Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why Journaling Is On My To-Do List

If you have been reading for a while you may have noticed that journaling for my husband and kids is always on my to-do list. I still haven’t done it.

If it is something that is continually put off, why is it on my list?

Because of a gift I was left. The night before my wedding I was given this:

A Father's Journal

It’s from my dad. He left one for each one of us, my mom (actually she had several), my brother, and I. We had no idea they even existed, mom found them by accident. They are not anything fancy. Just a notebook in the color that represented us in my father’s eyes, emblazoned with his art/handwriting (to me his handwriting will always be art). They weren’t even wrote in regularly.

But WOW!

What a gift to get on the eve of your wedding. I literally walked around with cold spoons over my eyes the morning of our big day.

So why have I been dragging my feet on starting them for my husband and children?

Honestly, I’m not sure. Sometimes I think I’ll just remember everything and tell them. Stupid, I know. Sometimes I feel like it is a ‘death sentence.’ If I write down my thoughts, feelings, and dreams to my family; I might die too. I know this is irrational thinking, my journal was started at least ten years before dad’s accident (just a guess- he didn’t date it). Sometimes I feel that those feelings are mine, not to be shared. This is purely selfish, something I need to work on- breaking down my wall. Other times I get paralyzed, my perfectionist takes over and tells me, “You know you’re not going to be regular about journaling, so why bother?”

Enough excuses! This is very important to me. It is important that even after I am gone (hopefully a very, very long time from now) that my family knows my love for them. It is important that they know my feelings, dreams, insecurities, proud moments, and everything in between.

I may forget to tell them. I may tell them, and they may forget.

I want to have a gift to share with my family, just like the gift left for me.

So I start. I start a journal for each one of my men. Just like mine, theirs’ get emblazoned with my art, and written with my hand.

I am not going to beat myself up about regularity. I am not going to guard my heart. I AM going to be deliberate about recording our memories.

What gift had the most impact on your life?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Menu, on Tuesday…

No Twin Tip this week.

I know, I know; I’m sorry.

The thing is, I have been in a bit of a funk this last week. I have been unmotivated, uninspired, and feeling pretty lazy.

I even failed at my 365 days of creating. I would go into my sewing room, look around, wander a bit, wallow about how I need to do something, and then not do anything.

Anyways, enough of the boo-hoo-ing. Want to know what we are eating this week? (a little late…)

  • Sunday- Ginger Chicken or leftovers (the leftovers are for the picky eater around here)
  • Monday- Nachos (step-son’s choice)
  • Tuesday- Chicken Pot Pie
  • Wednesday- Tuna Noodle Bake (hubby’s request)
  • Thursday- Roast
  • Friday- Leftovers, or possibly chili (request by hubby)
  • Saturday- see Friday

Menu planning is one of those things that seems daunting to me, but once we I get into the groove life becomes that much easier.

Lately the family has been paying attention. My step-daughter and the neighbor girl were reading the menu board. Neighbor girl says, “Oooh, you guys are eating good food this week. I should come over for dinner.”

The step-son likes knowing what to expect after school or sports. He usually makes a comment on the way to school about what is on the board for dinner tonight. His newfound attention to details has its highs and lows. High- I know he’s paying attention, and dinner is one more security we can plug into his teenage life. Low- I know he’s paying attention. There is no way I can make up a quick batch of grilled cheeses when tacos are scheduled.

The one who’s attention impressed me the most last week? Hubby. He had to make a trip to the store before he was done with work. He picked up shredded cheese for taco night, because he noticed we didn’t have any left, and tacos were scheduled. (I was just planning on shredding up a block.) Thursday night was the best. Hubby says, “we’re still having homemade pizza tomorrow…..right? Pizza sounds really good.” (Funny thing is; this is the man that said I shouldn’t put pizza on the schedule every other Friday because we would just get bored. Good thing I took the kids’ advice.)

How about you, do you find menu planning easy, necessary, daunting, difficult, or unnecessary?

Any tips for getting out of the winter funks? (Besides a tropical vacation, not in the budget) Winking smile

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Story Looks Up. (a little more about me)

I have tried to pick this story back up quite a few times. And then deleted the posts. The last Letting You In post left off at my dad’s memorial. I wanted, err…felt I needed to continue the story because dad’s death is not the only reason why my life has changed so much in the past couple of years. I’m just having a problem continuing in a story format like before. It didn’t help any that I wrote the series around the holidays. This made it even more emotional for me. I have decided to continue (finally), but I’m just going to bullet some highlights. Here goes:

  • School- I finished the semester (despite my teacher’s kind encouragement to take the semester off). I not only finished, I earned myself a spot on the Dean’s List. An accomplishment I am very proud of given all the circumstances I had to face that semester.
  • Marriage- We had our wedding, a week and a half after burying my father, and in the midst of a busy school semester. It was the most beautiful wedding ever. I know I am biased, but people are still talking about it.


  • Honeymoon- We took our honeymoon a month after our wedding. (After the summer semester of school was over.) I am a planner, my husband is not. We decided to take off without reservations, or a concrete plan. We went where our GPS took us (Pennsylvania), checked out each town’s legacy, and had the most wonderful vacation ever!
  • Work- I started working at a nursing home. I’ll never forget the day of my interview. I was offered the job about 15 minutes in. I tried to call dad with my exciting news, left a message for a stranger.
  • Nursing- Validated for the (extremely long) waiting list for nursing clinicals. I’m still waiting…
  • Family- My mom bought a house closer to us (about a block from me, and about two blocks from my brother). My brother (who also had major life changes during this time) left for his second deployment. Thankfully he is home, safe and sound.

Next week I’ll tell you my pregnancy story.

What do you want to know about me? (If it’s nothing, and you feel these little tidbits waste our time you can let me know that too.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Twin Tip Tuesday, Cribs or Bassinets?

Happy Tuesday.

I would really like to be more deliberate about posting twin tips. Not because I know it all, because lets face it- I don’t. I want to be more regular, because of the lack of information I was able to find. Keep in mind, I am not trained in any way, shape or form, except for the fact that I am the mama of twins. So without delay, today’s topic:

Bassinets, 1 crib, 2 crib? What do I need?

I was puzzled with this question during most of my pregnancy. I had people (who had never had multiples) tell me I had to have bassinets. I read articles and books that discussed babies sleeping in the same or separate cribs. I had such a hard time making a decision.

This is what we did: I registered for twin pack n play. I mainly wanted it because it is bigger than standard pack n plays. Another reason we choose this piece is because it featured two bassinets. We also had two cribs given to us.

crib or bassinets?

How they slept in the hospital.

The boys hated the bassinets. I understand why. They were smooshed together before they entered this world. They were smooshed together in the hospital. Then we bring them home and separate them into bassinets. As soon as they were out of those things and within eyesight of each other they were happy.

They slept together in one crib for a few months. (Our pediatrician was on board with this.) When they started showing signs of rolling over, we put them into separate cribs. The cribs were side-by-side. (The boys held hands through the cribs, so very adorable.)

1 crib or 2?

This is how they slept for the first few months.

Here’s my tip: If you are on a tight budget, and looking for the bare minimum to buy; one crib will suffice for a few months. (And don’t waste your money on bassinets!)

*Please keep in mind that I am not an expert, I am just sharing what worked for us.

Do you have any twin specific questions? Let me know, I would love to offer any knowledge I have obtained during this adventure.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Back to Basics, Menu Planning and Goal Setting

At the beginning of this blogging adventure, I used to post my weekly goals and menu plan, you know my to-dos. I stopped doing this because I felt it was monotonous and boring for anyone who did happen to read this blog.

After looking at my 30 by 30 list, and having an ‘I’m not getting done what I should get done’ feeling lately (not to mention “what’s for dinner” panic) I have decided to start posting my goals/menu again. Hopefully this can help my direction throughout the week. Thanks in advance for bearing with me!


  • Sunday- Crockpot Steak (used for quesadillas)
  • Monday- Leftovers
  • Tuesday- Mini Meatloaves (from the freezer)
  • Wednesday- Tacos (freezer/crockpot)
  • Thursday- Ginger Chicken (freezer)
  • Friday- Pizza
  • Saturday- (?) Spaghetti or Soup


  • Start cleaning/purging/organizing spare bedroom
  • 3 blog posts
  • Work on Etsy listings, at least 3
  • Start boys’ journals
  • 1 refashion

What are you having for dinner this week? (We LOVE new recipes around here!)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Where Did the Week Go? 365 update

Wow, this week flew! I had intentions of posting more, I even wrote posts- that’s where it ended. I guess life just got in the way (also explains the lack of progress photos today, sorry).

It seems that most of this week took planning, and determination (aka forcing myself to do something). For instance, Tuesday I had a root canal. This root canal was a little different than most, I’ll spare you the gory details- but the term “filet the gums” was used more than once. Everything turned out fine, just took some planning on my part, you know being deliberate. I crocheted in the morning, when I usually pick up the house. I also took my project with me, and utilized red lights and waiting room time. At least 30 minutes of crafting, CHECK!

Enough rambling, did I keep up the rest of the week?

  • 10th- 1 hour in sewing room
  • 11th- 1 1/2 hour in sewing room
  • 12th- 2+ hours sewing! (I didn’t get much sleep, if any the night before. I wanted to go to bed, but I forced myself to trek down the stairs, and get to work.)
  • 13th- crochet on and off throughout day, 45 minutes hand sewing
  • 14th- 1 1/2 hour in sewing room
  • 15th- knew I wouldn’t make it to my sewing dungeon, so crocheted 1 hour in morning before appointment, at red lights, and in waiting room.
  • 16th- 1 hour in sewing room
  • 17th- 1 1/2 hours in sewing room, 30 (ish) minutes crocheting
  • 18th- 45 minutes in sewing room, 30 (ish) minutes crocheting

I have found that crafting is becoming a habit. I am also feeling more creative and motivated in other areas of my life, a definite plus. I think I am developing a habit…

Have you been working on changing/developing a habit?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dear Bread Machine, I Was Wrong

Do you remember my bread making fails of the past? Probably not, I didn’t have too many visits then (I still don’t, but hey its getting better). If you want to laugh at my kitchen fails, check this and this out.

I wasn’t always a horrible bread maker, in fact I used to make really good bread. Using this same bread machine. Well, after the couple of fiascos mentioned above (plus a few undocumented ones) I called my once beloved kitchen appliance many bad names. This is why I am apologizing. The problem was the user, not the machine.

Why the change of heart? I tried this recipe (now one of my family’s favorite breads), followed all the tips, AND consulted my bread machine manual. I think my biggest problem was that my liquid (usually water) was too hot. Anyway, I have had so many delicious loaves of bread since then.

Here it is- Potato Bread SUCCESS!

Potato Bread Success

Bread Machine, I am sorry for my behavior. Thank you for your forgiveness.

Let me tell you, my household is thrilled that my bread machine and I have made up. I use it multiple times during the week for bread, rolls, sweets, pizza crust, etc. (That is a warning, more bread machine posts in the future.Winking smile)

Do you have any favorite bread machine recipes?

Friday, January 11, 2013

30 by 30, only 4 Months Left!

Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, I made a list, a list of thirty things I want to accomplish before I turn 30 (next May). This is not a crazy-exciting list. This is not a outrageous, adventurous bucket list. This is just a list of a few things that I have need to personally work on. Sorta a list to help corral the chaos.

Without further ado, here’s my updated list. (a strikethrough means completed):
  1. purge home, clear clutter {Ongoing. Seriously, will this ever be done?}
  2. make cleaning a habit {Ongoing, but being deliberate has helped a ton!}
  3. make recycling a habit {After a few visits to town council meetings, our town finally started curbside recycling in August!}
  4. scan pictures, organize pictures {Have not even touched this. To my defense, the desktop started deciding when it wants to work, and it is not very often. (Lame excuse, I know.)}
  5. organize recipes {Same result as #4}
  6. paint bedroom; decorate {Rearranged, and deep-cleaned/organized. Started thinking about colors…}
  7. paint living room; decorate {Picked a color, bought a sample, loved it. Need to remove wallpaper border at top of 12 foot wall, buy paint, and paint!}
  8. learn how to effective manage household, and time {I am happy to say that I am getting much better at this.}
  9. make wedding album {See #4}
  10. journal for the boys {Procrastinator! I will do this this week. I’ll tell you about it when I’m done.}
  11. journal for my husband {See #10}
  12. learn how to use my camera, and take more pictures {Ongoing, getting better.}
  13. have monthly date nights with my husband {Trying a new sitter tonight!}
  14. go on mini-vacation with hubby {We did go away overnight in September, and December. (not my idea of mini-vacation, but we will take what we can get!)}
  15. go on vacation with the family {Thanks to a wonderful Christmas gift last year we took the family to Great Wolf Lodge. This is probably going to have to suffice for this year.}
  16. read to the boys every day {I may have figured this out!}
  17. learn to/teach the kids to pray (and Lord's prayer, and Ten Commandments) {Am I a bad mom?}
  18. teach my step-daughter to sew and/or encourage her creative interests {Struggles here…}
  19. implement a budget {Nope}
  20. start nursing clinicals {Crossed off because I didn't get in this winter, hopefully in fall.}
  21. manage time better {Isn’t this the same as #8? Guess I know what I need to be working on!}
  22. get up early (like to start day by 6:00) {Boys are early risers. I am no means perfect, but so much better.}
  23. dress for my hubby more often (less jeans and t-shirts) {I am struggling in the colder season, but I am crossing it off because 1. I wore skirts/dresses most of summer and 2. hubby likes me in jeans and t-shirts.}
  24. style hair more, less ponytails {Since I made the cut, I have been better, not perfect, but better.}
  25. blog regularly {I think I need to make myself a schedule.}
  26. exercise regularly {You would not believe that one of my previous careers was a full-time fitness instructor and personal trainer.}
  27. craft through books; get rid of books not needed {I have not actually been crafting through books, but I have been getting rid of the ones that do not inspire my creativity.}
  28. craft through stash {Stash is still here, but getting smaller. The only materials I have bought have been project-specific.}
  29. make a dress, and wear it {May make more, but check this one out.}
  30. start selling on etsy {Been working on shop.}
  31. do a 365 project {10 days in of 365 days of Crafting for Cash.}
  32. have a (semi) handmade Christmas {did not finish all I aspired too, but did manage to make a few gifts.}
Wow! I have a lot to do in four months.

Time management seems to be a recurring theme. How do you manage your family, household, time, and creative aspirations? I need so much help in this area.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

365 days of Creating for Cash Update 1

Its ten days into 2013. Usually any resolutions I have made are long forgotten be now. What about my commitment to Create for Cash?

As you may remember from last week, I set a goal of Creating for at least 30 minutes every day for a year. Can I do it? So far, mostly, yup. Here’s a breakdown from the past nine days:

  • 1st- 1 1/2 hours in sewing room
  • 2nd- 1 1/2 hours in sewing room
  • 3rd- 1 hour in sewing room
  • 4th- 1 1/2 hour in sewing room
  • 5th- I had some housework that had to get done during naptime, so I crocheted while the boys were playing. (30 minutes +)
  • 6th- The boys wanted to party all night, so naptime also meant mommy naptime. Frogged dishcloth from yesterday, and started over. (30 minutes +)
  • 7th- 1 1/2 hours in sewing room
  • 8th- Took pictures, edited pictures, and started working on Etsy listings (talk about overwhelming!)
  • 9th- 1 hour in sewing room

smootiesncrafting 008

These are my (mostly) completed projects from this week, plus I have cut out a few in each pattern so they are ready for customization. It doesn’t look too impressive in photo; maybe I should have posted a picture of the stack waiting to be customized.

I have learned that ironing and cutting takes more time than anything. I also learned that although I love sewing and the final product, I truly enjoy the ironing and cutting process. Therapeutic of sorts.

I have also fallen into a routine that I enjoy. (You know me and routines. Smile) On the flipside, I still have to focus on being deliberate (see Saturday and Sunday).

I plan in the next week or two to discuss my routine (if it is still working), the how's and why’s of what I make, and my plans for other items.

What motivates you? How do you squeeze in time (or squeeze out productivity)?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Deliberate Reading

Note to self: Schedule haircuts…
Reading is important to me. As a child I was taught that reading is the best superpower one can possess. If you can read, you can do anything; fix a car, bake a cake, build a house, time travel, exotic travel, dream, deepen your relationship with God, anything is possible with a book.
Needless to say, our whole family enjoys reading. My boys even love books. All day long they are bringing a book to mama, and sitting down to listen to a story. The only problem is that they don’t stick around past once upon a time. They are up and on to something else.
This is frustrating for a mama like me (I tend to be a little too structured). One of my 30 by 30 goals is to read to the boys everyday. For the past year I have tried many different ways to read to my boys, with no success. Until I started being deliberate with our reading.
Inspired by Money Saving Mom, I decided to try something different- reading while they eat.
We love it! The boys are getting read to. They tend to eat better. The biggest bonus? They have been throwing less food. We usually get about 4 books read before their attention diverts to something else.
We (translation: mama) is getting a little tired of the same books. What are your favorite children’s books to read aloud?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Freezer Friendly Egg-Free Cranberry Orange Scones

Yup, I’m still plugging away at this egg-free business. To the delight of my family, things are starting to taste much better.
My latest accomplishment- cranberry orange scones. I used this recipe from Don’t Waste the Crumbs. Oh..these are absolutely delicious! The best part? I did not have to alter the recipe. Towards the end of the recipe is a variation for those who find “cutting in the butter” to be challenging. Instead of eggs and butter, use extra cream.
Let me tell you, these scones are so scrumptious! If you have some cranberries hanging out in your freezer, you need to make these scones! Now. Go ahead, mix everything up, I’ll wait. Stop back in before you put them in the oven, I’m going to save your hips a couple of pounds.
That was easy, huh? So, everything is mixed up, the oven is hot, and the scones are formed into balls. Now see how many there are? Is this enough, or too much? Be honest.
If you have too many you can freeze the extras. (See how we’re doing your hips a favor? Winking smile)
Take the extras, put them on a plate, cookie sheet, whatever you have handy. Pop that tray into the freezer for about an hour. You want to ‘flash freeze’ the scones so they don’t freeze together in one big glob. After an hour, put them in an airtight container. I use a freezer bag labeled with baking instructions.
When you are ready for another scrumptious breakfast or snack pull a few out of the freezer, and bake as normal. You may have to add a little time because they are frozen. But watch them! I only had to add an extra five minutes.
These tasted just as good, if not better after frozen. How about you? Do you freezer cook (or prepare)?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

365 Days of Creating for Cash

Remember that one of my 30 by 30 goals is to do a 365 project? I have been ruminating about this project for a while now. I want a project that I will feel fulfilled with. I need a project that I can actually do, not one that I fail at within the first week. I would like it if my project also met some of my other 30 by 30 goals, and put a big dent in my craft stash.
The hubby is really pushing me to sell my creations. He loves everything I make, and wants the rest of the world to enjoy it too. He can often be heard bragging (while toting around our boys), “Oh you like that, Theresa made it.”
It feels so good to have someone who believes in your talents and passions. It also makes me feel like crap that I have not made an effort in this area. I have this horrible habit of talking myself down before I even begin.
2013 is going to be different (I hope).
We are so fortunate that the boys take a 2 1/2 to 3 hour nap every day. Usually I use this time for housework, a shower, cooking, and wasting time on the computer. I have been working on revamping my routine. (Being deliberate.)
Cleaning: Most of the cleaning now takes place at night, after the boys go to bed. This has been a habit I have tried and tried to implement in the past. In the past I would convince myself that I was too tired for housework, leaving it for naptime. Now, I remind myself of the great feeling of waking up to a (semi) clean house.
Shower: This is the next area I need to work on. I want to get up earlier, and shower before hubby leaves for work. Lately the boys have been waking up (and partying) in the middle of the night, so I may find I have to add this to my nightly routine during this season of life.
Cooking: This may still be done during naptime. Although I am being more deliberate about prepping food ahead of time.
Computer: Whew…does anyone else have a problem with this time waster? I know I do! This is going to be a trial and error project for me, hopefully I can find an appropriate schedule.
What a list! On top of this I am committing to Creating for Cash. I am committing a minimum of 30 minutes a day. I would love to commit 2 hours, but I know me. I have to start small. Thirty minutes (minimum) of naptime will be devoted to making items for my (hopeful) etsy shop and summertime craft fairs.
So that’s it. (In a long post version.) 365 days of Creating for Cash. I will spare you the boring daily updates. I am shooting to post my progress once a week, ‘cuz I need the accountability.
How about you? Have you ever tried a 365 project? If so, what was it, and how long did you last?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome 2013!!


I hope you all had a happy holiday season! Ours was wonderful, busy, but wonderful. Seasons like these make me crave our routine.

I have been contemplating my goals for this year. One recurring theme seems to be routine. I am ready for a better daily routine, a regular cleaning routine, more routine family time, a crafting routine, I think you get it.

The last couple years I have read of New Year’s ‘words.’ The individual chooses a word to focus on for the year. This sounds much less intimidating than a resolution.

I have chosen a word. This word will be my focus for my time, my routine, how I use my resources.
My word is


Not a beautiful word, but a word that describes what I want to focus on this year. I want to be purposeful with my family, intentional with my time, slow to decide, and less uptight. I want to waste less. Waste less time. Waste less food. Waste less resources. I want to be deliberate.

Did you make resolutions, set goals, or choose a word for the new year? What are your tips for sticking to the plan?