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Story time: The best carbs I’ve ever had.

Once upon a time I discovered I had too many organic sweet potatoes lying around and not enough babies to eat them. I came upon a daunting recipe from Pinch My Salt and decided to become the baker because it really and truly is in my DNA.

It all started with two packets of yeast, bread flour ( who knew there was such a thing!), buttermilk ( which smells rancid but that means it’s all good), and my beautiful Kitchen-Aid mixer that gets very little use.

*Side note: I can’t believe I actually made this dough with my own two hands. Who am I ? What have I become? I used to sling boring stories to reporters and be a Pinot snob, now I bake bread? Apparently I have the time…

The dough was kneaded and formed and left to chill for a bit. While chillin’ like a villian it decided to become some rolls.

The dough doubled in size and was formed into little bundles of sweet goodness and left again to chill. This time it knew it was destined to become really good rolls. The best rolls they could be.

Then the dough walked into the oven and stayed there for a while contemplating on how it would attach itself permanetly to my thighs.

Out of the oven the rolls came  beautifully dusted with flour and longing to be alongside homemade onion soup and of course a Blue Moon seasoned with clementine. It was a lovely meal and they all lived happily ever after.

The End

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Get Your Thank You On…

The way I was raised, when you get a gift, you send a thank you note. In my family if you don’t send one it is as if you have committed a cardinal sin and must be penalized. ( i.e. no gifts next year) I think its important, it shows gratitude and is polite. Simply put. I don’t really care to receive them, but I do feel compelled to write them.

Now that the holidays have ceased we have a mountain of thank yous to write.  How can I get my almost-one-year old to write a note? Well, I can’t. He can express to me how much he loves the toys he received and every time I put on his adorable organic jammies he writhes around and says, ‘ OOoooooo!’ But I have been brainstorming a creative way to do notes this year.

Vintage Chica– Draw up a note with fill int he blanks! Love this idea

image from Vintage Chica

We opted for handmade ones. What can a one year old do? Handprints! Hooray!

Baby Handprints!Supplies:

Non- Toxic Paint

Paper

A Paint brush or craft sponge

A Baby

1) Seat child in a highchair  and adorn clothes you don’t mind painting in 🙂

2) Paint the child’s hand with paint and stamp away!

Tips: They aren’t going to come out perfect- your child is a baby 🙂 abstract is better anyways! 🙂

We included a little note on each card that said thanks for the gift etc and added Happy Valentine’s Day as they were red and white.


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My kid needs a big boy carseat. Can I get a hollaback?

The drama has begun as we are fast approaching the big ONE. My husband and I went to a large chain store that shall remain nameless ( because I fear that they won’t let us back in) and started our quest for the perfect, SAFE, and stylish big boy car seat. Easy right? WRONG. Brace yourselves, this is a tale…

We have been to this store at least one hundred times and pranced over to the carseat section to the high end seats. A small bird like woman began speaking ot us very fast and chirpy like. My husband looked at me as if to say, ‘ What is this woman talking about, I don’t understand her! S.O.S,’ ( translation, Save Our SON.) I quieted the woman down by saying, moreover, shouting, ‘ ALL SET, JUST LOOKING, THANKS!’ She then said something inaudible and walked away.

Car Seat

Cow Car Seat- LOVES image from smartmomma.com

If you have ever been to the car seat aisle its kind of like a row of cars just looking at you. They all have the little tags that say their features and price. Some have flashier labels that say, ‘ Super Soft Plushy,’ seriously, plushy? How old are you ? Others are cheapy looking just waiting for the next little tushy to fill the seat.

As new parents I will admit 99% of the time WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE ARE DOING. Juuuust winging it. Professional bullshitters. So when we embark on buying a new item for baby we research, do case studies and publish a full thesis to figure out the best possible option. But I feel like a bad parent when I am winging it purchasing a carseat, after all the child is supposed to be safe and built in cup holders can’t help in an accident. Right? ( I kid, I kid)

We tried four different seats none of which seemed to fit properly. I could put my arms in next to my sons legs even when the straps were pulled uber tight. We just couldn’t get the right fit.After speaking with THREE different associates no one had the right answer and we left with no seat and a cranky baby.

The moral of the story is we will be heading elsewhere for our seat….

I’ll be sure to update you on our progress…

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Back to Blogging…

Hello fellow readers, its been a while. OVER a month actually. As I pick bits of avocado off my jeans let me tell you: what a month its been. Christmas has come and gone. It was sad walking the clearance aisles of Target dodging broken ornaments with shattered dreams of becoming tree bound. I finally took down the xmas decor and replaced it with lovely valentine hearts.

My son managed to avoid an abundance of  BPA filled plastic toys which made my heart happy. The family gift this year, a MacBook. I am still learning how to use it. I can’t even figure out how to spellcheck, so I apologize for spelling mistakes; not grammar ones though- those are juuussst me.

As I have mentioned each year we do a handmade gift, it was supposed to be etched glass but it didn’t pan out this year due to bad timing on my part. We opted for lemon sugar scrub and pictures of our darling boy. It was a hit.

New Year’s is gone and past, again  we ask the question- what are your New Year’s Resolutions? Or moreover, what are you going to swear you will do then completely forget by Feb 1?  Last year I looked to being more positive- hahaha, and eliminating paper towels. That one actually stuck. As of this moment there is not a single paper towel in this house. Pretty good eh?

This year I am going to resolve to “getting active” ( no, I didn’t say get skinny, or diet, or workout.) I am also looking to blogging more and enrolling in school. My other is to eliminate waste, no more crazy purchases or trashed organic bean sprouts.  We shall see what comes of these aspirations.

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Need Inspiration?

How is your Operation Handmade Holiday going ? Be honest…

Yeah, mine not so good either. It’s ok! ( I have been trying to tame a crying baby all day.) I did make a hat though. Check it out at the ROBAY STUDIO blog tomorrow. I’ll come back and put up a link.

In any case we need some inspiration in our lives! SewMamaSew one of my fav blogs also has Handmade Holidays as a campaign on their site. They are offering dozens of the best tutorials for FREE! Some even include patterns 🙂 Be sure to check it out.

This is one of my favs from green is the new blue:

 

 

 

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Operation Handmade Holiday!

IMG_2323Operation Handmade Holiday has begun! As I prepare for the holidays this year  I  am taking the pledge to make more gifts than ever before.Yes you can go to a store and BUY things, but isn’t it better to make them ? More personalized and of course cheaper!

I will be chronicling my handmade travels on both  this blog as well as the ROBAY STUDIO blog as well . From soaps to crocheted ornaments ( pictured  to the right)  we will be making lots of gifty items for everyone on your list.

Quick Tip: I usually start by making a list of everyone on my ‘nice’ list 😉  I then sort them by groups, families, single folks, work buddies, kids etc. If you have 5 kids to buy for ask yourself, can I make them all something similar, say crayon roll ups or smock aprons ?  Lots of ladies to buy for  this year? If making soaps and spa gifts try bigger batches to save time!

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DIY Wreath!

The magic of a glue gun and some patience saves oodles of time. Skip the pricey store bought wreathes and opt for spending some time being crafty.

The wreath at the end of this post was made for under $5. Materials were purchased on sale and I also used a twig wreath from last year.

Step 1: Grab a twig wreath as your base. They are super cheap and come in a variety of sizes. Purchase fake berries, small gourds,  leaves or even colored buttons for  vintage look.

Step 2: Pick a starting point and start building your wreath. It is best to start with the larger leaves or flowers. Place smaller boughs and gourds in the bare spots. If you are worried about gluing everything down, try a couple different positions for your materials first then glue.

Step3: Glue guns ARE your friend! I have two different sized glue guns. Depending on the project they retail for under $12. ( check the paper for coupons both Michaels and AC Moore have coupons weekly for 10%-30% off full priced merchandise.)

The key to using the gun is a allocating a dollop and twisting the “pull” or glue reminisce until it releases from your material. Its all in the wrist and it takes practice.

Step 4: If you feel that you made a mistake pull the piece off the wreath after it dries, scrape off the glue and start again! When the season is over you can either store wreathes in a wreath box, or garbage bag in the basement.

I like to remove all matieral from wreathes and pull off glue at the end of the season and recycle materials for next year. I store each season’s matierals in labeled sandwich bags and place them with the season’s decor for storage.

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Slight addiction starting…

Ok, confession time. I have a slight addiction starting… TO FELTING! Ugh my god I love it. I have made two hats one for Bay one to sell. Check em’ out:

IMG_1960

This one is for sale. I think it would be a 3-6 mos but I need to try it oun Bay to be sure.

IMG_1964

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Top Ways We Save Moola.

One of my favorite blogs did a blog post about cutting down on waste. It inspired me to talk about the top 5 ways we save money in our home. I hope this encourages you to share your tips!

As I have now been home for 8  months( wow,  has it been 8 months ?)  I have had the opportunity to reconnect with home life and really take the time to take a look at our budget.

Top 5 Ways We Save Money

1) Green Cleaning:

About a year ago I purchased a mega bottle of Simple Green cleaner for my home. I am still working on it. I think the bottle cost me $8? I use a vinegar and water mixture for sterilizing toys. I also have a few Seventh Gen, Sun & Earth and Caldrea products from sales and coupons.

We have put a serious dent in our paper towel buying by using rags made of my husband’s old undershirts. Cut em’ up, bleach em’ out and use em’. This was one of our New Year’s resolutions and we really don’t miss them. I do keep a roll in the house for puppy accidents or guests ( even though I always offer up a clean rag for them. )

2) Cooking

We cook every night. If we don’t, we don’t eat. Easy as that. I can not remember the last time we ordered out. It’s difficult cooking for a vegetarian, a meat eater and a baby eating solids but somehow I get it done. Cooking in not only saves loads it’s much healthier in the long run.

I make a menu every two weeks ( conincides with paychecks) and plan what we are going to make. I use leftovers and try not to be wasteful.

If you do opt to eat out try Restaurant.com for discounted giftcards.

3)redbox:

Top movies for $1 a night- enough said. Enter code BREAKROOM or DVDONME for free rentals. ( FYI- They only work once per card.) Sign up for their weekly newsletter to recieve  more free codes.

4) Cloth Diapers:

As you know we cloth diaper. It doesn’t take up as much time as one would think. I do a load every 2-3 days. I was using regular, non-green ( gasp!) laundry detergent but I recently switched to a natural homemade blend. ( Just call me Mrs. Duggar) a great recipe recommended by a fellow mom.

The investment in cloth diapers was a bit hairy but we do save by not having to purchase as many disposeables. I keep one pack of disposables in the house just incase we run out of cloths and its laundry day.

One way to save on creating your diaper stash is buying diapers secondhand. I would say that we have apromixatley 40% secondhand cloths. Check your local Craigslist or DiaperSwappers.

5) Making Gifts:

I always say my husband is the luckiest SOB I have ever met because he has not had to purchase a gift for anyone in the last 7 years. For Christmas last year we gave out hand stamped muslin cedar bags and small glass herb jars filled with organic French herbs.  They were a hit and were very inexpensive to assemble.The year before we took Mason jars and planted paperwhite bulbs with river rocks. Everyone loved that gift.  T Kids birthdays I make T-Shirts with cupcakes or bibs from ROBAY STUDIO.

BONUS) Water, water everywhere…. DRINK IT.

We have saved hundreds by elimnating juice and soda from our house! We drink water all the time. Over the summer we did splurge on some lemonade here and there but for the most part water is number one. No calories and best of all its virtually FREE. We installed a PUR water filter on our tap. Opt for the one that takes out 99% of pharmaceuticals.

6) Coupons ( We call them ‘Coups’ to make them sound a little more fun 😉

My mother did coupons when I was a wee little one and I always dreaded Sunday because she used to make me cut them. ( Can’t wait til Bay is old enough!) I recently have rediscovered the power of these magical pieces of paper. You cut them out and it saves you DOLLAR BILLS. Really they do.

The kicker is you have to get coups for what you actually use. I just put ink in our printer and have started printing them online. It’s important to call your stores and see if they accept them. Most do.

Last week I did a test to see how much using printed coups could really save me. Here’s the loot:

IMG_1907Cost for this shopping trip: $7.08

(2) Healthy Choice Meals priced at $2.50 used two $2 off coups=.50$ each

Nature Source Bathroom Cleaner priced at 2.99 used one Target $1 off coup + a manufacturers coup for $1 off. =$.99

Up & Up Target brand disenfecting wipes priced at 1.99 used a Target $1 off coup =$.99

* Note I usually don’t buy these but the world has gotten even germier. I keep them in the car and use after the library and grocery shopping.

Whole Wheat Pasta Priced at 1.19 used one$1 off coup=$1.38 for two!

Chef Michael’s Dog Food Products, used a few buy one get one coups plus a few free coups.

* I usually buy Trader Joes canned but these were a great deal!

Silk Soy Milk priced at $2 used a $.50 coup=$1.50

As you can see I saved a lot of $$$. I am so excited to do grocery shopping this week with our printed coups!

Now I ask you , what are your tips? How does your family or household save cash?

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Upping the Creative Anty

Still sick. Poor little Bay is sick too! We had a good weekend though, made the most of it. Swimming has begun again and they are a bunch of energy filled  little ones!

We had the opportunity to go to Tower Hill in Boylston. They were celebrating one of their directors I believe and admisson was FREE! We were so excited to take Bay there. Here are some photos from the trip:

IMG_1846 Beautiful Fountain in the Atrium

IMG_1850Cherub Statue in the main Garden

IMG_1875Fountain Sculpture

IMG_1881Buddha’s Hand

IMG_1851Top: Meyer Lemon Tree Bottom: Lime Tree

As you can see it is a beautiful place. These few photos don’t do it justice. The weather was amazing.

I finally finished some shower gifts. Can’t post photos as the mom to be reads the blog 😉 but I made the happy couple some beautiful much needed accessories for baby. Still shoe making but slowly. Things have been moving very slowly the past few weeks.

We finally put ink in our printer and I will now become a complete coupon whore. I have been dabbling with the  local paper but printables, well they offer another world of couponing. I have been reading a number of blogs on the subject- most based out west, coincidence? I think not.  I have been learning about how to properly shop at CVS, Walgreens and all the other stores. I think I get it and over the next few weeks I am determined to get more for my dollar while still maintaining our healthy eating style.  I’ll keep you posted…

Off to bed. Lets pray my cough is gone by tomorrow.

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