to keep them all.

Now they are all hanging in my closet waiting to be worn.  Ah, more practice in patience.  You know, 'cause waiting for baby to arrive is not practice enough.

***If you are interested in giving stitch fix a go I'd love it if you'd use my link.  I get credit when your first fix ships.  A big reason I was able to treat myself this time was because some sweet friends have been enjoying Stitch Fix through my link.  A BIG Thank You goes out to them from me. :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Nursery; with toddler bunk beds

You know in Peter Pan when the kids are talking about it being Wendy's last night in the nursery?  I never really understood why kids (not babies) were in the nursery.  Now I do.  We've always just had a boys' room and girls' room (and mom & dad's room), but that's not working anymore and we have some more flexibility in this house.  We've been setting up an nursery for kids 7 (at least) and under.

We started by converting 2 toddler size beds into a set of toddler size bunk beds.  Our 6 year old and 4 year old will be sleeping in these.  We used the two headboards for the bottom bunk and the two foot boards for the top.  The beds are well secured together with pegs and brackets.  ***Use extreme caution in attempting this.  This is not a method/use recommended by the manufacturer.  My husband is an experienced builder and had to alter the construction of the beds***

The nursery is close to mommy and daddy's room.  It is also near our main living area.  We were struggling with littles not cleaning up their messes, having a hard time finding their clothing, or getting into older siblings things.  This way we will be better able to supervise and help these little ones.

We think this will also give them a nice play space that they can have more freedom in.  We will not have to be quite as concerned about curious/mischievous little hands.  *Some toys will be stored out of the way in the closet, others will be out to play with.  We limit what our children have available to them and rotate the toys regularly.  We find them to be more content with what they have when we do this.

Once baby arrives we will be storing 4 children's clothes in this room.  Baby will likely sleep in our room for several months.  We will put a small crib or playpen in here when it is time for baby to join the others. *We're just using the shelves in the closet  and hanging many of the girls things for their clothes right now.  We're holding off on buying a dresser to (1)save for it (2)see if it is really necessary since it would be nice not to have one in there.

The biggest goal here was protecting some sweet relationships.  We could see that some kids were being provoked to wrath either through siblings or the situations we had put them in.  This was something that could be changed, and so we needed to do that.  It has been working out very well for everyone.

I thought I'd share the costs of doing this with you especially since this was a budget project.
Crib mattress- $57 we only needed one since we already had a spare

Toddler bed- $79x2 on Amazon  *while we would normally look for these on Craigslist we bought these new because they had to be the exact same bed to work for our purposes.

The pink toddler bed (with mattress) was purchased quite a while ago by finding it on Craigslist.  It was new, the child that originally owned it never slept in it.  I think it cost $55

*This had been the girls' room.  Our two older girls moved downstairs to a room we had left empty to allow for some growth.  That growth happened sooner than we thought it would. :) 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Pantry Challenge week 3

Whew!  I'm slow putting this post together, it was quite a week-end.  I'm so thankful for the retreat I was able to go on (and that I got to take my oldest daughter), and the big work day my family and I tackled on Monday; it all left me tired though.  Our pantry challenge is going well, but between the whole "end of pregnancy" thing and some very busy days I'm getting tired of it. :)  I'm seeing my goals accomplished though, so I'm inspired to keep going.

My poorly functioning pregnancy brain did not track expenses this week.  I didn't purchase much; bananas, pineapple, eggs,  and chocolate coconut (dairy free) ice cream...you know basic life essentials.  I also purchased several items for next month.  These were almost all convenience/specialty items related to the upcoming birth.

Ok, the menu for this week

Breakfast
Baked Oatmeal with fruit (random kinds found in the freezer)
Dutch babies
instant oatmeal

Lunch
Packed lunch 'o junk- my kids couldn't believe their eyes when they saw me packing this.  Caprisun (left over from our move), fruit cups (left over from camping), random crackers and nuts.

Baked potatoes
dinner left overs
Random stuff from the "Pantry Challenge" bag- we will finish this off this week!

Dinner
Chicken, stuffing, corn, cranberry sauce- the last of the chickens we processed this year and          Thanksgiving/Christmas pantry left overs
Pineapple curry Chicken
Split pea soup
Tacos- the kids were so excited to hear that I found some extra taco meat in the back of the freezer!
Shredded Pork

This week-end and in the coming week we will start some bulk cooking.  My freezer is nicely cleaned out and ready to be filled with meals to get us through the first month or so after baby arrives.