Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Functional Storage

OK, I have NO idea why my photos are on the other side. This is about how my living room looks right now. I've never liked the way it looks. I'm always changing this up. We've always wanted some built ins for storage.

I found this 2nd photo somewhere online a couple years ago. I've always envisioned built ins like this.

Remember my last frugal post, since we know we will be at our current home for a while we decided to get some built ins done! I'm so excited.

We are putting the flat screen in cabinets just like this photo too. That will really open up our room.

Our home isn't very large so storage is a necessity. It's all about functional storage for us.

We have a home to do list. We also have a project budget and priority list. So glad this project is next up.

Here is what the living room looked like when we just bought it. That is some bright yellow!

Hopefully the carpenter will get started next week. We want to do it right so we aren't even going to mess with this one on our own. We're even going to hire a painter to paint it right. I don't have the time or the want to.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Not So Frugal Jen

If you've been reading for a while you know this past year has been a crazy one. The one thing to fly right out the door was frugality. Yes, I am here to admit I'm not so frugal. Sigh.....

I've been grocery shopping without coupons and giving into every whim to buy a product. Hey, did you know eating healthy and with fresh ingredients is more expensive? Well I hope to find a way to save eating fresh and healthy.

The reason I started this blog was to chronicle my journey of spending less and still living fabulously. We have the means to live a more expensive lifestyle but we choose to live BELOW our means. Why, well we enjoy splurging on things like vacations and frankly not carrying a ton of debt. My husband is a investment consultant so we practice what he preaches. Let me tell you we've come along way. I'm a reformed shopaholic. I even struggle today.

Yes, we've been battling the urge to buy our "dream home". It's a struggle when you see your friends in these big house and fancy cars and you know you could afford it too but you choose not to. That is hard, very hard. We are trying to teach our children that life is not about material possessions so what would that teach them if we suddenly switched gears. It wouldn't be true to who I am inside either. I've found money doesn't bring happiness, remember we don't take any of the "stuff" with us. God has never called anyone to stock up on possessions and live life on earth like a king. It's quite the opposite. I try to keep that perspective when I feel bad and want to shop. I think God is calling me to be true to myself and I know what the right thing to do is. Those who know us in real life know we seem to go the opposite way of society norms. My 13 year old is one of the few who doesn't have a cell phone, cannot text and doesn't have a facebook. Call me old fashioned...

So what is my point? Well I'm ready to refocus.

  • I've got to get the grocery bill down and keep the meals healthy.
  • I desperately need a new wardrobe. I'm hoping to have some guest posts on mixing and matching outfits.
  • Christmas is coming and I want to make some great crafty items for family and friends.
  • Then there is the house. Decorating on a budget is fun. We've got some carpentry projects we are using a contractor for. Sometimes it's better to pay to get it done right the first time.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

OUTRAGED!! Similac Recall

UPDATE 9/29 Abbott Labs the makers of Similac has handled the recall with our issue very well. Within 48 hours of Caroline being removed from the bad formula she's been doing much better. The customer service has handled it professionally and promptly, although I am still mad about the issue in the first place.

As I am up at Caroline's 3am feeding a early news program reports the massive recall of Similac Infant formula. Seems that beetle parts and beetle larvae has been found. WHAT? They show a photo of the similac sensitive formula I use.

I go to the website and sure enough the 3 large bins I purchased at Costco are in the recall. At least $90 worth of formula to throw out.

It's not a money issue it's my daughters safety. Remember we've been battling a stomach issue that won't go away for over a week. Even a trip to the ER. All I can think is the formula. A week ago I even called Similac a week ago regarding our sudden feeding issue when we had to switch to Allimentum then back to the Sensitive.

So now it's 4am I have NO formula to feed my daughter. They say the ready made liquid is not effected. So I will get some of that. I'm a little scared to get in the car and go to Wal-Mart this early. I will head out at 6 am. I've got to beat the rush. I have a feeling the stores will soon be out of the only substitutes available.

If I ever have another child I will push through and breastfeed. This just proves to me infant formula cannot be 100% safe. I'm just very, very, very angry and mad.

I'm currently on hold at 4am with Abbot Labs

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ER Trip & Hand Sanitizer

Last night we made a trip to the children's emergency room at the downtown hospital. Little Caroline has had a stomach bug and it decided to come back. We went at the Dr's request, she was concerned it was not just a stomach virus but a serious stomach condition, plus her breathing was off and thought it might be the dreaded RSV.

We got there and it's amazing how fast they move along a baby. We didn't get anywhere near other sick kids we were in isolation. They did IV fluids and a sonogram to check her intestines and stomach and her breathing was monitored. All clear, except we saw a ton of gas bubbles. Turns out she doesn't have reflux just a gassy tummy. One issue solved. I've got to switch bottles

So the verdict, a stomach virus just as we initially thought. Which brings me to:
I've got to do a better job keeping little hands and people away from Caroline. I posted a while back we weren't going to get out much well, that's impossible with 3 other children highly involved in activities. Who was I kidding? I can't live in a bubble so I'm going to take extra precautions.

I was asked to review this 6 hour hand sanitizer last week from mom select. I couldn't think of a better time for us. Let me tell you this is all I will buy now. 6 hours! Check it out . I was given 10 bottles so I will be passing them out to our close friends and family who come in frequent contact with her. I also put a bottle in each of the kids school bag.
Little Caroline with the bottle and her "Don't touch me sign". My church friend Melanie picked up this hang tag, she's a NICU nurse. Thank you!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Menu Monday

I had all intentions of posting Caroline's room last week but got sidetracked. That's an easy task for me. Hopefully I will do that this week.

P90X update: Husband has lost 20 pounds! I've lost 0 now. Went for my 6 week postpartum and went up. Dr. says it's because I'm not sleeping and stressed. That combo = weight gain. I will continue to do the workout but I'm not going to stress about missing a day.

Monday: Mini Meatloaf (Thanks Christi T.), Sweet Potato Fries
1 1/2 pound of ground turkey, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup of Italian bread crumbs, 1/3 cup parm cheese, 1 bottle of BBQ Sauce (1/2 for topping)

Mix all and grease muffin pan bake 375 for 30 minutes and top with remaining BBQ.

Tuesday: Make Your Own Deli Sandwich

Wednesday: Grilled Chicken Tostato's

Thursday: Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken over Rice

Friday: Make Your Own Flatbread Pizza

My new thought... life is too short to not enjoy your meal. We're eating our regular favorites but we're reducing the fat.

I think I'd rather have some extra weight on my hips than be skinny and hungry!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Menu Monday and Weight Loss

After months of bedrest and meal help from wonderful friends. We are completely back to my own cooking. The only difference is the new and improved healthy menu. I've cut out high fructose corn syrup, trans fats and most processed foods. Let me share this weeks menu.

Monday: Sandwiches Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins, Deli Turkey, Deli American Cheese (it tastes so much better from the deli than the little packages... no preservatives a plus), lettuce, tomato's, sliced avocado's and a dash of Italian dressing. You can put this on the george foreman grill for pannini style. A side of chips, we love Kettle brand or baked Cheetos.

Tuesday: Crock Pot Garlic Chicken with a side of mixed veggies (Green Giant Steamed Veggies)

Wednesday: Baked Tostatos with Grilled Chicken. I spray corn tortillas with cooking spray and cook on 400 for 5ish minutes until golden brown. I top with fat free refried beans, black beans, leftover chicken, lettuce and 2% shredded cheese. A little salsa to top it off.

Thursday: Soup Night. We each have our favorite canned soup. This is the only heavy processed meal we have. Still it's better than our old frozen pizza night. I love spaghetti O's!

Friday: Make Your Own Pizza. We use Flax-Seed Flat Bread and top with tomato sauce, 2% cheese and veggies. The kids still get peperoni's. With a side of salad.

Weight Loss Journey

I've got to tell you about our weight loss workout plan. P90X! I was up late with the baby and got sucked into an infomercial. They got me motivated. I even woke up Josh. We ordered it and all the expensive accessories. We put our gym memberships on hold.

In 3 weeks my husband has lost 13 pounds and gone down 2 holes in his belt loop. I've gotten back into my old jeans and clothes. I've lost 5 pounds and several inches around my waist. We've got 9 more weeks of the program. I can put on my old jeans they are tight and I have just a bit of a muffin top.

I'll show the before and after at the end of the program when I'm swimsuit ready.

I won't lie it's a pain to do. It takes almost 1 1/2 hours a day. We get up early and do it while the kids are sleeping. I also added a couple run days into the workout. I run 2 miles 2 times a week. I used to run a lot. It's a great stress reliever.

I'm crazy a newborn, P90X, no sleep and 4 kids!

Has anyone out their in blog land done P90X?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Colic Fixes

I want to thank all you wonderful moms for the great info on your experience with colic. We spoke to the Dr and she thinks Caroline has a milk protein allergy. She's also had diarrhea like poop since she started formula. Sorry TMI. It has gotten worse the last week. So we switched her formula to Similac Allimentium. Nothing frugal about that pricey stuff.

We kept her on the Similac Sensitive formula for so long hoping her body would adjust since she kept growing and showed no signs of dehydration. Allimentium is one of those last resort formulas.

My Caroline is sleeping soundly in the swing right now. I'm getting some much needed chores done, and of course some blogging.

Let me share what worked for me:

  • Switching Formula
  • Water - Little Tummies Brand.
  • Swaddling tightly in the swing and bouncy seat.

  • Put her in the car seat to snuggle her up, and head out for a short drive. When we get home she will sleep and be content in the car seat.

  • Laying her on my legs and rubbing her back. Little baby massage, my girl is already spoiled.

  • Background noise. She immediately quiets when I vacuum. I also put music on in the house when she's fussy and she stops and listens. Her favorite is my New Kids on the Block - The Block CD. My guilty childish pleasure. I played and sang this in the car when I was pregnant.

The Result.....Ahhh peace and quiet Most of all a happy baby and mommy.

I am hoping to get back to frugal posting this week at least twice a week. Monday I will be back to Menu Monday.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Colic... Please Help Me!

As a mother of 4 I've been extremely lucky to have limited experience with colic.... baby tummy pain and excessive crying.

Kate who is now 12 had this. That was so long ago I forgot what to do. I've looked online. Everyone seems to push a supplement or product. I don't trust ad's I want to hear from real moms.

So tell me... what works.

She's already on sensitive formula. Yes, now I am really regretting not breastfeeding. I can hear some big fat I told you so's. Oh well, moving on....
The good news, she slept for 6 hours the other night. Mommy got a good nights sleep.