21 January, 2013

I must've done something good: My kids like cleaning

 I'm not talking about true cleaning. I'm talking about, here's a paper towel with a spritz of Pledge on it go and wipe things down.

But the point is, if I want a really light attempt at dust free lower shelves and couch cushions- It's taken care of!

The next step is to teach them how to vacuum. I'll be the smartest mom ever.

19 January, 2013

How to quit spending so much freaking money

It's not easy to budget or live under the cloud of fear that come with not living with some kind of budget. Lets be honest. If you're that broke, you quit looking at bills, you quit answering the phone, you spend money to feel like you're not broke. Even the idea of trying to tackle the issue makes you nauseous .

So, clearly you're not ready to get your shit together and really address the issue. Here are a few things you can do in the meantime.

1. Eat more soup.
      I big crock pot full of any of your favorite soups can last for 3 days. A dinner and two lunches. That's two $9.00 drive through extravaganzas eliminated.

2. Never light a room you're not in. Seriously- it makes no god damn sense to leave the light on in your closet, bathroom, or hallway if you're not in it. Even if you'll be right back- just turn off the lights.

3. Quit eating in your car. No chips, no burgers, no fries. I bet you if you stop eating in your car, you'll drop 5 lbs and save $30 a month.  That's 60lbs and $240 a year.......

4. Invite your friends over to your place on a Saturday night. 3 frozen pizzas and a case of beer is still way cheaper than a $75 bar tab ($75 is the minimum for good and drunk still right?)
      You'll save the gas money, you will not pass out on the street, and you won't have to contend with the obnoxious bachelorette parties that come through constantly.

05 January, 2013

Best Damn Pot of Ham and Bean Soup Ever (I shit you not)

I'm weak for a good bowl of soup. If it can be eaten with a spoon I swoon. As a busy (occasionally lazy) mom, I appreciate a pot of food that last for days.

We all like Chicken Noodle, Chili, and some people (not me) love Tomato soup. But my personal favorite is Ham and Bean Soup. I don't do anything way out and wacky with my recipe. I stay pretty close to your run of the mill soup. But, damn it is perfect every time.

This recipe does take 4 hours of simmer time. Plus the overnight soaking of your beans. So plan ahead, don't fail me now.

I also make a BIG batch. So get yourself a big soup pot.

 Best Damn Ham and Bean Soup:
  •  2-4 c. of "16 Bean Soup" beans
  • 8-10 cups water for boiling
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 Med. Onion, diced
  • 3-4 carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 lbs ham steak, cubed
  • sm. can of diced jalapeƱos- If you're using fresh, I'd go with 1 jalapeƱo 
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2-3 tbsp. Salt, pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1-2 tsp. Paprika

  1. Soak 2-4 cups of "16 Bean" soup beans for at least 24 hours. Change out the water once or twice in that time- I swear it means less gas in the end. 
  2. In your big soup pot, add all of the ingredients.
  3. Bring it to a boil and what ever temperature you like.
  4. Let it simmer for about 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Leave the lid off or half on for the whole time. Add more water if you get nervous about the boil off.

Pretty simple but with fantastic taste results.  

26 December, 2012

Cloth Diapering: A Year in Review

My baby girl is now 18 months old and we've been cloth diapering since day 1. We've come a long way since that fateful day in July 2011. I love my diapers, I've learned to love diaper laundry. I love how cute my daughter's butt is compared to other baby's plain disposables. When we started I was committed to playing the field, not buying into one style 100%.

That worked great for us. Every baby has a different shape and grows at different rates. I found that at those awkward growth stages, we stuck to prefolds and covers. When she filled out in the thighs we had great success with one size pockets. Now that she's about 22 lbs I find we lean towards fitted AIOs.

eBay, Craigslist, and Consignment

Buying on Ebay, at diaper consignment sales, and off Craigslist offered us the best prices. Locally, my favorite diaper store Top To Bottom Baby have a bi-annual diaper consignment sale called Fluff Again, they've even expanded into Kansas City. Not only could I cycle through the dud diapers and make some of my money back, but I got the chance to find fully prepped diapers I knew I liked. As long as you're willing to take the gamble, Ebay is awesome (and addictive).  I know there's a lot of debate about the cheap Chinese pockets you can get on Ebay. They are knock-offs and hurt the American market. yackety shmakety- I bought about 10 of them and we STILL use about 5 of them regularly. They didn't fit right way, and they aren't the kind of diaper I'd use if we were going to be out. But they are great at home, day time diapers.  On several of the other more 'respectable' brand name diapers I've purchased on Ebay, I've more than made my money back in resale.
         The key is responsible shipping. DON'T GUESS! Weigh your diapers and price accordingly.

Craigslist has also been a cornucopia of goodness. I got 10 Kissaluvs size 2 and 9 Kissaluvs doublers for $50. Most of them had never even been used, not even prepped.

Personal Favorites!

hands down, I love my Swaddlebees Simplex 2.0 fitted diapers. I've had 4 and currently have 2. They're a bit pricey for my budget, but totally worth it. Side Snap diapers are the bees knees, seriously. They are trimmer, and you can size the waist and thighs differently.  Some pants don't fit exactly right with the fluffy butts, but side snap diapers tend to fit in there a bit better.