Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Book Review #5

The Barefoot Queen

I had no idea what this book would be like when I got it and quite frankly it was not my favorite.
This is a story from the view of a freed Cuban slave and her best friend who is a gypsy set in the 1700's and the book was slow going. I had a hard time connecting with the characters and the goings on.
I can see how this story would appeal to some, but for my taste it was a bit too dark with it containing many scenes of abuse towards the women in this book. The way the abuse and violence was written was in a very casual manner and that just ruined the book for me.
The Barefoot Queen is definitely written very well-just suited to a mature audience and one who doesn't mind reading graphic portrayals of that type of scene.

Monday, March 2, 2015


Okay. Deep down inside (and it shows outwardly as well), I am a pack rat.
There's a problem that comes with that, unfortunately. Clutter.
I hate clutter.
If you asked my mom 5 years ago she would say "what?! You hate clutter? Never. Look at your room!"
Well, a lot has changed in 5 years and having a house of my own has more than likely changed my perspective on clutter.

Brandon and I go thru phases where everything is nice and clean, everything has a place and then...boom. Things are not in their place and I get stressed just looking at our room or our living room. So we get into cleaning mode and tear the room apart and put it back together-then we can breathe.
It's wonderful!

One of the recent snow days we had resulted in a more organized and clean kitchen! I finally got to the point where I couldn't stand looking at our kitchen. Ours is small and we don't have a pantry and we have very limited cabinet space.
So Brandon and I worked on tackling the top of the fridge first and then the pots and pans and the tuppaware.

Often times when we do this type of thing I can be irrational and just want to get rid of EVERYTHING! And start over.
But that just isn't practical. Which is why I am thankful to have a very level headed husband beside me when we do these types of projects :) he reins me back in when I have the impulse to trash everything we own and gives me alternatives and brain storms with me on how we can make it better. How we can use our space wisely.

We downsized our plastic storage containers and got rid of some pots and pans and other containers that we either don't use or really just don't need. It was so freeing.
All of the things we got rid of went into a big pile on the kitchen floor.

It was then bagged up and put in the basement until our $.50 yard sale my sister and I are having at the end of this month! 
Everything is now so much more accessible and orderly looking. It makes living with a tiny kitchen in a rental a little bit more bearable :)
Our next project is our "pantry". I am hoping to be able to use some of our household budget soon to buy organizing containers to help contain the mess and make it look less of an eye sore :)
It's pretty unsightly.
I am thankful for our cash system (more on that later) and our budget because I KNOW that we will have the money soon to be able to slowly decorate/make over our house! It's quite exciting :) It might be a slow process but it's definitely worth it.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snowy days

Recently we have had our fair share of snow and sick days, which means we have been stuck in the house for a couple of weeks! The first snow we got was almost 10" inches of fluffy white stuff and I thought isaiah would be excited to go out and play in it.
So, I spent about 25 minutes bundling both of the kids up and putting james in the ergo baby carrier and making sure we didn't have any skin showing. By the time we were headed out the door I had worked up a sweat.
Isaiah thought the snow was cool. Until he stepped into it. It came above his knees and he couldn't walk by himself. I probably heard the phrase "hold you mommy!!" (Aka- "hold ME, mommy!") twenty times in the short time we were outside.
I found our beach boogie board in the basement and put isaiah on the boogie board and pulled him around on that for approximately  1.5 minutes at which point I just let him sit on it and  eat freshly fallen snow.

He thought that was the best thing ever and was content staying there eating snow for a while, which was great because I was determined to stay out there longer than the amount of time it took us to get ready to play in the snow . ;)

After that one adventure out into the snow, isaiah had no desire to go out again. Therefore I resorted to Pinterest for indoor activities for toddlers.
Let me tell you-I think we could do several activities a day and never exhaust the endless ideas out there!
We did all sorts of things. Since we had so much snow we piainted snow.
He transferred water from one container to another with a water dropper.
We also used a teaspoon.
We made cloud dough. (2 parts cornstarch one part hair conditioner)
We washed out trucks and cars in bubbles.
We dropped colored vinegar onto a bed of baking soda. It fizzes and is really cool!

We have lots of other ideas too and I'll bedefinitely incorporating these into every day life. They keep him entertained so well!
Pinterest is the place to go to figure out WHAT to do with your kids when stuck inside for days on end :)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Book Review #4

Love Without Limits
I had seen Nick Vujicic's story on Facebook and other news sites and such and was always intrigued by his sweet story-I was excited to be able to read the book about his journey.
Nick Vujicic was born with out arms and legs and yet while reading this book and I am sure even meeting him in person, you wouldn't even notice. His personality really comes out in this book and its upbeat, honest and real. This book lets you be in on all the little details on his love story with his beautiful wife Kanae and along the way they give some advice, tips and pointers for keeping your eyes on Christ thru it all.
The trials and bumps in the road that he and his wife faced during their story and the ways they overcame and trusted God are surely inspiring.
This book takes you along with them in a very real way from the Nick telling about past failed relationships to him and Kanae being united as one in marriage. It's such a sweet story and I highly recommend it!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A day in my life

I've seen a lot of other "mommy bloggers" do posts where they document their every day life in pictures and I've always found those posts so interesting. 
So, I got the notion to try it out myself. Not that I consider myself a mommy blogger, because I am not. I just thought it would be fun and totally doable.

It wasn't. 

These photos took me about three days to take and I STILL never remembered to take photos after lunch time :p

And. My days aren't that interesting. I tried documenting on a week that would show what a normal day for me looked like at home with the boys. So here it goes. :) 

Another disclaimer. I'm not funny.

My days start out at 5 am usually. I crawl out of bed and go down to the basement to do my insanity workout.
I don't get it done every morning so sometimes it happens midday-especially of i have a child who decides that as soon as i leave the room, he needs to wake up too.

Around 5:45 or 6, I come up the stairs and have my coffee and read/talk to brandon/get his lunch ready before he heads off to work.
(Usually James decides to go back to sleep)
Brandon leaves at 6:30 and I head into the kitchen to do dishes and try to clean up before the kids wake up.

Around 7-7:30 isaiah wakes up and we get breakfast and I make a smoothie.
After breakfast around 8 I clean the kitchen floors and sweep.  It's amazing how i can do this every day and they STILL need to be done every day. Sad.
I spot clean my floors. I don't know why.
Once finished with that rag-I throw it on the top of my basement stairs along with all the other random dirty laundry I'm too lazy to take down the stairs.

James decides he wants to wake up and eat next. So I feed him and try to avoid the unavoidable spit up. Doesn't matter where the burp cloth is-he will miss it somehow and I will get covered.
Next it's usually story time for isaiah. We almost always read the same five books that happen to always be downstairs-they just never make their way upstairs to his room so they have automatically become our morning , noon and evening story time books.
I walk into the kitchen to get the broom to sweep the living room after noticing it really needs a good sweep.
Wait!!! How are there already dishes that need to be done??
They never.ever.end.
I grab the broom anyway and go sweep.
Isaiah is usually trying to be a big help. Usually.
Other times he does this.
Next I go get the laundry from the basement to fold. It's probably been sitting down there for quite some time.
Laundry gets folded and I leave it there until nap time when I can put it away. I don't know why I do that-because I then spend the rest of the morning refolding items. Weird thinking/processing on my end.
James gets in some playtime and by this point in the day I completely forget about documenting my day and my whole "plan" is pushed to the back of my mind and I realize I won't be like those other "mommy bloggers". and that's okay with me. I'll just stick to reading their great blogs and not try to replicate them.

My days are plenty exciting for me and probably only me and I'm okay with that :) every day is different and I don't always stick to a routine. That's just life. And life with 2 kiddos :)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Homemade Laundry Detergent

In our small household we go through so much laundry detergent with all the loads of laundry we do with 2 littles AND cloth diapering! The cost of detergent is so expensive so I started looking into making my own. 

My mother in law makes her own and so she let me have some to try it out on Brandons work clothes that smell because of the environment he works in (even though it's an office building-it reeks) as well as his workout clothes. I washed them all in her detergent and they came out smelling great! I was definitely impressed.

So as soon as I finished my box of Gain I had been using, I spent about an hour making the laundry detergent with the 3 simple ingredients that Louanne just GAVE me! They are really cheap anyways and you can get it all at Walmart or Kroger!

The "hardest" part of the whole process was grating the bar of soap-and that wasn't even "hard"! I now have a 5 gallon bucket sitting in my basement that will allow me to fill up my detergent container many times-making a total of 10 gallons of soap. I think we are set on laundry detergent for quite some time. :)

This is the recipe that I followed. And here are some step by step photos of my process!


Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap
(Front or top load machine-best value)

4  Cups - hot tap water
1  Fels-Naptha soap bar*
½ Cup Borax


-Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)
-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.
-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

Grating the soap

Melting it.
Adding and stirring in the washing soda and borax.
Last step! Filling it the rest of the way up with water and then letting it sit over night!

I did add some lavender essential oil to it to give it a slight lavender smell.
And that's it! Laundry soap for a lonnnng time! I'm very pleased :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Book Review #3

I had the privilege once again to review a book for bloggingforbooks.org. 
A Love Undone is a different sort of Amish romance. 19 year old Jolene is very ambitious and spunky and through a series of events is left virtually alone with just her siblings having her heart broken and shattered in many different ways. This book shows more than the "romantic" side of the Amish life, a side you don't see too often in these types of books!
Her journey during this book is inspiring with the many ways she picks up and goes and her strength is displayed in such tremendous ways. You easily fall in love and become attached to the characters of this book and rightfully so! There are quite a few twists in this book which makes it intriguing and fast paced.