Triple Clicks

Monday, December 28, 2015

DIY Essential Oils Storage - Guest Post

I have used essential oils for several years now. I have gotten oils from different companies, and I've had times where I use them more than other times. I also use tinctures (some homemade, some purchased), homeopathics, herbs in capsule form, and random other natural cures (like raw honey for example). I have a strong passion to avoid pharmaceuticals, and my family hasn't needed a doctor, other than for stitches [eeeeek] for over 5 years now!
I recently signed up with Young Living Essential oils, and fell in love with the quality of their oils over what I had previously been using! I could tell a HUGE difference, in the smell and in how well they worked. But as I looked for how to store my oils, I was having a lot of trouble, as everything is SO expensive. So, what's a mama to do? Pinterest - of course. What else? Only I wasn't coming up with much that didn't require power tools, and as much fun as those are,  I wasn't in the mood to go ask hubby or my dad for their "toys". I just wanted something I could do, in my home, without their ... errrr.... "Help" (??) yeah. Their help. ... ok, well, anyway, I wanted something that I could do on my own.

So I kept searching. Pinterest now adds pins that it thinks you may like - so of course there were some "off topic" - which is EXACTLY where I found my inspiration! (Have I mentioned how much I love Pinterest?!) So a post for "lipstick storage" popped up - and while the title had me skimming past, the photo caught my eye so I clicked the link. It showed how to use cardstock to make dividers in a drawer for lipstick. I thought, ok, I'm totally adapting this and using it for my oils!
Next, I scavenged the house - I'm good at THIS,  partly because I can't seem to figure out how to throw crap away ... ... I'm not a hoarder, but I hoard some things some times. .. Anyway.... I found a shoebox, and then I cut off the sides of a box that was bound for the trash bin, I got out my rotary cutting mat and my craft knife and set to work, having no real clue as to what I was doing.

I started my daughter with the craft paints and the shoebox - she's my artist.









And I started in on the cutting the dividers. My son decided to help.... "help" (?) yeah. Help.




It really was quite simple. And I impressed myself.  Just measure your oil bottles - for me I didn't measure the largest I have (I buy lemon oil in 4 oz bottles and lavender in 2 oz bottles, and I have some repurposed 2 oz bottles that I've used for my homemade blends, with carrier oils - pre mixed, to just grab and use! Wonderful for my "use on the chest for congestion" blend) ... Back to the point - after measuring, you can mark how large you want each section to be. I made mine 1 1/2 inches, but if you only use 15ml or 5 ml bottles you may want yours to be smaller.
Then measure how tall your bottles are and decide if you want half of them in the divider, or the whole thing, and if you're measuring for multiple bottle sizes, you may want to use your smallest bottle for this size. This will be how wide to cut your dividers. Then the slots will be 1/2 way up each piece.



After I fit them all together to make sure they worked, I painted. Things are so much cuter with a bit of craft paint, don't you think? Well. I do.
(I found 1 of the side pieces under everything as I cleaned up -- I might go back and paint it to match. I think my creativity may be done for awhile though lol)


  (please ignore the background *cringe*)




 (again with the background *eeeeek*)




Didn't Sierha do an excellent job painting?! I knew she would!!




(ugh .... won't even ask again that you ignore that background :-) )


Now I need to order some labels, so I can find my oils... because now I can't see the side of the bottles. A few different companies have these for sale - I even saw some on Amazon.


So, for now at least, I have all of my oils in one spot. I do keep getting more oils, though, so I'm sure I'll need another one sooner rather than later.



Thursday, December 17, 2015

Saving Money on Christmas

So many people have money issues around this time of year and we are no exception. So here's a few tips on saving money over Christmas. 

-Save up during the year.  This seems like a no brainer, right? I know it's easier said than done when you are living paycheck to paycheck, but if you can even save $5 a paycheck through the year, that will give you a good head start on money for presents or extras during the holidays.  Many banks have a 'Christmas account' for this very reason.   Some people will buy the presents throughout the year and stash them somewhere. Either way you choose, it will make it so the entire amount isn't hitting you all at one time. 

-Take advantage of the sales.  While I have to admit, the sales seem to be getting worse each year,  you can still get some usefulness out of them.  We had our toy list and went shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday for the presents.   

-Consider Alternatives.  Instead of buying something brand new from Toys R Us or another store, check Ebay.  Keep an eye on Amazon sales-they had some great ones leading up to Black Friday this year.  Instead of buying the name brand, look for a different brand that is just as good. While I know this won't work with all the things (Transformers are huge in our house right now-got a good thing to buy an off brand, been there, done that), there are some things it will work with.  Instead of an iPod, consider Sony brand.  I have a Sony mp3 player and LOVE it-especially for 1/3 of the cost.  For computers or other electronics, consider looking for the equivalent in an up and coming brand (I bought a Toshiba computer YEARS ago before many people used them at a fraction of the cost they are now).   If somebody on your list loves crafts, wait for the sales at your favorite craft store, I'm told Hobby Lobby had some great sales store wide and JoAnn's always has SOMETHING on sale.  Also consider homemade gifts, depending on the gifts and what you have on hand, this might not always be cheaper-but it can definitely be more personalized! 

-Don't forget about the dollar stores!  While we didn't get the main gifts from the dollar stores, we are utilizing them for the stocking stuffers.  

-Don't underestimate the power of memories.  We didn't have a lot of presents when I was young. Christmas especially was never something my parents went all out on like my friend's families.. but I cherish the memories we made instead of the things we got.  Making cookies with mom, driving around looking at lights, singing Christmas carols, decorating the tree.... It's the little things they will remember, not the stuff. 

And most importantly (for your checkbook anyway)

-MAKE A BUDGET.  Decide on a number, whether it's an overall or per kid, decide how much you can afford to spend and choose the presents within that price. The past years we've done $20-$25 per kid, then a little more for us... For the most part, we are both in on finding the presents for each other. We are both practical people and want something we can use so it works for us.  Our stocking stuffers are the only surprise this year lol.   Next year we have decided we will make an overall budget (and save up during the year) and stay within that number.  The older kid toys do cost a little more, and babies or toddlers are just as satisfied with what nobody else is playing with after they get their new toys as they are with the box and wrapping paper.  


I hope these tips help somebody.  Have a Merry Christmas!

~Tabitha 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas Stockings

Woohoo! Got two stockings done!  I started last January or February with Eva's, then went on to Andrew's. I'm now working on crosstitching the front part of Grace's.  We bought the fabric, which is just a Christmas red cotton for the backings when we bought the pattern book and Aida cloth. I did forget to buy red thread, but I have maroon, so figured it would work just fine. 

So here's how I did the stocking part of the stocking. 



Two down! Five to Go! 



 This is the outline to tell me what to cross stitch where.  I added 1/4 inch to it for seam allowance, which I didn't end up needing, so when I get Grace's down, I'll not do that. 



This is the finished crossstitched design.  I added a 1/4 inch seam allowance before I cut, with Grace's I'll add a half inch. 



I put my fabric and my aida cloth right sides together pinned and sewed all but the top edge.


 Then I took my zig zag scissors and trimmed the extra red fabric so there wasn't as much in the seams when I turned it right side out. 



 The back half of the stocking, I did a rolled hem to stop the fraying since my sewing machine doesn't do a zig zag stitch. 




 Then again I pinned the right sides together and sewed around the edge.  I added some lacy ribbon for the hook part for when I hang them. 




 I was using the edge of my foot on my machine to make sure the seam was even all the way around.



And here we are.  I did the hook backwards on Andrew's, but it should work just fine. 

Now all we need is command hooks to hang them on the wall. :) 

~Tabitha

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Baby Sewing List

Since I'm about half way done with this pregnancy, I'd say it's about time I start on my sewing list.  

So here goes my list of what needs done at least, along with a few links I've saved on Pinterest for patterns. 

-Make the baby quilt.  I do have some material picked out for this, but I'm still on the the hunt through my scraps for more.  This is going to be my first real quilt I've made, so things could get a little interesting. 

-Make prefold diapers.  I have an awesome friend that sews (much more experience than I am, so she is helping me) she already made a bunch of diapers for me from this pattern..  This pattern will use up a lot of the old clothes we have sitting around that nobody wears anymore.  I already have the covers, but my diapers fell apart with Grace and the prefolds or flats fit a little newborn butt a lot easier than the All In Ones I currently use.  I'm shooting for 4 dozen, that will make sure I have around two days worth. 

-Make nursing pads.  For this, I'll either enlist the help of my friend, or take the stuff to my mom's.  Guess we'll see how the winter goes.. A zig zag stitch on a machine is a must, and as much as I love my old one, it just doesn't do the job.  I've got a pattern pinned, but I know I already have on printed out from Hillbilly Housewife blog that I love.  I made two dozen when I was pregnant with Grace, but they seem to have gone the way of socks in the dryer-nobody knows!!! So here's the basics... You want three layers of flannel, one layer of fleece.  Take a cereal bowl, lay the top side down and trace around it.. then make a pie shaped cut out of it (this will contour it and also give you scraps for stuffing homemade stuffed animals or a pillow).  You want to put all four pieces together and zig zag the 'pie' ends together first, make sure you get them all.  Then zig zag around the edge and you're good to go.  This may not seem like much, but I had to really leak to soak through.  I'm gonna make another two dozen of these, because I leak, and I can never have enough nursing pads. :) 

-Make Nursing Bras. Yes, you read that right. But no, I won't show you how lol.  I have attempted this, many times in fact and they never come out... So I'm sending this project to my friend.  Because she looked at the instructions and said 'oh that's easy'. LOL  So I'm buying regular, comfy bras, sending her my stretched out and broken nursing bras for the hardware and letting her deal with it lol!! Here's the pattern, though. 

-Make Nursing Tanks.  Call me crazy, but I'm going to try it anyway. lol  I have a ton of tank tops sitting in a box.. I much prefer to be covered and not have to worry about showing skin-really the only time I do layers constantly is when I'm nursing.  I have on boughten nursing tank and I LOVE it... So here's hoping.  It's really the same method as the nursing bra-except I'll have to buy a package of those fasteners. 

-Make Post Partum Pads.. Now, I do have some disposables that I will probably use the first few days, but I don't see them making it past there.  I LOVE my light days, and once I figured out what I was doing, they were easy peasy.  I already have a pattern cut out, just need to dig through the scraps and find the correct material (cotton, flannel and maybe a layer of fleece). Here's the pattern I'll be going off of as far as layers. 

A few things for fun, if I have  time and material. 

-Make cloth wipes.  I already use towels, but something is just cute about having 'fancy' wipes lol.  Yeah, I'm weird.  Here's a pattern. 

-Make some baby toys. Now this one, I have a little more time as baby won't need toys right away.. But I've been seeing this pattern for awhile and keep wanting to do it. 


That's everything on my Pinterest board, so that must be my whole list, right? LOL  I have to finish Christmas stockings before I try that though.  

Are you sewing anything right now? Let me know in the comments.

~Tabitha 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Coconut Popcorn Chicken

Coconut Popcorn Chicken

I found a recipe on Pinterest... so used that as a guideline and combined it with my previous recipe.. IT IS GOOD, let me tell ya.  The kids are leaving little to no leftovers.  Usually the package of 6 chicken breasts from Sam's gives us a gallon and a half of baggies of baked chicken, I barely have half a bag full after two days of cooking. :) 





I chopped the chicken into bite size pieces, then marinated. 
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablepsoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder

Then came my 'breading'.  
Half a bag of coconut flakes (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic
2 tablespoons onion
I ran out of coconut after about half of the chicken, so just used flour instead-still good! 

 All breaded and ready for oven!

Bake at 390 for about 16 minutes, turning halfway.  One pan, I didn't get the pieces separated enough so it took a few extra minutes. Just make sure you check it before you take it out if you are worried it isn't done. 


For freezing and reheating: I let the pans cool, then placed the whole pan in the freezer for 15 minuts to flash freeze.  Once they were cold, I dumped it in a ziploc bag and put back in the freezer. The first freezing makes sure they won't stick together.. To reheat, throw in the microwave for a few minutes or the oven for 10 minutes at 400. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Shopping Trip 11/19 and A few Recipes

I cannot even begin to express how much I wish Aldi's was open... but it's not.. so Hyvee and Sam's is who I have to deal with.  I'm also grabbing a few things from our local store this time, because of the price.  And we are getting honey from a local beekeeper...because we need honey and local is best. :D 

I'm over budget for a few reasons this month... We need oxi clean for the laundry, my homemade stuff just isn't cutting it-so that's an extra $15.  We are taking advantage of HyVee's buy a ham get a turkey free deal, while it's a lot of meat for around $20-it's still an extra expense.   Of course the special Thanksgiving meal is costing a little more because I'm making things that aren't normal...and I want shrimp, and cinnamon rolls to eat while the parade is on.  We are also doing a small order from Azure Standard, so that's adding to it, too.  

So all things put together and I think I heard the checkbook gasp then fall down from fainting. 

We are trying more new recipes than normal.  A few venison roast recipes along with coconut shrimp with sauce and coconut popcorn chicken.  

I found both of the coconutty recipes on Pinterest, and they looked good. :D I've really been craving popcorn chicken lately, but I can't use the recipe we love because it calls for egg dip which Grace can't eat. But this coconut popcorn chicken sure sounds good. 

Baked Coconut Shrimp with Tropical Fruit Dipping Sauce
Original Recipe Found At Live Love Pasta
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deviened
1 cup cornstarch
2 egg whites
2 cups shredded coconut
1 cup orange marmalade
1/4 crushed pineapple 
juice of half a lime
Preheat oven to 375. Whip the whites into stiff peaks.  Set up an assembly line with raw shrimp, corn starch, egg whites and coconut. Dip the shrimp into the corn starch and coat well, egg whites then coconut. Place on a rack on a baking sheet and bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown. While baking whisk together the marmalade, lime juice and crushed pineapple. 

Now I am going to change this a little... The shrimp is just going to be coated in just coconut and the original recipe calls for peach-mango marmalade, but I did see a recipe using orange.  The rack under shrimp will help it get crispy all the way around and you won't have to worry about turning it.  

Popcorn Chicken
Original Recipe Found At Brittany Angell
2-3 cups Unsweetened Shredded Coconut Flakes
3 Tablespoons each of garlic and smoked paprika
1 pound meaty chicken pieces cut up
dash of salt
Preheat oven to 350
Cut the chicken. In a bowl combine the coconut flakes, spices and sat. A handful at a time, add the raw chicken to the coconut flake breading. Toss until each piece is well covered. 
Place breaded chicken on a dry baking sheet. (Do not coat with oil.) Place into oven and bake 45-55 minutes until chicken is cooked through and the breading is golden. Toss popcorn chicken a few times to make few it get crispy all the way around (or just use the baking rack).  

Another recipe... We always do ham for Thanksgiving-we just aren't turkey people. So I buy a bone in ham, throw it in the crock pot the night before to marinade with about a cup of vinegar, 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 cup of honey.  Put the crock in the pot the next morning as I'm making breakfast and it's done by lunch time leaving the stove and oven free to cook the rest of the meal.  


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Hot Cocoa Mix!

'Tis the season for cocoa! Come on, you know you want some! :D 

My mom always made a dry mix when I was a kid, and now I'm making it, too. While I know there are healthier options to put in the mix than what I do, and I will let you in on the ones I know of, I prefer this. It's cheap, easy and yummy. 


(excuse the grater in the background, I was taking a break from shredding) One of those creamer containers is the acutal creamer, the other is what I use to store the cocoa mix

Hot Cocoa Dry Mix
5 cups powdered milk
1 1/2 cup creamer
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup (1 8 oz container) of baking cocoa


Now obviously, you can forgo the powdered milk and just do the rest, heating up milk instead of water when you want a cup of cocoa.  I like the creamer (we usually keep plain, non dairy creamer in the house, so use that) because it adds a little flavor and thickness to it.  If you use baking cocoa, you want the sugar... I've never tried the Hershey cocoa powder, so don't know if that would be sweeter than the store brand?  In place of baking cocoa, you can also use carob powder.. This is what my mom uses as she's allergic to chocolate.   

Now, how much you use, depends on how strong you want your cocoa. It always takes me a few cups making it to remember how strong I want it...Then I have to readjust after hubby wants some because he likes it stronger lol. 

Something else going on around here. I'm shredding cheese, a ton of cheese it seems lol.  I bought a block of parmesan last month and since I'm making lasagna today, I had to get it shredded. Sore arm! And I still have mozarella and cheddar to shred! 


Enjoy your cocoa! 
~Tabitha 


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Things Around Here and a Recipe!

To say we've been a little crazy around here is a severe understatement.  

The kids and I spent some extra time at my parents a few weekends ago.. Had lots of fun and made peppernuts-an old family recipe that is a blast to make with kids, trust me, you'll want the help. 

We brought a flu bug home, thankfully it was just the girls and I and only lasted a few days.  Then grocery shopping right after we got better.  My stomach has had a few issues recovering from that. 

I'm also combating morning sickness (Baby Hidalgo due in April! YAY).  So finding things I can eat lately are challenging.  My usualy remedies are not working this time and it's leaving me a little puzzled.  I'm usually fine eating what I'm craving and being done... But no, this baby decided that wasn't going to work. :p lol. So it seems my go-tos are pizza and tomato soup.  But hey, it works. I also have Morning-Ease herbal pills from SolarRay and Papaya Enzyme to help.  

The kids are back in the swing of school.  We are working our way through the alphabet, on letter J this week.  I'm trying to think of ways to make the letter writing fun for my five year old, he's not much of a writer.  I simplified from my original plans and we are incorporating chalk boards instead of doing everything on paper and playing some board games.  

I'm still working on Christmas stockings, have the cross stich part done on two, now I need to do the sewing part so they are ready to hang next month. We'll see if I can get another done before Christmas.   I have to make pajamas for the kids and slippers from the scraps of the fleece.  

We are working on establishing a cleaning routine, something I've never been great at it, but I think it will help my anxiety level if I can figure something out.  I'm trying to pick an area of the house and do that a day out of the week.. Plus the typical and daily laundry and dishes.  

The weather has turned colder here so we are wearing sweaters and not going outside as much (where'd my sanity go again?).  It's definitely cocoa and hot tea season.  YUMMY. :D  My favorite.  

Onto the promised recipe. This has been passed down for at least three generations on the German side of my family.  Trust me, you'll want kiddo help to make the cookies. :) Makes it go a lot faster and they'll have fun. 
Fair warning-the 'anise' flavoring is the same flavoring as black licorice.. Personally, I HATE black licorice but LOVE these cookies. Also, this recipe makes 3-4 GALLONS of bite size cookies. 


Peppernuts (Pfefferneusse) 
3 cups brown sugar
3 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 scant tablespoon anise
1 cup shortening or butter
1 teaspoon each of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, coriander (or       cardamon), nutmeg
1 tablespoon baking powder 
About 5 lbs of flour

Soften shortening, cream in sugars, mix in the rest. Then add the flour. It will be almost as stiff as bread dough and require your hands to work in all the flour. You don't want it to stick to your hands, but more flour can be added and will be needed later-probably a cup or two.  
Chill for a couple of days.  
(Now comes the fun part, and the part where you want help!)  Roll out the dough and cut in small pieces.  How we do it, is we sprinkle flour on the table or cutting board-whatever you are using. Work a chunk of the dough soft (treat it like you would sugar cookie dough, get out a little at a time then put the rest back for a bit), roll it out like play dough in about 1/2 inch diameter 'strings'.  Take a table knife and cut in about 1/4 inch long bites.  
Bake at 375 about 10 minutes.  They will be brown on the outside but nice and soft on the inside.  


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How I Make Money From Home

I keep seeing these posts on how to make money from home.. they give you all these great ideas, but I have to be honest, not many work for me.  

You've seen the ads on my blog, but in order to get paid, enough people have to click... So I would love to say that writing gets me paid, but it doesn't.. 

I have tried many different sites, from a transcriptionist site, to a secret shopper site-but apparently I don't have the stuff it takes for those. So for now, I just stick with survey sites (yes, the links here will make me money if you join and get to so many points)...  While it's not big money, it helps a little.  So I'll share with you my favorites.  

Vindale Research, there are some surveys you get through them but they are mostly a trial and review company.. Meaning you pay a low price for something (we've done coffee and books) and you get paid for the review you provide.. Yes, that requires money out of pocket the first time around, but you get paid quicker doing the product reviews than just the surveys. To get paid, you have to get to $50.. I haven't gotten there yet, so I can't tell you how quick it is, but my husband has gotten paid twice from them so it is legit. http://tryvindale.com/ViowMkJy
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Mommy Talk Surveys is one of my favorites, but it does take awhile to get to the thresholds. They have a lot of different options for payout and it is strictly a survey site.  I've done it a few different ways, $50 paypal and $25 amazon gift card... Both ways it takes them about 6 weeks to get the payment to you... the $50 I hit about once a year, $25 about twice a year, but it really does depend on how much time you are willing to give to surveys. No referral link here, but if you want to give it a shot the website is www.mommytalksurveys.com

Inbox Dollars is really my favorites because there's many different ways to earn and they even have some free stuff available.. There's surveys, product trials, discounts to buy, internet searches and paid emails. You have to get to at least $30 to cash out with them and they send a check or load it onto a prepaid card which you keep around for next time.  http://www.inboxdollars.com/?r=ref13994113

Bing is also one of my favorites.  I get about $5 from them every month.  Bing, you search. That's it. On the computer, you can search up to 30 searches a day and 10 searches on the phone if you have a smart phone. Plus they send out emails with bonus searches and have different opportunities to earn extra each week.  While their cash out options are limited, we find a lot of benefit in the Amazon gift card option.   https://www.bing.com/explore/rewards?PUBL=REFERAFRIEND&CREA=RAW&rrid=_2bbfb1ad-d7ab-589a-01cb-7029fa1cbf9

My Points is also a favorite.  They send out paid emails and offers for many different, have a few surveys available and also pay to search.   I've cashed out with them once and gotten a gift card to Sam's Club. For that one I have to have somebody's email to refer, but if you want to try go to www.mypoints.com

Ibotta is an app I've been trying. Even though my smart isn't hooked up anymore, I'm still able to use a few of the apps through the wifi.  It's an online coupon app basically.  You go through and upload coupons of things you bought (you have to watch a commercial), then when you have your receipt, you sometimes have to scan the product code sometimes just the receipt. You get the money back for however much the coupon was for.  I haven't cashed out on them yet, but I know the threshold is $10 and I'm almost there. You can find the app in the Google App store, I don't know if they have one for apple. https://ibotta.com/r/eqpameo

Another app I used is called Receipt Hog. You scan your grocery receipts and get so much money back-it depends on how much the receipt is for.  I haven't cashed out on them yet, but I'm halfway there.  The referral code for them is STRAY857. Just find the app in the Google App store, I don't know if they have one for apple. 

If you join Inbox Dollars first, they have links to a lot of these and you get money for joining the other survey site.  My husband tried pay to click... that was tedious and a little annoying. 

Like I said, this isn't big money... I've also gotten surveys to enter survey communities-which guarantees me money every months-which is nice... I've made $160 this year...so it's been enough to help with dry goods things we can online, or I bought school supplies from Dollar Tree with a Inbox Dollars payout.  

-Tabitha

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cloth Feminine Pads

This post is about how I made my light days/panty liners pads... Minus the snaps.. because I'm arguing with Amazon over the payment method.... 

So I made my pattern through measurements I got through the Amy Nix videos on YouTube. That was a lot simpler than it sounds.. Take two computer paper sheets, fold in fourths.  I wanted these pads 8 inches long, so I made a mark at 4 inches, then a mark about halfway down at 1 1/2 inches to get my pad three inches wide, the wings were measured at 3 inches to make sure I had them wide enough to fasten underneath.. Connect all your dots. For your seam allowance, you want to measure 1/4" from the first line. Cut along the outside line and unfold your papers.  Take your second paper, draw a line to cut the wings off, then mark 1/2" inside that line and the edge. (I did 1/4", it was too long.) Cut along the last line made, this is your liner. I marked them both since I plan on making more than one pattern. 
My finished Pattern

 I used flannel for the outside, traced around my pattern making enough for 12 pads.

 Here's the tracing of my inserts, I used cotton for this-old cloth diapers and a tshirt. 

 Here's all my pieces cut out. 

 You pin however much you are comfortable with. For me, it just took enough to hold it in place. I did an assembly line, so one step at a time.. Can you see how there's not much room between the liner and the outer layer? That caused a few issues later on.   A lot of the instructions I have seen, women use a zig zag or decorative stitch for this part-makes it fancy.  So if you have a fancy sewing machine, go for it. I did use a different color thread on some of them... but then the thread decided it didn't want to cooperate with the bobbin.


 My 80 year old sewing machine I'm still learning how to use. :) The only thing I miss is the zig zag stitch some days. 


 My helper. Both girls love to help pin-makes me nervous! LOL 


 So when you get the liners sewed on, you want to sew the right sides together, making sure you leave a spot  (about 2 inches) to turn it right side out, a lot easier on a straight side. 




Here's the two pieces sewn together.   

Instructions I've seen also said to clip the corners, being careful not to clip your stitches, there won't be as much bulk when turned in the seams this way. Personally, I haven't seen much difference, I clipped some and I didn't clip some. 


Here it is after I turned it.  A lot of people use a chopstick to help make sure they get everything flat, my hands are small enough I don't need the extra help-at least with these.  It's also recommended you iron to get the seam flat after this step, but I didn't-mostly because of the little finger help I had.  


And here's the finished project. After you turn, you want to top stitch to keep everything flat and to get that turning spot closed.  If you have snaps, now is the time to do those. Fold the wings around, mark where they overlap and then follow the instructions for your snap pliers/press.  
For now, I'm just using a diaper pin, a little uncomfortable, but until Amazon processes the gift cards, I'm stuck.  
Hope this helps any who are thinking of making their own pads. 

Tabitha 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Mamacloth Information

Fair warning, if you're a man and you're reading this-you might want to stop, because this could get uncomfortable very quickly for you. (Don't say I didn't warn you if you keep reading.) 



Mamacloth 




photo credit goes to sewnpads.weebly.com



Also known as cloth feminine pads. 

Now before you start in on 'eewwww', think about it this way. It's a GREAT money saver.  Even buying enough fabric at the store to get your supply going or buying them already made, we're talking $30-$40 for the rest of your life-or, at the very least, years depending on if the cloth wears down or not.  Is there a certain ew factor, yes, I would have to agree with that, but it's not really that bad.  

There are many different styles, from the "stuffed" ones like in the picture, to All In Ones (AIOs), where everything is all together and you just have to put it on. 

(Now for the personal part..) Since I started using cloth-still only part time since I just now found a pattern I love and it works great-which will be a different post-the length in periods has gotten shorter, the cramps are going away... All in all-it's a better week for everybody in the house. Sure I still get the PMS symptoms and mood swings, but even I can tell it's not NEAR as bad. 

Switching to cloth can be pretty simple. If you sew, you can make your own very simply, or you can buy them already made. There are a ton of ladies on Etsy, Luna Pads, Kawaii Babies has some (I know I'm missing a ton of the big ones).  Pretty much any place you can buy cloth diapers, you can buy mama cloth.  

Making your own is simple, too once you find a pattern you like.  I first started off using Hillbilly Housewife's pattern. Simple, but not quite what I wanted. After much searching on Pinterest and Youtube, I found a tutorial to show me what I was doing wrong and am now working on building my cloth pad stash.  Amy Nix does awesome tutorials from how to make your own pattern, to what you could be doing wrong that your pads aren't turning out how you want them to.  There are even some groups on Facebook to get you going (Isn't there a Facebook group for everything?).   If you choose to make your own, you have to decide what you want to make them out of. You need an absorbent layer, I've seen everything from bamboo to flannel. Personally, I like flannel..mostly because I have it in the house just sitting in my huge scrap pile. So that's the core... Then you have the front layer (layer against your skin), you obviously want this to be soft, so something cotton or flannel (again lol) would work just great.. Now comes the back layer. For the 'just in case' scenario, you'll want something that will keep your clothes clean.  You can do PUL (a waterproof fabric), or you can do fleece. While fleece doesn't have the waterproof way that PUL does, it seems to work just fine for me.  

Most people use snaps to hook them together, those fancy plastic snaps you know-they are a lot easier that the metal ones.. I just have to save up for the tool and the snaps.  Right now I'm using a diaper pin...that has to be situated just right or it's very uncomfortable.. You can use velcro, or I've even seen buttons. It's really up to you. If you don't want wings, you don't have to have wings. If you need them longer, wider... There are entirely customizable-as is anything homemade. 

Sew all your layers together, insert the snap if you have them and you're ready to go. 

To wash, some people wash in the sink after putting them straight in a pail of cold water to minimize staining.  I just throw them in with the cloth diapers and wash at the same time.  

Cloth pads do have more than just the monetary value, there are no chemicals against your skin and they are less abrasive-not to mention you don't have to worry about toxic shock syndrome.  If you have issues where you have to wear a panty liner all the time, it really is a money saver.  

Leave any questions you have and I'll see if I can find the answer! I'll follow up with a blog with pictures on how to make your pattern (straight from an Amy Nix video) that was as easy as pie and what part of my final stash looks like. 

~Tabitha

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Stroller Bag

Beginning of the summer I found out quickly I needed to make a bag for my stroller to hold my things. So I dug through my scraps and found some material that would work (old slacks and jeans) and bought some heavy duty snaps.  

It turned out pretty good, but Not quite even because when I went to cut the straps, I cut from my front piece and I didn't have any more of that material. OOPS. But it works. :) 


I measured the distance on my stroller handle to find out about how wide I needed then added an inch (1/2" seam allowance on each side). 


The first thing I did was measure my phone and make a pocket (the one on the right). 
Then I took some flannel and made pockets for credit or debit cards, I also labeled these with sharpies once I got everything done.. because I can.. and it was fun. 
The elastic straps are for a water bottle to hold it still. 



Then I realized I wanted a pocket for a pen and miscellaneous things, so I added a pocket with a button.  The two straps with snaps are for keys, they are just the right size that I can loop a key chain through then snap them in and keys are easy to find. 



That's it. After all this sewing, I sewed the front on, and the straps, which are situated catty-corner on the top corners. I looped in on the stroller handle and marked where the snaps would go. I put two heavy duty snaps on both straps just to make sure they stay in place. 

I'm loving this bag!  I think I'm going to add a closure of some sort along the top this winter and it looks like I need to resew the elastic.  But everything is easy to get to and the bag doesn't get in the way when getting in the basket for other things. 

Have fun sewing! ~Tabitha

Friday, August 28, 2015

Shopping Trip 8/27

I'm a little on the happy side this week. I actually came in UNDER budget on our grocery trip. I think I heard the checkbook singing. :D 

We did get a few premades and extras this month, but I only paid for 4 things that weren't on my list-and those were at Dollar Tree.  

Sam's we spent $147.  The instant savings gave us $10 off-AWESOME, didn't see that coming and I also had a $10 gift card from a survey site.  This is where I got my 'cheat food' lol.  I had planned on getting ravioli, but they didn't have any-not even the fresh stuff. Disappointed reigned, but we did find already made chicken fried steak, so got a box of that-and we'll get more meals from the same amount I would have spent on ravioli.. The kids and I have been craving pizza, so I got a carton of single pizzas. It'll only be a few meals worth, but it's something easy for when we're running around and talking walks.  Since my trips to my parents will be resuming, I also bought Dennis some pizza for when we're gone.  It's better than fast food (a little, anyway).  

Hyvee we spent $137. Not many convenience foods here, but oh my are eggs expensive!!! 

Dollar Store we spent $20, Mostly tortillas. The tortillas they have are a little smaller, yes, but just as good as what you get at the grocery store. They don't hold a candle to fresh-but that's another story as my tortilla making skills are nil.   This is also where we got our extra-I'm a sucker for the chocolate isle and the kids know it.  I also got Andrew and Eva a couple marker boards for school. I'm not sure we've spend more than an hour since we opened them that they have stayed in the drawer.  Best $2 Ever spent!! I was looking for an ABC chart and came across a laminated USA map, so I bought that-now I don't have to use ink to make our own. :)  

The bakery outlet was my favorite.  We got our bread, and for customer appreciation day we got a free loaf of Sara Lee's new bread. It LOOKS good and is cut texas toast style-perfect for garlic bread to go with our spaghetti.  $6 at the outlet, 11 loaves of bread and a box of muffins (also free).  

Over all, it was a good day.  Although for lunch we learned the hard way that Taco John's chicken nuggets are spicy, Grace was a trooper and ate a few though! :) 

School has started in our house so I feel super busy.  To finish this week, we are reviewing the letters and sounds we've been through. Next week we start with letter E and get back into the full swing of things.  

As soon as i can get back to my sewing machine, I'll let you know how my new skirt is going... 

Have a good week!! Tabitha 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Vacation Rundown!

So we got back from vacation Monday. We had fun, the kids had fun and we came in under budget from what we had saved-which means we have that much we will save for the next vacation.   

So here's the rundown.. 
We drove down to Springfield, Illinois and back home, taking backroads and avoiding four lane highways and interstates when possible. 

I spent about $150 before we left on snacks and toys for the kids to keep them occupied. Our plan was to get hot sandwiches from a fast food restuarant for lunches and eat the chips and drinks we had in the car from my shopping trip. I put together a homemade happy meal for the kids, complete with a toy for the lunches.  

For breakfast, we made sure we stayed in hotels that had a continental breakfast which we took advantage of all but one morning. That one morning, we went down to breakfast and the breakfast bar was packed, so we decided to swing by Mcdonalds and grab sandwiches. 

Suppers we ate out.  Usually the kids ended up finishing their food at the hotel, but hey, either they ate it or we ate it for them.  

The entire trip was more about the drive and what we found than what was in Springfield when we got there, although we did enjoy seeing the Lincoln sites in Springfield.  We are family genealogists, so when we saw a graveyard, we stopped and perused.  The kids weren't so sure about it, but after awhile they figured out what we were doing and had fun spotting graveyards.  

Before we went, we tried to find as much as we could that was free to help with the costs.  We did do a few things that cost money, but I would say those few things were worth it.  I do have to say, while we did write down how much we needed for those and figured more for parking, a few of the costs were wrong so just make sure you have a cushion for fees that are more than websites said they would be.  

The big towns we hit were, St Joseph Missouri. We drove around the historic district and took some pictures-especially the house where Jesse James was killed.  The next big town was Hannibal, Missouri where we took pictures of anything Mark Twain we could find.  We then went on to Springfield where we did everything Lincoln we could find.  After Springfield we drove through Carthage and Nauvoo for Mormon history.  We spent our third night in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Drove through the Amana Colonies-which we TOTALLY planned wrong because we went through those on early Sunday morning. We drove through Ames and stopped at the Historic Fort Dodge in Fort Dodge, Iowa.  We spent our last night in Le Mars, Iowa and ate at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream shop/museum before we headed for home.   

Andrew's favorite part of the trip was parking underground in Springfield. He just enjoyed that! Eva's favorite part was her 'superhero ice cream' in LeMars. I honestly don't remember the actual name of it, but she certainly enjoyed.   

All in all costwise, we spent about $800, which isn't too bad for a family of 5 on a 4 day vacation.   We had fun, and that is the important part.  

We also have a ton of snacks leftover. :)

-Tabitha 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Grocery Trip And Homeschool Stuff

So we went grocery shopping today. HyVee has some good sales this week. 

I'm loving the idea of planning 7 meals and just doing a rotation. So That's what I'm doing again. HyVee has pasta 10 for $10 so we are going mostly with pasta meals. Chicken was also on sale.  I did decide to splurge a little and get charcoal for our grill, because it will save the house from heating up. 

All in all, I spent $330 and a little extra for perishables and some extra snacks we decided we wanted for vacation. 

For those of you who are school shopping, go check out Dollar Tree. I know Walmart and Target run .50 or $1 sales right about now, but if you can't find what you want or need there for cheap, check your local Dollar Tree (or you can buy a case on their website and have it UPS delivered).  I found some great worksheets at ours today. And they have little marker boards I'm debating about grabbing next month. 

On my homeschool sites, I often see questions about teaching kids to budget.  In my opinion, budgeting is a must. Everybody (unless you're a millionaire) needs it. So might as well teach our kids early. And I think they learn best when led by example.  If you don't want your kids helping with your grocery list, give them some random amount and the grocery ad. Tell them they need to meal plan and make a grocery list that fits within that amount. If it doesn't fit, it can't go on the list.   The grocery ad is good for all areas of basic math and life skills to boot. 


That's all to report for now.


I'll be back in a few weeks with vacation tips. 

-Tabitha

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Vacation Food Shopping

Well, we made an unexpected trip to the city today, so decided to do most of our vacation food shopping. I'll hide the goods in the office so the kids don't eat them. 

We've decided we prefer something fresh (Subway or the like) or something hot (think Arby's sandwiches or KFC type).. So we'll get the entree off somebody's dollar menu and use out of our stash for the rest of the meal.  Most everything will last us beyond vacation, but that's ok.

I got variety boxes of cookies and chips and we all love Gardettos, so I got those for a salty snack. Now normally I just a big bag then portion it all out, but in this case, I just bought the boxes of single serving packs. 

Hubby and I (ok..more me) love our coffee.  So since Sam's had the Starbucks Frappucinos on sale, I got a little case of those. Also got Dr. Pepper for him and 7 up for me.  The kids got a case of juice boxes and I grabbed a flat of water. If we need more water, we'll just find a grocery store and grab another flat.   

I was going to get the kids those squeezable applesauce pouches (they love those things), but I couldn't find just applesauce, so I got a variety pack.   

Now, since the plan is to NOT get kids meals, we also made a stop by Dollar Tree. We got a toy for lunch for each day we plan to be gone. One of these days during nap times, I'll put them in paper bags we already have with name on the bag.  New toys are always a good distraction.   We also grabbed a few new coloring and activity books. 

All of this will get stashed away until vacation next month. But I ended up saving $10 by getting it now. 

Have a good week! 
Tabitha

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Next Month

The next month will prove to be a busy one... like I ever have non busy months. LOL

For meals, I've decided on a 5-6 meal rotation. For the most part (unless somebody gets sick from a meal), it's going to be Spaghetti, tacos, stir fry, pork chops, bbq chicken, leftovers.  Then we start all over again.  I am trying to keep dessert of some sort in the house in case somebody doesn't get full on the supper.  

Around the house we have been cleaning and will be prepping for a garage soon.   There's just so much stuff!  

I am doing my homeschool lesson plans, getting everything ready and we'll start again in August.  Still Kindergarten things, but Andrew is determined to learn to read, so we have to learn all the letters and their sounds.  

Lots of sewing projects and still working on the stockings...still on my first of six, I forgot how tedious cross stitch is. 

I'm also planning furiously for vacation this month as we go beginning of August.  I'll go to Sam's soon to grab some snacks and drinks while they are still on sale and then stash them in the office until needed.   One of the biggest vacation expenses is always food.  Our plan is to get hot sandwiches of some sort, then have drinks, chips and cookies in the van and either eat in the van or have a picnic and let the kids get some energy out while we eat.  The van also needs vacuumed and the car seats washed before we go.  

I'm way behind on laundry. I'm really trying to not use the clothes dryer, and that has put me behind with laundry as we have been blessed with many rain showers this last week. 


We'll get to pick our mulberries this week, the kids are really excited. They seem to be small, but are turning black so they are ready. 

That's about all the excitement happening here. Hope you are having a good summer, too. 

Tabitha