Just another day in paradise…

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Making Progress

Its been awhile since I checked in on my weight loss.

You might have caught some of my recent posts about things that I have been eating in order to have a healthy body and a healthy life. I want to take a minute to share the book that I have been reading.

Trim Healthy Mama was written by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett. They are sisters who have been on a long journey to good health. Over the years the ladies have tried a variety of different techniques to achieve good health. None of the popular methods had worked for them.

There was a point when they discovered that each method had benefits but that they neglected the good of other methods. This cause their bodies to be healthy in some ways while being deficient in others.

The same can be said by most Americans. We live in a culture that prides itself on its speed. And with that speed comes a deterioration of nutrients. Even many people who are healthy eaters struggle to create a balance of nutrients that are needed in our bodies.

Serene and Pearl have looked at popular diets, studies, and what the Bible has to say about diet and have come up with a plan that is not only feasible but makes complete sense.

The basic premise of the plan is to eat meals that are centered around protein and use only use one fuel source. Either fat without carbs (similar to Atkins) or carbs (within moderation) without much fat. The carbs that are chosen are carbs that are filled with valuable nutrients and won’t spike blood sugars.

For my family this is perfect. Blood sugars are an issue, as you can imagine, with diabetes and hypoglycemia. And the plan only requires a few tweaks here and there from the way we were already eating.

But you don’t have to be a mama to glean valuable information from this book.

There are pages and pages explaining how our body works. And it all is in line with everything I have read on my own over the years or been told by my brilliant friend, Deanna (Hi Deanna! Love ya!). There are various recipes, some of which my family has loved and some of which we have used as a basis for different ideas that are just as healthy. I’ll admit that I tend to tweak just about every recipe to make them my own.

I am finally starting to make some real progress. I am eating healthier than ever before because I understand it a little better. Somehow it all has just clicked. And I am starting to see a change not only in the scale but also in the way clothes are fitting.

I was 222 at the beginning of May. Two days ago, on the last day of May, I was 216 (as of today, June 9th, when I am revisiting this unpublished post I am at 213, yay!). That’s 6 pounds in 4 ish weeks. I have lost at least 2 inches around my waist and another 2 around each of my thighs. And I have not been totally faithful to being “on plan” as I learn how to eat and search out new, healthier foods, that are available in the stores that we shop.

I admit that even when things were suggested to me as being healthy, I was hesitant because it was hard for me to get healthy food. I’ve been learning though that I don’t have to go anywhere special to get many healthy items that are very similar to what I already buy.

For example, flax seed is available at Walmart (and sometimes Sam’s). I’ve used it for awhile but I had never really experienced its potential. Coconut and almond flours seemed expensive, and they are, but not if used in smaller portions. The largest amount of almond flour I have used at one time is 3 cups and that was to make a large coffee cake for S’s birthday. Generally I use about 2 tablespoons at a time and that makes the flour last quite awhile.

Searching out and trying new foods has been part of the fun of this journey. I had no idea how much I actually liked sweeten iced tea, for example, until I started sweetening it with stevia extract. It has helped tremendously with my soda drinking (I still do indulge in diet sodas occasionally but it is becoming less and less frequent).

If you are interested in having a healthier life, in a way that is easy for anyone to do, I highly recommend checking out this book. Even if you aren’t a “mama” there are some great gems to be found in these 600 plus pages. Hope that it will bring new life to your diet and lifestyle like it has for me!


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*I have not been reimbursed or commissioned for anything stated in this blog post. It is purely my own experiences and opinion.

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Baby Sophie’s Gift Reveal

Do you remember this post about my soon to be born niece? Here are the photos I originally posted:


And here is the great reveal! I made it into a collage so you can see all the goodies in one picture.

Her outfit included: a headband (with removable flower), a pair of shoes, a dress, and a diaper cover (not intended to go over cloth diapers). Isn’t it adorable?

I got to use my serger and felt like a real professional making this outfit. I am really proud of how it turned out.

I can’t wait for baby Sophie to be born! She is due on the 13th of September so it shouldn’t be long now! I bet her mama is very eager!

If you are interested in making a similar outfit for someone special in your life, here are my inspirations:

Made By Rae’s Itty Bitty Baby Dress Pattern

Dana Made It’s Diaper Cover

Shwin and Shwin’s Pleated Mary Jane

Craftastical”s Fabric Flower Carnation Tutorial

Note: I did not follow any of these tutorials exactly. I simply used them as a guideline (except for Dana Made It’s Diaper Cover, as it included a printable pattern). These are simply tutorials that are out there that have already been done by talented women and that can help you to achieve similar results.

Happy Crafting!


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Five Minute Friday: Dance

I’m joining a new group of bloggers and their attempts to write, with a given prompt, for five minutes one day a week without stopping to worry about anything. No worries about punctuation, grammar, spelling, etc. And then after linking up, the idea is to encourage one another in our writing.

Doesn’t that sound like a fun idea?

So here it goes. The prompt for this week is “dance.”

He spins around in circles. Oh how I love to watch him spin and twirl! The smile lights up his whole face as he starts to get dizzy. But the music that he sings to himself keeps him moving, faster and faster. Moving in circles, spinning around, waving his arms. Balancing against the couch as he loses his balance. Laughing to himself about what he is doing. Singing his song about daddy or about his favorite toy. It doesn’t matter. The song is unconsequental. It is the movements that matter. It is the joy that is important. It is the light that fills my child’s heart and soul. His brother jumps in. How funny they are! They laugh as they see the other one spinning around next to them. Singing together, their own separate songs. They don’t need rythm. They don’t need instruments. All they need are their bodies and the music within their souls. Laughter fills the room and with it, my heart. How did I get so lucky as to be the mother of these two precious little guys? How do I hang on to these precious moments of joy on their faces? I long for it to never leave. For them to not be burdened or weighed down by the heaviness of life. But I know that this is just a moment in their lives. And so I enjoy their precious smiles, laughter, and joy for just one more moment.

I’m linking up to:

Five Minute Friday

Check it out and read all the other wonderful stories inspired by the prompt of “dance.”


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Oh Baby! Oh Baby!

About a week ago I wrote about baby items that I had made. I hope that I have inspired you to go out and find ways to save money on your baby items.

Since then I have been thinking and preparing for our trip home (we leave in just a few more days!). Although I like the side carrier, I wanted one that would hold up better to the tolls that will come with being in the airport for hours, sans-strollers (we have to bring the carseat for S to sit in on the plane, along with all the other baby and diabetes things so we are opting to go without). Here are the three that I have been drooling over online.

Ergo baby: Runs from $115 up depending on the type you get.

Boba Baby Carrier: Runs from $120-125

BabyHawk Mei Tai: These run $89 and up depending on the design. They have options with buckles and they also have designs that are more traditional in nature and require tying.

The Ergo and the Boba carriers have their own bag options:

The Ergo backpack is $48.

The Boba Pack is $100.

Both options connect to the straps of the carrier allowing mom to carry baby and all the necessary items easily and conveniently.

But as I said in my “Oh Baby!” post, we just don’t have that kind of money. If I got the Boba and the bag we would be looking at $250. For a carrier! I’m just not sure, for us, it is worth that investment.

And that brings us to the reason for this post. I wanted to share with you three other options that I found on the internet. (Thank you, thank you, thank you to those of you who offer your patterns for us crafty mamas for free!)

The first is very similar to the Ergo and the Boba. I love it, but I don’t have the nylon straps, or the buckles on hand so I opted to skip it this time around. (Although my hubby wants me to make it for him, lol!)

My Babyvv

Its hard to see in the pictures, but like the Boba and the Ergo it has straps in the back that buckle instead of tying. There is a buckle on each side, under the armpit area, that is adjustable to make the straps tighter and more comfortable.

Since I didn’t have the buckles I kept searching. I wanted one of a similar design but with straps that I can tie in any way I want. I know it will be harder to learn at first but I think I am up to the task. :)

Here is the pattern I found.

Brooke’s Diy Hood to Headrest Mei Tai

This beautiful carrier is a Mei Tai in style (since it has the long straps that you tie), has a wonderful hood (that can be used to cover baby’s head or rolled down as headrest for varying ages of baby), has wonderful padding in the shoulders and waist, and can be used from 7 pounds up to 35 (or 40) pounds.

The pattern is actually more simple than I thought it would be. At first I was a bit daunted. But it has come along so smoothly! I am unsure as to why I have been so afraid of making my own baby carriers. They are kind of addicting!

All of the material I already had on hand. Some of it is leftovers from my mom’s quilting, some of it was given to me by other kindhearted people, and some of it is left overs from other projects (or projects that never happened).

Here’s what I have so far.

carrier side 1

carrier side 2Hood Side 1Hood Side 2

In the above picture you can clearly see the pocket that I added. There are snaps to keep the pockets closed. These snaps are the same ones that I use on my diapers so I know that they will hold up but also not be too uncomfortable. I added the pocket so that I can keep my id, phone, and possibly keys quickly accessible. It works much like a hoodie’s pocket being one big pocket with two openings.

(Sorry about the lighting. It was cloudy today and I was having troubles getting clear pictures. I guess my photoshop and camera abilities aren’t quite up to par yet. Lol!)

To deal with the bag issue (cause how can I carry a backpack over a carrier?) I found the Onbag. Here’s a couple of pictures of what the bag looks like.

The tutorial is a little bit confusing, and most of the people who have done it live in non-English speaking (or at least blogging) countries. But I have an idea of how to put it together from previous bag making experience.

I love that it is totally versatile! The straps are not connected to one another making it possible to wrap it in a variety of different ways, much like the baby wrap itself. It can be attached to a stroller, a knot can be tied to make it into a shoulder bag (without any hard parts making it perfect squashed between mom and baby), used as a backpack, or used under baby. It has little loops that can be connected onto the waist straps of your carrier.

Here’s a picture of my favorite one that I have found online. I just love everything about this one!

Onbag voor Katrien

It is a huge diaper bag but the nice thing is that it is designed in a way that it can squish up when you don’t need all the space. I love that since I have so much to carry with two boys, cloth diapers, and diabetic supplies.

Here’s the material that I have already cut out.

Onbag material

It matches my Mei Tai. I’m not exactly sure how I am going to piece it together yet and which materials are going to be the outer ones and which will be the inner. But that will be the fun part of putting it together!

It takes a really really really long piece of fabric for the straps, sides, and bottom. It is seamless. Since I am using fabrics I have on hand, I am going to have to piece it despite her recommendation not to.

Finally I leave you with a crayon wallet.

There are so many times when the boys and I are stuck at appointments or the boys are restless at a restaurant. S has become very interested in art. So I thought that an art wallet would be perfect for the airplane ride across the country.

Here are the materials that I have set aside for the wallet, the crayons, and the pad. I will have to alter it some in order to fit the bigger crayons but I know my kids won’t be heartbroken to not have very many crayon colors to choose from at this point!

Art Wallet

I wish you could see the second fabric in the background. Its super cute with a variety of different vehicles. All of these fabrics (except the Cars one) are scraps. The Cars fabric I got on the remnants with no clue what I was going to do with it. S is going to be so excited!

Total it is going to have cost me $4 out of pocket for all three of these projects! I’m pretty excited about that!

What was have you been crafty while also being thrifty lately?


Oh Baby!

One thing you will learn as a mother is that babies require a lot of STUFF. And that stuff can be very, very expensive!

On a military budget we can’t afford to buy all the newest and greatest things for our little guys, but that doesn’t mean we have to go without! A little time, creativity, and some searching can lead to a variety of different solutions to everyday problems at a much lower cost.

Yesterday I shared with you some tips and ideas on how to homeschool your toddlers or preschoolers on a budget. Today I want to share with you a few crafts that I have done to help make life with babies easier while still being affordable.

1. The Pea Pod Hip Carrier

I love babywearing! It provides such wonderful snuggle opportunities. But my moby only worked well for the first few months, and I have never been a huge fan of my bjorn. I would love to get an Ergo but we just can’t afford the $100 (although it is on my list for the next child…hint hint ;) ) for something so unnecessary.

I spent hours searching for another option to carry my older babies. I liked the idea of the mei tei, but wasn’t sure about the tying. Then I discovered the Pea Pod Hip Carrier. Perfect for carrying an older baby or toddler, and it has buckles!

Pea Pod carrier

I love this carrier! I’ll admit that T does get heavy in it now that he is 13 months old. And the back isn’t quite as high as I would like. But he still fits in it. And I can still carry him for a decent amount of time. It was absolutely perfect when he was 8-12 months and would have worked even at a younger age. As long as your little one is has good head control, and can be safely carried on your hip, this carrier will work.

The one problem that I did find was that when he fell asleep I had to hold his head. There was no where for his head to go other than back. But this was a minor detail.

If you are looking for a transitional carrier, and you can sew, this is perfect!

I saved money making this by using repurposed fabrics for the body fabric, minkee remnants as the soft inner part, and leftovers from a quilt for the decorative outer part. The only thing I had to buy were the buckles and the interfacing. The buckles were tricky to find, and I recommend ordering them online.

In total it ended up costing me around $15 and some sewing time. That’s a great discount over the $100 or more that most carriers on the market cost!

Note: If you are more well endowed then some (I was wearing a size 16 when I made this), I would recommend making the straps a bit longer around the waist. In her picture there is a lot of strap left over after she tightens it. On me I found that there was very little. Keep this in mind when cutting your fabric and adjust accordingly.

2. Baby Car Seat Cover

I’ve made two of these wonderful covers so far. I just wish I had made one sooner!

monkey car seat cover

The first one I made for T. I wanted to be able to cover him up when we were out and about and he was sleeping. I also wanted him to be nice and warm. Since we live in a place where it is chilly or rainy many days of the year I went ahead and made it with fleece on the backside in order to keep him dry and snuggly warm.

This was one of the simplest projects that I have made, and it has come in handy many times. It only takes an hour or so, and would be perfect for someone who doesn’t have too much sewing experience because it is fairly simple.

The whole project cost me nothing because I had all the materials on hand. The fleece was upcycled from something given to me, the velcro was leftover from another project, and the monkey material I bought with a coupon for another project (that never got done). If you count the monkey material as a purchased item then the total project was probably under $10.

car seat canopy

The second one I made for a friend. She provided me with all the materials, and I stitched it up for her. Since she lives in Arizona I suggested that she go with a flannel backing instead of the fleece.

One of the things that I love about the design of this project is that it works well on the strollers. I have used it on the double stroller many times as a blanket for the two boys. It has also worked by using the velcro tabs on an umbrella stroller. Plus, it works as a cuddly blanket for the car or when out and about. My boys used to fight over who got to use it!

3. Baby Ties

Easter was coming and I had NO clue what to do with my little guys. I didn’t want to spend too much money but I really wanted them to look nice for church. We also have a few upcoming events that will require us to dress more formally than usual. I wanted to save money by getting just one outfit that would work for all of the events.

The idea of ties on my little guys was very charming. I had seen photos of other babies all decked out in their ties and thought that it would be a simple option. So I scoured through my scraps and got to work. These were completely free because they were both made from left over scraps, most of which were given to me from my mom’s quilting scraps!

I did add some scrap interfacing. When I make them again I probably won’t include the interfacing and will probably make them a bit longer.

Boys with their ties

They did not want to take pictures. But aren’t they adorable?

boys in their ties 2

What projects have you done lately? How do you find ways to cut costs in your life? Have you found any good ways to cut costs through your crafting?