My faith

I'm a Mormon.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I am NOT your lovey.

Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a Sweet, Darling Baby Girl. Her parents cherished her, and were only mildly disappointed that she hated sleeping in her own bed. After all, cuddling was so much fun! Of course, they did everything they could to get her to sleep in her bed from the day she was born (such as making the bed smell like them, putting her to bed almost asleep, having a bedtime routine, etc.) but it was all to no avail. This Dear Child despised her bed. Finally, her exhausted parents decided they could all sleep together in the same bed.

The only problem was that the older Baby Girl got, the MORE she started waking up at night. Yes, the bedtime routine was still in place, and occassionally Mommy would try and put the Darling in her own bed. The result of getting anywhere near the crib was screaming that led to hysterics for both Mommy and Baby Girl. So Mommy tried putting baby in the crib less and less often.

To make matters worse, Baby appeared to have food sensitivities. Mommy noticed that whenever baby ate bananas or corn during the day, she woke up much more during the night. Wanting to nurse. This led to a Mommy whose grumpy level was off the charts.

"Hmmm," thought Mommy. "Maybe I should let her cry it out." She tried this half-heartedly, but always felt like she was traumatizing her baby.

Then she read The Baby Sleep Book by the Sears'. This book propagandized that she was selfish if she didn't give up all her sleep for her baby and led her to believe that letting Baby cry would lead to life-long emotional and learning problems. This fear of causing her baby harm is still deeply embedded in her psyche.

Finally one night Mommy decided she'd had enough. That was the last straw. Baby was now almost 1 and still waking up every 2-3 hours at night screaming until being nursed. Mommy decided that she HAD to start letting baby cry it out.

But then she realized: Baby HATES her bed! How is this going to work? Will the upstairs neighbors hate us? Will it even work? Will my baby become completely unable to regulate her own emotions? Will she resent me? How many nights will I have to endure screaming? Should I try a graduated approach? Is there a medical reason Baby still wakes up, or is it a learned behavior?

Maybe YOU can help Mommy?
*Mommy has also read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, No Cry Sleep Solution, and Babywise.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Meal plan MONDAY!

Monday: Chicken and Rice (I don't feel like going meatless again!)
Italian Tuesday: Tortellini Primevera
Whatever Wednesday: Taco Soup & cornbread
Thursday: My birthday! In-laws are watching the girls while the Hubby takes me to dinner!
Friday: Grilled Chicken & Zucchini
Saturday: Homemade pizza

Here we go!

Today I embark on the world of couponing. Wish me luck! I'll share next week how I'm getting organized and how it's working for me! I'd love any tips you'd like to share! Do you coupon? How do you keep things organized? Are there websites you've found particularly helpful?

My mom is a Rock Star

This week's bad-mommy rehab assignment is to post something about my mom that shows her awesomeness.

My mom has 9 kids. She gave birth to eight of them with no intervention or pain medication. Need I go on?

Although your jaw is probably gaping in awe, you may not quite understand the implications of my mom's decisions. She always put her kids first. We were always her priority. She went years wearing the same old shoes and jeans because it there was not enough money for her to buy new clothes. And she never once complained. Who knows how many sleepless nights she endured? (And still does endure! I'm the 2nd of the 9, so she still has 5 kids at home ranging from 9 to 19!) My mom taught me that motherhood requires sacrifice. But she also taught me to take time for myself. I remember my mom spent hours a week reading good books. And she went back to college when I was in high school to get her Elementary Education degree. She now teaches 6th grade, has 6 grandchildren, and serves her family and the young women at church. What an awesome woman! I love you mom!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Meal plan MONDAY!

We'll see how this goes:
(Check G-Cal at the bottom for recipes)

Meatless Monday: Blue-ribbon Pancakes & Eggs.

Italian Tuesday: Spaghetti & Meatballs w/ salad & garlic bread

Whatever Wednesday: LEFTOVERS!

Soup & Salad Thursday: Spinach lentil soup & Broccoli Salad

Grillin' Friday: Steaks & potatoes

Saturday: I decided the last Sat. of every month I would clean out my fridge and we'd eat anything that hasn't gone bad!

Super Sunday: Mom & Dad's for a B-day dinner! (Yep, my Birthday is coming up!)

Bad-Mommy Rehab

Hello. My name is Crystal, and I'm a Mommy Guilt-aholic.

When DD1 was born I read to her every day. It's true. I have missed very few days of reading to her over the last 30 months! Then DD2 was born. I hardly ever read books to her. It would seem easy to read to both girls at the same time, but figuring out the whole 2 kids in under 2 years was a bit of a challenge. So I haven't read to DD2 nearly as much as her older sister. But guess what? She still loves books. She'll sit for 30 minutes and look through books, and since her interest has grown, I've gotten much better at reading to her. So take that you "oh no I'm not treating my 2nd kid the same as my 1st" guilt.

Seriously though, has anyone else suffered from guilt over not being able to do it the same way with child #2? Obviously I do some things better, but it's still hard!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Brita Filter Coupon

Go here for $7 off any filter system and 3-pack of filters.

Food Nanny.

I was watching PBS last weekend and came across THIS show. It's kind of like Super Nanny, except she comes in and helps with meal planning, cooking, dealing with picky eaters, and things like that. She has great ideas, and one that I am going to incorporate to hopefully make meal planning easier is having a theme for each night. She says that this creates something predictable for your family and creates excitement about dinner time. I know that having meals together is so important, so hopefully this will help me and my family.

Here is my plan:

Sunday: crock pot
Monday: Meatless or breakfast for dinner
Tuesday: Try something new/international cuisine
Wednesday: Whatever Wednesday=leftovers!
Thursday: Italian
Friday: Soup & Salad
Saturday: Grilling

I may have to adjust things as I get going. I'm still working on keeping my monthly grocery budget at $250 or less, and I may actually make it this month!

I think I will also plan days to make home-made snacks, like granola, muffins, pita chips, things like that. Or maybe I will do those kind of things on Saturday morning. How do you organize your meal planning and menu?

September craft!

Well, I completed a craft/home-making project in August, and I can't tell you how proud I am of myself. We just moved last month and getting organized is top on my list of priorities!

I love all the space in my new kitchen, although counter space is minimal. I've wanted to get some kind of spice rack that I can mount on my walls. Then yesterday I was at a friend's house and saw something like this.

I fell in love. It's magnetic, isn't that genius?! This is my project for September. I know I can get the little containers at Bed, Bath & Beyond, but my budget is $20 total, so I may have to shop around for cheap containers. I'm excited, so stay tuned to see how my September craft goes. ( I have to wait until then to do it because I'm desperately trying to stick to our budget, and I didn't budget for this in August.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I have been working on these curtains for MONTHS! What a relief to finally finish them. I had planned them to be valances in our old apartment, but they fit perfectly as curtains in DD1's room! Check out the craftiness!

Why we aren't buying a home.

Ever since we finished college, many people who love us (and some who don't) have told us that buying a house is our next step in life. While I know they mean well, I'd like to combat some myths about home-ownership, as well as explain why buying a home isn't right for us just yet.

Myth #1: You buy a house now to get tax credits.
That's kind of like saying "I'll give you $3000 if you give me $10000." (To steal from Dave Ramsey). What we would be paying in interest would never make up for what we would save on our taxes.

Myth #2: Don't waste your money renting!
A little math for you: If you take out a $165,000 loan for a home at 4.75% on a 30 yr fixed mortgage (rates are low now!), your monthly payments would be about $860, and you would pay about $145,000 in interest. Now, let's say we live cheaply and pay $800/mo for rent for 5 years. During that time I would be paying about 45,000 on rent. But I would have been paying $37,000 in interest on a home. If, during that time, I save for a sizable down payment, I will save $$$ later on mortgage insurance and interest.

Rent isn't wasting money! You are exchanging money on a place to live. And you don't have to be responsible for routine maintenence.

Myth #3: You are building equity, which is good.
Really? What if my property value decreases? A home is not an investment, or, at least, it's a risky one. A home is a place to live.

Reason to wait #1: no money!
We want to have a large down payment. Like 100%. That may be unattainable (imagine saving $1000/month for 15 years!), but we will have at least 20% down before we buy a home, so that we won't have to pay mortgage insurance. We want to own at least a little bit of our home when we buy it. If we do finance our home, we'd like to do it with a 15 year mortgage.
We also have a student loan that takes a few hundred a month away from our income!

Reason to wait #2: Uncertainty
We are not sure where the next 2-5 years of our lives will take us. With this economy, who knows how secure anyone's job is? The last thing we want to do is buy a house and then be stuck with it should we move/lose a job! It just isn't the right time for us.

Reason to wait #3: No crappy house for us
Why would we rush such an important decision? When we DO buy a house, and we will, we want it to be a home we enjoy. A place we want to stay. And we don't want to fix stuff up!

Reason #4 to wait: We're not worried.
Interest rates are incredibly low right now. (But banks are not really lending either!) Home prices are also dropping. Who knows, the prices may double by the time we look into buying. But oh well. If it's not right, it's not right!

Buying a home is a great opportunity, and for those of you who have already done so, that is great. We can't wait to buy a home, but there are reasons why we aren't even looking into it yet...

Things to cook Tuesday

Here is a recipe I can't wait to try, courtesy one of my favorite cooking blogs, Our Best Bites:

Sweet and Spicy Cucumber Slices

1-1/2 lbs cucumber (about 3 medium), peeled, halved lengthwise & thinly sliced
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c rice vinegar, seasoned or regular
1/2 c water
3 Tbs sugar*
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbs minced red onion

Place cucumber slices in a colander sitting over a bowl, sprinkle with salt and toss well. Let sit for 1 hour refrigerated. It doesn't hurt to toss the cukes a few times while they drain as well. While cucumber slices are draining, prepare marinade below.

Combine vinegar, water, sugar and red pepper in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cook until reduced to a 1/3 cup (about 10 minutes). If for some reason you boil for too long, just add a little water until you have 1/3 C. Remove reduction from heat and add onion. Let mixture cool to room temp.

When cucumbers are done resting, combine with the vinegar reduction. This can be served immediately, but for best results refrigerate until well chilled.