Friday, March 9, 2012

Sunshine Award

1. Include the award's logo in a post or on your blog.
2. Answer 10 questions about yourself.
3. Nominate other fabulous bloggers.
4. Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know that they have been nominated.
5. Share the Love and link back to the person who

1. What is your favorite color? Teal Blue

2. What is your favorite animal? Bunny Rabbits

3.Favorite non-alcoholic drink? Undoubtedly Coffee

4.What is your favorite number? 3

5.Facebook or Twitter? Facebook

6.What is your passion? My faith, my family, raising my beautiful children and vintage living 

7.What is you favorite pattern? I'm pretty fond of chevrons right now and I always navigate towards stripes over anything else. 

8.Favorite day of the week? Sundays.  I really look forward to church

9.Favorite Flower? Peonies.  I love there voluminousness and delicacy.  They are so feminine.

10.Give or get presents? I love to give.

My Nominations:  (I have a lot but I can't put them all down)

1.  Modern Retro Woman One of my first blogs I read about vintage living and she's brilliant!
2. The Glamorous Housewife I admire her dedication to vintage living and reading her blog is like a shot of color, drama and fun for the day
3.  Retro Wifey I fell in love with her page and she was the first to share my page with others and now she's blogging and I love getting to know her even better!
4. Vintage Folly I LOVE this girl.  She is the sweetest and she challenged me to bake and I did it and became a Kitchen Goddess to my Hubby of which I am eternally grateful. 
5. Living Well Spending Less This is a new one for me.  I just love her honesty and bravery in her recent post about her struggle with depression.

That was fun...let's keep sharing.

Keeping Schedules

I am still working on my financial debacle, but I'm currently waiting on some information so I've put that project on hold for today.  I wanted to take a moment to talk about house cleaning.  Now this is not something I'm good at.  I confess to be a total slob, and while I like things clean and cleanliness gives me peace of mind, I'm not naturally an organized or clean person.  I tend to get overwhelmed when it comes to cleaning and distracted very easy.

Spring is around the corner and I've seen a ton of posts about Spring Cleaning, checklist abound in Blog World.  I get exhausted just reading through the lists much less feel inspired to start using one.  That is until today.  I found one I could manage at My Simpler Life.  It isn't necessarily a Spring Cleaning list, but it does stretch out the whole deep cleaning process out over the length of a year.  That's about how long it would take me to clean anyway :) so I thought I would give it a try.

I printed up this Moth's calendar and put in my Home Journal.

It only lists 1 deep cleaning, decluttering project a day.  Now that is something I can live with.

While working with Modern Retro Woman in January I discovered another fabulous trick that has really helped me maintain my home.  I say "maintain" because it is just maintained in other words, far from spotless but no longer on the verge being being condemned.

She challenged me to find a way to keep focused.  I decided to use a timer.  At first it worked great. I set the time for 25 min and went to town.  But, it didn't take long for my ADD to kick in and it was harder and harder to maintain working for 25 minutes (that's kind of embarrassing to admit).  So, I shortened it to 5 min.  5 min doesn't seem very long, but you would be surprised at how much you can do when you're focused.  So with my timer, which really has become a second appendage (it goes with me everywhere), I have developed a schedule that seems to work for me, for now anyway.

 - Make Beds
- 5 minute clean up in each bedroom (even the kids have spend 5 minutes straightening)
- 5 min kitchen clean up
- 5 min Hot Spot clean up (areas that breed clutter, like the entryway or top of the dryer)
- 5 min bathroom clean up
- 5 min major pick up
- 1 load of laundry (I don't always get this done, but Monday is laundry day so I can catch up if I miss it)

This schedule has actually improved my house considerably and it is so simple! Now, with the Declutter calender I think I see some really good things happening.

Do you have a schedule you'd like to share?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Step 1: Get Organized

Since currently my filing system for our financial state has been a big ol' cardboard box where I have just been dumping things the first thing I need to do is get honest about our finances.  I grabbed the box and drug it over to the paper shredder and went to town shredding anything old, out dated or that I knew had been paid off.

I was left with a small pile. Okay I can breathe now.  Not so bad!  I know each paper has a digit on it that adds up to a much much bigger number, but having less paper clutter has helped calm my nerves.  I feel a little more like this is manageable.

Next I took a notebook to designate as our family financial notebook.  I got the idea from another blog writer that follows Dave Ramsey, Dittle Dattle.  Now I am a nerd and a perfectionist and I could get all hog wild and spend hours creating a major work of art with this financial notebook, but the point is simplicity.  I want to create a notebook that works, that is easy and that I won't spend hours on developing only to abandon the thing once I'm done because it doesn't work in real life.  Frustrated Perfectionists are all nodding their heads in total sympathy for me right now.  Getting out of this hole means changing behaviors!

So here I am a stack of bills and a what?  I'm going to step away for bit while I work up the courage to add up the total....

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mind On My Money

I knew this day was coming and I was dreading it.  At some point I was going to have to prepare myself to face the fact that we have been running on empty for a while financially and have finally run out of gas.  We're sitting on the side of the highway of life with an empty gas tank and a dead battery to boot.

Job loss, failed business, unemployment, lay off have really put us behind and I seriously feel like we're in a deep dark hole.  We ran through every bit of savings and retirement that we had.  If fact we haven't been climbing out of our hole, we have been just sitting in it slowly sinking and ignoring the fact that muck had now risen to our eyeballs.  So today I took the first step and reactivated an old account that I had at Total Money Makeover.  I had started the Dave Ramsey program almost a year ago exactly and just as we had finished reading the books and understanding the program all heck broke.  While we adopted some general ideas of the program it never really took hold for us.  We couldn't focus on getting ahead we were just trying to put one foot in front of the other and hang on for dear life.

So, here we are and to be honest I don't know where here is exactly.  I've been so afraid to look at how far and how bad things have gotten that I have no idea how deep is deep.  Today, spurred on by some encouragement of some friendly sympathetic fellow hole dwellers as well as some reformed ones I took the very first step in getting myself out of this quagmire.

I decided today that as much as I can help it I never will be in the place ever again!  Things change today.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dirty Talk

Before Little Mama was born I came to the realization that in less than 9 months I was going to have 2 babies in diapers.  I kinda felt like that cartoon character that when they think of the money they're going to spend dollar signs flash in their eye balls and that ka-ching sound rings in their ears.  Yikes at roughly $18 per pack two little ones for 3 years (give or take) was going to be on hefty expense.

I did a little research at the time into cloth diapers and decided to try them out. I knew there was going to be some extra work (ewww) involved and I knew that it was going to a bit of change in my thinking like grab and go and what to do in public etc., but I felt the cost savings in cloth diapers to disposable would be worth it in the long run.  Very proud of my vintage frugality I hoped online and ordered my very first set of cloth diapers and liners.  I read all over blogs of other hip Mom's who had embraced this Green living and vintage idea and was encouraged and spurred on by their enthusiasm.

My package arrived the same day as my lunch date with my MIL and SIL, who is also a stay-at-homer.  When I explained that I was bravely tackling cloth diapers with humility of a saint. I got the strangest looks from them, it was as if I had told them I had decided to join a commune.  I shrugged it off.  My MIL went into her war stories of her struggles with nappies and how she had wished she had Pampers when she was a young mom.  Of course this went onto many reminiscent stories that would totally embarrass my Hubby over some wine spritzers.

When I eagerly unpacked the diapers they were adorable, nothing like the plain cloth diapers I remembered my baby brother in, no safety pins, no plastic pants.  I strapped that puppy right on my Little Man and went about my business while he went about HIS business.  I was almost excited and thrilled to change him!  As I laid him down and unfastened the velcro I was appalled and disgusted.  Not necessarily the best idea to try out cloth diapers after watermelon, lots and lots of watermelon!  Being that I was only 3 months along in my pregnancy and suffering from morning sickness like crazy didn't help either.  A wave of nausea hit me hard.  I pulled the diaper off pinching the very edge (the only place I could grab that was completely soaked in filth) I started to panic, NOW WHAT???  So much for rolling the thing up and tossing it, I actually had to figure out how to get this mess out of the material!  I tried shaking it off in the toilet, I looked at the sink with despair on my face as I imagined cleaning THAT up afterwards, I considered the shower and tried desperately to pull out the plug so that it would all go down the drain easily.  I was clueless, all the while I had started heaving as my morning sickness started coming on full blast.  I ended up making a huge mess, not only from the filthy cloth diaper, but from the sickness that was inevitably bound to come no matter how I tried to suppress the need to hurl.  All in all that was my first and LAST time I would try cloth diapers for a very long time.

I have however recently renewed an interest in cloth diapers.  With Little Man potty trained I only have Little Mama to worry about and although she does her fair share of dirty diaper making (she does LOVE to eat) I have found a brand that I actually do love and am currently using.  I have also learned that going cloth doesn't mean having to go cloth 100% of the time.  But, substituting the cloth does make a pack of diapers last a lot longer than they use to.  I had honestly pretty much given up on the idea until my Mom had presented me a diaper and liner set that she had purchased at a baby boutique.  I have to admit when she handed me the box I kinda rolled my eyes and may have actually said something along the lines of "been there done that," but she assured me that these were IMPROVED cloth diapers.  I brought them home and set them on the shelf and left them there until I half heartily gave them a try when we were getting low on Huggies.  I was actually impressed and after a few more tries I decided to buy some additional covers myself.  I now incorporate them into my daily usage.  I use the Flip diapers from Bum Genius

What I like most about them is the stay dry liner.  They really do keep the wetness from Little Mama's bum and the best part is they don't stain.  They look clean every time they come out of the wash and that really gives me peace of mind that I'm putting something "fresh" on my baby.  I love the buttons instead of the velcro (which was made of a very sturdy velcro and sometimes left red marks on their upper chubby thighs).  I tried the velcro and had a few times Little Mama had decided to strip and I found a really fun mess to clean up in the crib after nap time.  She can't undo the buttons and so the diaper stays on nice and firm.  The diaper features multiple snap points so that you can size the diaper from newborn to toddler so buying a cover really is an investment.  What I love most of all is the inside of the cover has a waterproof material which repels stains and liquid, the covers dry faster and they don't stain if the inside liner moves or the mess is exceptionally...well exceptional.   

The covers come in a cacophony of colors.  The starter kit which features 2 covers and 6 stay-dry inserts is listed at $49.95 and individually the diapers are $16.95 which includes the liner and cover.  I purchase mine from  I'm impressed with their shipping ;)  

Tips I've learned the hard way and after a lot of Google searches: 
  • Cleaning is easier if put the liner in the bowl and the flush toilet while holding onto the diaper.
  • Removable shower heads into the potty work great if you don't own one Bum Genius sells one specifically for cleaning dirty diapers
  • Keep a bucket with a small scoop of Borax works great for keeping dirty diapers in between washing
  • Hang drying keeps the diapers improves the longevity
  • The liners are microfiber so avoid any fabric softeners as they reduce the absorbency
  • I use disposables over night
  • I also use disposables in public
Once you get use to the routine and have enough "inventory" that you're not stranded I really do think they're  a good investment.  I also feel better about not filling the landfills with diapers and really throwing money a way with each dirty diaper.  It certainly helps stretch the budget!  Certainly worth the try.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A New Life and A Great Adventure

We are on the brink of new life...we have been through much and I honestly believe that we are at the threshold of a new life of blessings.  I am holding tight to this hope.  My husband was offered a job which would include a move to an area that is quite depressing for me..the high desert.  But, there is an area at the entrance of the desert that is actually a mile high into the San Gabriel mountains.  You leave the cacti and sandstone rock cliffs and enter into sweet smelling conifers, cabins and simple mountain living. My Hubby and I decided that if we had to move that would be our choice location so this past weekend we packed up the kids and went on a short car trip to visit this tiny town of 4,000 people to see if this New Life would be a good change for us.

As soon as we entered the town we were smitten.  Life just seems so much slower, something that I have always wanted.  I'm not a city girl in the slightest I love old fashion living, traditional living and since I was a little girl loved the idea of a small town.  It came no surprise to me that I instantly felt like I was home.

There is not much there.  A couple small local banks, no Bank of America or Chase or even a fast food joints.  Everything is local and rural even the grocery store is privately owned.  At lunch the waitress, even tho she was busy stopped to chat with us, the owner of the cafe came by our table to say hi and even tho we had two little ones who were a bit impatient no one gave us dirty looks our made us feel bad that we dared to bring our toddlers in public to eat! How dare we!

I certainly felt like we were making a good change and as we saw snow patches on the sides of the roads and smelt the chimney smoke from the wood burning stoves my Hubby and I smiled with a giddiness that we haven't experienced in a long time.

As we stopped at an outlook surveying the ski resort slopes and let the kiddo's run around in the snow I realized that it will be a whole other life for us.  Although we only currently live less than 2 hours from the town we live in the valley and there are no seasons.  We don't own "winter" clothing, maybe a slightly warmer jacket than a hoodie and as I precariously jumped over muddy pathways and sloshed in melted snow I realized that I don't even own a boot suitable for this type of living.  There will be some big changes but I'm eager to get them underway.

I've realized many of the furniture we own would be too big and bulky in a small cabin and I've started to contemplate how to shift my style for mountain living; more rustic, more earthy, warm and inviting.  I'm excited and I think the change will be good for our family, especially our children.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Redefining Success

About 3 days ago I sat and watched a PBS program on someone I would never even consider being interested in...John Wooden.  Sports just ain't my thing...I'm more inclined to listen to Oprah then someone who coached collegiate basketball and I still, after watching the show, have no idea really what John did in his life and I have no clue how important the awards were that he earned, but I do know that I had a tremendous breakthrough listening to this man.

John defined success.  He defined it in 1934 and it remained the cornerstone of his coaching, his life, his defined him as well as all of the men who looked up to him for guidance in his years of coaching. John's definition of success was coined as "Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming." 

Wow....when I heard him say tears swelled in my eyes and I sat there, remote in hand, kids running circles under me nodding my head in agreement.  It was one of those moments that the world snaps into place and suddenly you have clarity.  I have been chasing and looking for some purpose for so long and yet I was capable of success all a long right where I am.  I was looking for monetary and social stroking, accolades, important friends to define success.  I felt this life (being a stay at home) was fine for now there were elements I liked but all in all I wasn't very good at it and so when I started working again then THAT would be when my success came, THAT was when I would find my passion and define myself.  What a waste!  I have the opportunity for success each and every day!  

For the past three days when I laid my head down at night I asked myself 1 question, Are you proud of who you were today?   Yes!  Because I knew that question was coming at night so during the day when I was impatient with the kids I sucked it up and found ways to be patient.  I engaged, I created the ideal of what I thought was a good mom/wife/friend/Homekeeper/daughter.  All the different roles I played over the course of the weekend, I asked myself, Am I giving my all?  Am I doing my best?  The result...satisfaction at the end of the night.  Joyfulness which comes with peace of mind-success.

John Wooden may have completely changed my life in one simple statement.