Category Archives: About Me

A Miscarriage Poem – Thoughts on Four

In honor of National Poetry Month, here is a poem I wrote for the PAD challenge.

Mockingbird in the cherry tree

Image by Vicki's Nature via Flickr

You started out smaller than I could see.

God knit you perfectly.

We saw your tiny heartbeat, white on the screen.

Perfect.

Then the day came. The doctor wanted to take you from me.

But she coudn’t.

Only God could.

We saw you. Almost smaller than we could see.

But we saw.

Your eyes. Your hands. Your feet.

I’m sure I saw your smile.

Perfect.

We buried you under your tree.

It’s blooming now for you to see.

If you were here, you’d be past 3.

Four years.

We celebrate you on earth, but one day we will celebrate you there,

perfectly.

 


The Magic of Honey

Honey comb02

Image via Wikipedia

I am now a contributor over at The Sweet Potato, the blog for the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA). What is CFSA all about? From their website:

CFSA helps people in the Carolinas grow and eat local, organic foods by advocating for fair farm and food policies, building the systems family farms need to thrive, and educating and organizing farmers and the communities they serve.

My first post is up on all the wonderfulness that is local, raw honey! I talk about the benefits and why you should get local and raw as opposed to industrialized honey.


Menu Plan Monday is Back

Here is this week’s menu plan. This time I chose to include all meals, plus snacks.

As always, I use the weekly Publix ad to make my list to help save money.

Monday

B – Baked Oatmeal Squares

via poorgirleatswell.com

L – Cranberry-Almond Tuna Salad Sandwiches with Pears

Tuesday

B – Baked Oatmeal Squares

L – Lunchtime Noodles with Grapes

D – Chicken Pot Pie with a Savory Herb and Cheddar Crust

Wednesday
B – Blueberry Waffles
L – Leftovers

Thursday

B – Kashi Cereal

L – Peanut Butter Banana Sandwiches with Grapes

D – Not My Mom’s Sloppy Joes with Corn on the Cob

Friday
B – Blueberry Waffles
L- Leftovers

Saturday

B – Eggs

L – Hawaiian Roll -ups with Grapes

D – Creole Shrimp and Rice

Sunday

B – Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

L – Pasta with Sauce with Green Beans

D – Teriyaki Pork Chops with Brown Rice

Snacks: Hummus with raw veggies, Black Bean Brownies, Cinnamon Almonds, Cheesesticks, Crackers, Cheese Chips, Grapes, Pumpkin Flax Bars

For more menu plans, check out the home of Menu Plan Monday, at I’m an Organizing Junkie.


The Pantry- Project:Simplify

Lazy Susan Before - Yuck!

Week Three of Project: Simplify

This week’s hot spot was already on my to-do list: the pantry! I actually clean out the pantry on a regular basis (although it’s how to tell from my before picture!) so I didn’t need to throw anything out, just need to reorganize everything. What I REALLY have been needing to organize/clean out was our lazy susan. It is where all of our spices live and is just a mess.

I did the pantry in a short amount of time. I put things back on the correct shelves and in their proper spots. Basically the bottom shelf contains all cooking wines and vinegars, canned goods and teas. The middle shelf is all of my husband’s baking items. The top shelf is for all bagged items (like dry beans, pasta, etc.), boxes and canisters. I have the bread items up there as well.

Pantry Before

The lazy susan I did in one afternoon. I took everything out so I could clean off the shelves which were pretty yucky with spilled spices. Once the shelves were all nice and clean, I put all of my husband’s baking supplies back (mostly fondant tubs) and then set to work looking through the spices. Most were still okay to use but some were expired so I threw those out. I separated them into spices used for baking and cooking and then made a list of all of the spices we had along with expiration dates. I put these on little post-it’s and stuck it on the inside of the cabinet. Hopefully this will make it easier when I’m menu planning to see what I have on hand. I found 2 of 3 or 4 spices. Oops!

Pantry After

I didn’t need to clean out the fridge because I just took all of the shelves out a week or so okay and cleaning them in the sink. I routinely go through the food, weekly pretty much. Since we grocery shop once a week, and meal plan that way as well, we generally have a pretty empty refrigerator by Sunday so it’s easy to see anything that needs to get tossed if I missed something during the week.

How about you? Does your pantry need a makeover? Tell me about it in the comments. One week left of Project: Simplify!

Related Articles

 

Lazy Susan After


Birth Plan for Birth Center

via scmidwife.com

Are you pregnant? Are you planning on becoming pregnant? Then go read my guest post at Fine and Fair on creating a birth plan for a birth center birth. I share my birth plan and some suggestions and what to include and who to share it with.

While you’re there, check out the other posts on birth plans, one for a hospital birth and one for a caesarean.


Gentle Birth Choices: Book Review

I’m kicking off a week of book reviews in honor of March being National Reading Month! The first book I’m going to review for the week is Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper.

via sunrisewellness.org

This is not the first, but one of the first books I read on birthing naturally. (The first was The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth.) It is a great book to introduce the concepts of gentle, natural birthing and I highly recommend it for anyone on the fence. It also includes a DVD which is great, too.

If I hadn’t already been convinced that I wanted a water birth, this book definitely would have done the job! There is a whole chapter dedicated to water birth detailing the reasons for choosing one and the history behind water birthing. It was fantastic and probably my favorite part of the book.

There is an important chapter dedicated to discussing the medicalization of childbirth. It was eye-opening for me even though I’d already done some research and reading about this topic. The section on “Twilight Sleep” almost brought me to tears.

The chapter on Dispelling the Medical Myths is fantastic and reminds me of  The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth. This section alone is worth reading the book in my opinion. It is followed up by a lovely chapter on a different way to birth, A Gentle Revolution and then a chapter on Midwifery.

The appendices are full of helpful information including questions to ask a doctor or midwife and a sample birth plan.

I’ll leave you with this quote from the book:

“A gentle birth relies on the understanding that labor is part of a mysterious continuum of physiological events, beginning with conception and continuing well into the first year of life. Mother and baby, inseparable and interdependent, work together as a unit from the fertilization of the egg until weaning from breastfeeding takes place. Mothers the world over know that the physical and psychological connections that bind our children to us last a lifetime.”


I’m Stylish! Who Knew?

Becoming Crunchy decided I was cool enough to receive the Stylish Blogger Award! I’ll have to add it to the collection. (Does 2 constitute a collection??)  To accept, I must follow these rules. I think I can handle that!

  • Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Award 10-15 blogs you feel deserve the award.
  • Contact these bloggers and let them know about the award.

Here are my 7 things!

  1. Even though I’m the biggest wimp ever, I gave birth naturally and can’t wait to do it again! I actually look forward to another water birth one day.
  2. Overflowing toilets scare me…really.
  3. For some reason, every week when I meal plan I feel like I need to reinvent the wheel. I don’t just have a bunch of go-to meals we repeat each month. Every week the majority of our meals are new to us. I really need to not stress myself out so much by finding and coming up with new things each week but I can’t seem to help it!
  4. Related to #3, I have WAY too many cookbooks. It’s a problem. I LOVE them so much yet I don’t actually use them much. I mostly find recipes online. I did go through a little spell this summer where I relied mainly on my cookbooks but somewhere along the line I slipped back into my old ways. I love Zip List so I will blame them for now.
  5. My husband is an unexpected baker. We both were laid off last year so my husband tried his hand at baking and discovered a hidden talent. He now works full-time and does the baking thing on the side. His favorite cake to make was my daughter’s Candy Land birthday cake last year for her first birthday.
  6. I’m still nursing my 2 year old with no immediate plans to stop. Although this is not the norm in our culture, there are a ton of wonderful benefits for both of us and is recommended by health organizations as well.
  7. I love pugs….and cheese.

No for the REALLY hard part! I have to pick some other stylish bloggers to award this to. I already gave an award to several bloggers awhile back so I’ll keep those blogs off and pick new ones. (Check them out, too though!) And if you notice these blogs are not on my blogroll, well I’m working on updating that soon! It’s been awhile since I’ve updated and I’ve discovered some awesome bloggers since then! I also am leaving off blogs that have already received this award for obvious reasons.

I award the Stylish Blogger award to:

My Awesome Olive Shoots

Party of Five

Diary of a First Child

Crunchy Betty

Confessions of a High-heel Wearing Hippie Mommy

All Along the Way

The New Mommy Files: Memories, Milestones and Missteps

My Inspired Baby

Like a Bubbling Brook

Dulce de Leche

Check these blogs and Becoming Crunchy out! You won’t be disappointed!

 

 


How Our Co-sleeping Relationship Ended

Tuesday was my daughter’s birthday. She was born at 8:09 am March 22nd 2 years ago. She was my beautiful little water baby. Today she is my beautiful little girl.

Birthday Girl

She took a major step this weekend and changed where she has slept for her whole life. She now sleeps in her very own bed and it was a decision she made on her own. My last day of sharing a bed with my daughter and husband was this past Friday and I didn’t even know it would be. I would have cuddled her extra tight. I probably would have been up half the night just gazing at her and stroking her sweet cheeks and breathing her in. I probably would have tried my hardest to memorize every detail of those last moments of her lying next to me. But, like almost all of her milestones, this one came lightning fast.

The Owl Bed

For her birthday we got her her very own twin bed with birdy sheets
and her Nanny (my mom) got her an owl quilt (one of her favorite animals) and an owl lamp. We choose to wait until her birthday party to put it all together and show her after she had opened all her other gifts.

And she absolutely loved it.

Moments after seeing her new bed

When it was time for her normal bedtime routine, after her bath she wanted me to skip straight to the bedtime part. She wanted to skip the rest of our routine. She kept telling me that she want to go to bed in HER room, in HER bed. I knew she was ready for this change but still expected some resistance. We actually weren’t even going to have her sleep in it the night of her party since we had my in-laws in town staying with us and it had been a pretty eventful day. We had a plan for the transition. But our daughter didn’t need our plan.

That first night she slept in her “owl bed” with no problems. She awoke once in the night to nurse and within 20 minutes she was fast asleep and didn’t wake until morning. I thought she might wake up earlier than normal but she didn’t. It was all very unexpected and bittersweet really.

It will be a week tomorrow that she has been sleeping in her own room so I guess it’s official. We are no longer a co-sleeping family. Our bed seems so big now and I miss my sweet girl sleeping right next to me. I actually slept horribly the first couple nights, unable to get comfortable or relax enough to get any decent rest. It’s  funny but it’s kind of how our co-sleeping relationship started out.

I never anticipated having to re-learn how to sleep without her beside me. The first couple nights I actually was already awake or awoke shortly before she did. We are still in tune even though she is across the hall now. She doesn’t wake up crying. She simple will wimper for a moment, and, if I hear her, I go in to nurse her. The last couple nights I did not even hear her until she came walking down the hall, saying “mama, mama, mama”. We met in the middle and walked back to her “owl bed”. The first time she walked to our room, she kept asking me to come to “owl room” and “owl bed”. I think she was actually worried I was going to put her back in our bed. Another time once she saw me coming towards her, she turned back around and hopped into her bed, waiting for me to join her.

The Morning After Her First Night in Her New Bed

There are still plenty of sweet night moments to experience with her (and my husband laughs that I actually am excited when she wakes at night). I know that our co-sleeping days will always be an extra special memory to me though and I will definitely miss them.


My Daughter’s Wardrobe, Closet and Toys – Project: Simplify

Week Three of Project: Simplify

I was so happy about this week’s hot spot since it is something that I’ve really been wanting to get to. I also had planned on changing out my daughter’s wardrobe this week anyway. Although we still have some cooler temps this week, spring has officially made its appearance so it’s time to pack up the winter clothes (that are not fitting well anymore anyway) and get out the spring clothes! I did not go through her toys since I had just done this in January after all of the Christmas stuff she got. I’ll go ahead and detail below how I did that though just for fun. :)

Before

Monday I worked on her clothes. I  washed everything she had that was dirty so I could have everything clean. After that, I went through all of her clothes in her drawers and closet and packed up all of the winter stuff to save for any future children/consignment/donation.  I had a pretty big stack of clothing and shoes that were handed down to me for Marcella from a girl from church so I took all of those out and washed everything in the correct size. (I already had all of this organized in her drawer by size so it was easy to just take it all out and wash it.) A lot of it was line dry so I hung it up on the drying rack and the rest I hung up or put in her (now mostly empty) drawer. I also moved everything from the closet in the next size up into the bottom drawer (where I keep storage clothes/shoes/etc. for later.)

Before

Tuesday was Marcella’s 2nd birthday so we spent all day celebrating. All I did this day was hang up and put away the now dry clothes from the drying rack.

Wednesday I decided to tackle the closet. I’ve really wanted to get Marcella’s closet organized. It bugs me every time I open it. It isn’t very large and in the last year since we moved back into our house (long story) it has gone from nicely organized to cluttered with stuff we don’t use or need anymore. I took out everything on the shelf above and everything out of the storage shelving out and put it in her room and slowly went through everything. I made piles of things to get rid of, things that belonged elsewhere, things that could be stored in the attic for future children and things to keep in the closet. I went through all of the shoes that were handed down to me to see what the sizes were since I never actually did that before when I went through the rest of the stuff. I stored the ones that were 2 sizes too big and kept out the ones that were only one size too big or her size now. I also put a couple too small pairs with the clothes that no longer fit.

Once I had everything separated, I tackled each pile one at a time. Some of the stuff I found I can just get rid of were some hangers that are from the store that you can hang a shirt and pants on. I don’t use these so I’ll either find someone who would like them or give them back to the store (tip from a friend.) I also found a stash of cloth diapers that were given to me that are too big or otherwise won’t work for my daughter. Instead of hanging on to them, I’m going to give them to some moms that could use them instead. Most likely, my next child is going to be smaller like Marcella anyway. I also filled a basket with items for the attic and my husband put those up for me. The last step was finding a new home for what needed to stay. I now have room for anything new we need to store in there which is great! I also took all of her books out and resorted them in her basket since it had gotten messy.

After*

 

I said I’d tell you how I organized my toys even though I did this back in January (so no pictures, sorry.) Basically I took every toy/book, etc that she had and put them all in our bonus room. It was a mess for a couple days while I worked through it but I was so happy with the final result. I then started making piles of like toys together (all stuffed animals together, all food related toys together, all books together, etc.) This helped me, since I’m a visual person, see what exactly she had so I could determine what went where.

We have 4 toy areas in our house. Downstairs we use the cabinets and drawer in our entertainment console to house toys. I like this because clean up is pretty simple and toys are out of sight for when we have company over. (We do have her baby doll with stroller out and her armchair out but everything else is stored when she’s not playing with it.) Upstairs we have a bonus room where all her large toys are  and we also have some open shelving and a closed cabinet as well. Of course we have toys in her room as well. Books and stuffed animals are in her closet and there is a small shelf with various toys and board books. Lastly we have a small bin of toys I keep on the bottom of my linen closet that I pull out for her to play in my bedroom if she is awake while I’m getting ready in the morning or for when we go somewhere. It’s easy to just pick up (hand holds on both sides) and go.

 

After*

I kept the majority of her stuffed animals in a basket in the closet in her room but took a few to place in each of her toy areas. All books, other than board books, stayed in a basket in the closet in her room. She still occasionally rips pages so I like these to be somewhere where I will most likely be around to make sure she isn’t ripping the pages (although it still happens sometimes.) The board books I divided up between the different toy areas. All of the larger toys (like her play kitchen, rocking horse, etc.) stay up in the bonus room. I also decided to have all of the food play things in the bonus room. She has a cabinet of her sports toys in the bonus room together as well. All dress up toys are mostly in her room while all of her musical toys are in her toy bin for on-the-go play.

 

What did you tackle this week? Clothes, toys, both? Did you have your children participate with you? I’d love to hear how it went!

*Sorry about the quality on these two pictures! Marcella broke my camera so I had to use my iPhone.


Paper Clutter – Project: Simplify

Week Two of Project: Simplify

This week’s hot spot was a pretty boring one for me in that, well, paper clutter is not an area of weakness in our household. Has it been in the past? Sure, but right now we pretty much need the paper we have and it all has a home. Still, I committed to the project so here we go.

We have 3 areas where paper clutter accumulate: my dresser in our bedroom, a corner on the kitchen counter and the top of the printer in the office area/bonus room. The dresser is cleared off so there was nothing to declutter there and  the spot in the kitchen only has some papers related to an item of business we need to attend to. No reason to file it away as I would just have to take it right back out. I normally leave the items that we need to take care of in that area because it is an area we are always seeing so it is a constant reminder to take care of stuff. Once the item is taken care of, we dispose of it. The only area where I had any paper clutter was on the printer. It was all things that needed to be filed. So I took all of 2 minutes to file them away.

Before

After

 

Since I felt like I should do SOMETHING for this challenge, I decided to purge my files. I knew it had been awhile since I’d done this so I figured it was probably a good, appropriate way to complete this challenge. (She mentioned books but I just redid my book shelf last month.)

I went through each of my files and took out what we no longer needed. I filled up a grocery bag full of stuff. It didn’t take me too long (except for the fact I wasn’t able to just sit down in one sitting and do it because of needing to attend to children) and it felt good to get rid of those things that weren’t needed. If it wasn’t for this project, there is no way I would have taken out the time to do this because it never really feels like it HAS to be done.

Before

After

 

What about the rest of you? Is paper overtaking your home? A great way to manage paper clutter is by using FlyLady’s 2 minute hot spot clean up. It’s just what it sounds like – set a timer for 2 minutes and go to town on that paper clutter! No guilt when the timer goes off. Two minutes is a totally manageable amount of time to dedicate to it and you’ll chip away at that stack much more quickly than you thought you could, promise! This is what I do when a mountain of paper starts to overwhelm me.

Tell me how you did this week in the comments and I’ll come check out your post!


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