Archive | September, 2011

Children’s Growth Awareness Day by the Magic Foundation

30 Sep
Today is Children’s growth awareness day. I got this from an e-mail list I subscribe to, and think it’s so important! 
The MAGIC Foundation has declared September 30th as Children’s Growth Awareness Day. We have nicknamed this event, Growth Spurt. This year is our first attempt to unite families throughout the world with the goal of spreading information about the importance of monitoring a child’s growth pattern.
On Sept. 30th, MAGIC families throughout the world will be sending out emails, posting to groups, putting up posters….about children’s growth. It is a monumental effort by just a few (our children’s conditions are rare) but we are hoping that our friends and family help us and keep spreading the word! Together we will change children’s lives!
Why is children’s growth so important?
Children’s growth (how much they grow each year) is a major indicator of their overall health. If they are growing at least 2 inches each year (after the age of 2 and before puberty) it is a strong sign that they are healthy. If they are NOT growing this bare minimum, it can be an early warning sign of underlying health issues such as disease, tumors, hormone imbalances or unidentified
syndromes. Paying attention to those height markers made on walls by parents, and the growth charts at the physicians offices is a routine and often overlooked tool for catching problems in their early stages.
Many people do not realize the importance of this information and consequentially children may struggle for years with an unhealthy body or serious problem developing which can be stopped or treated much sooner if people become aware of the signals his or her body is sending via their growth pattern.
True or False?
Parents who complain that their child is too small, or developing too early are simply trying to make their kids “designer” kids to given them advantages over other children. FALSE! Parents who face these medical problems only want their children to be healthy. It is just a part of life that unlike as an adult, during childhood how fast or slow the kids are growing can be an early warning signal to medical professionals and parents. The MAGIC Foundation parents are not using medical treatments such as growth hormone etc. for cosmetic purposes. For our children, it is a true medical need which is often overshadowed by the sensationalized abuse of this medicine by high profile celebrity and sports figures.
What is The MAGIC Foundation’s Annual Growth Spurt?
This is an online event by which everyone in MAGIC teams up to go online and spread the word about the medical importance of children’s growth. We are mainly parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and other supporters who personally know an affected child. We are small in number due to the rare frequency of these medical problems but we are HUGE in heart and effort! We gather online, to reach out to those who may not understand these issues in the hopes of helping those
children who are still lost in the system – and have not been diagnosed.
What good does spreading this information really do?
Efforts like this have literally saved the lives of children. Simple information about children’s growth have helped parents realize that something was wrong, pointed them to online educational resources, and helped them find their way to experts- quickly. Serious problems like brain tumors have been identified with enough time to make a life long change for children.
What is the goal of International Children’s Growth Awareness Day?
We hope that our combined efforts will help educate 100,000 people about children’s growth.
How you can help!
If you think someone can benefit from this message, send them to
www.magicfoundation.org
Why should you get on board with this challenge?
Because you are probably just like us…hard working people who have busy lives. Alone, we cannot possibly make a noise loud enough for the world to hear…but together we just might! Take 5 minutes and send an email. Ask your friends to pass along this simple yet potentially life saving information. I assure you that somewhere along this information path, a child’s life will be changed!
Thank you. Together we are MAGIC!

Sample Grocery List

30 Sep
Feel free to copy and paste this into word, delete the cells and use it for yourself! (This is what we went shopping for yesterday. lol)
Grocery List 9/29/2012
Produce
Dairy
Meat
Canned Foods
Frozen
10 Onions
Milk
2 whole chickens
6 oz tomato paste
Mixed veggies
3 Green peppers
Cheddar cheese
3 lb chuck roas
Chicken stock (4)
1 Red pepper
Monterey jack
1 hambone, 2 c. ham
Beef stock (1)
3 tomatoes
Cream cheese
5lbs ground beef
8 oz. green chilis
Fresh parsely
Sour cream
1.5 lb round steak
Fresh cilantro
Butter
sausage
2 Jalapeño pepper
Eggs (2 doz)
½ lb salami or pepperoni

 

 
Celery

 

 

Carrots
Dry Food
Mushrooms
Bread/Cereal
Rice noodles
 
1 lb Romaine  or spinach
Baking
GF oatmeal
Egg type noodles (gf)
Sweets & Snacks
Dried thym
1 lb split peas
Dried basil
1 lb lentils
Condiments
Chili powder
Pinto beans
ketchup
Garlic powder
Kidney beans
Olive oil
Veggie shortening
Cheap oil
cumin
Beverages
Health /Beauty
Paper Products
Cleaning
Miscellaneous
Orange juice
 
Cranberry juice
 
 
 

If all the world could go into a binder, there would be no war…

30 Sep

I’ve been obsessed with my organization binder. It started with a “Home” organization binder last year. I cannot claim credit for this, I saw the idea on another housewife’s blog which I cannot find anymore (and that makes me sad). Then, I created my “Baby” binder for pregnancy. Most recently, I created the grocery binder. I’m trying to cut $100 out of our monthly grocery budget. I *think* I can do it.

Anyway.

Each binder has the same basic components:
Binder (in a pretty color…)
tabbed dividers
looseleaf paper
page protectors for magazine articles
sticky note pad
Printed info sheets

I’ll walk you through the Baby Binder. It’s the most colorful.

Step one: Gather supplies, articles, coupons, to do lists, etc. Print whatever you need off the computer (I made to do lists, calendars, found tips and random interesting articles). And rip out the interesting magazine articles from those free baby and parenting magazines. 🙂 Don’t forget all the free goodies from when you register places!

Step 2. Take a look at what you have and think about what’s important for your sanity at the moment. I stuffed all the baby coupons into the blue pocket thingy first to get them out of the way, and separated all the samples (KEEP THEM! they are perfect diaper bag size things for emergencies!)

(I LOVE all these shutterfly cards you get in everything now. YEY Christmas cards!)

Step 3. Label your tabs and sort all the stuff. I’m still figuring out exactly what I need but this is what I have for tabs: To Do Lists, Interesting Bits, Nursery, Registry, Medical Info and Questions, Birth Plan, Important Numbers, and Calenders. So put the magazine photos you love of nurseries in the nursery tab, print a list of all the doctors and urgent care centers, plus mom, dad and whoever else you may forget in the important numbers tab, etc. You get the idea. Keep looseleaf in the back (and in your questions tab) for writing down ideas and thoughts as they appear, and also tuck some extra page protectors in the back for new stuff as you get new magazines. 

That’s really it. 

The Grocery Binder is set up in the same way. My tabs are for: Meal plans (my list of meals and the cookbooks they came from for the next two weeks), Shopping lists, Coupons, Product info (when produce is in season, what to use first, etc) and my price book (I’m working on it). I also have another pocket for receipts to keep them handy. I’d also like a tab for recipes that are pulled from magazines and money saving tips.

It basically looks the same as the other binder!

Using the same process, sort your materials and put into appropriate tabs. I added my goal sheet in the very front to help keep me motivated. Organizing and saving money this way is a lot of work but I expect it to pay off. My goals are simple to start: Cut $100/ month out of our grocery budget (by eliminating unnecessary stuff and shopping smarter) Cut fast food and take out spending- limit to once per month. These goals are followed by what we want to do with the money we save, these are big goals, but if I cut $100 or more from the budget… they can be realized! They include: Paying off our truck, starting college funds for the twins, and vacations! (You MUST have a fun and sort of frivolous goal. ;)) I’m also adding a calculator to the binder.

If you want to learn more about grocery cost cutting, pick up Family Feasts for $75 a Week, by Mary Ostyn. I’m obsessed with this book. I picked it up pretty cheap on Amazon and it’s got GREAT ideas that we are implementing.

Don’t be afraid to bring your binder with you. We brought ours to the store last night, and sure, we got some looks, but we shopped efficiently. I’m going to try to post some of the pages I made, like my shopping list somewhere on this blog as well. Another tip? Keep all your lists and meal plans, you can come back to them (and be sure to date them) so in a few months when you don’t feel like going through all the recipes, just grab an old list and head to the store!

Hope this little info helps! 🙂 

New Laundry soap recipe

24 Sep

We ran out of laundry detergent. It was the store bought kind. I’ve been lazy… I admit. But, I didn’t want to go back out and buy more. So I’m EXTRA lazy. I had all the ingredients except for a bar of soap. *sigh* I had decided that the “liquid” homemade stuff was too messy so we switched to powder but I didn’t pick up a bar of soap. BUT, I ALWAYS have Dr. Bonners liquid concentrate in the house.

Here’s the recipe:

1 cup Borax
1 cup Laundry Soda
1/2 cup Dr. Bronners
1/4 cup oxy clean (for good measure)

Mix up and break the clumps from having the liquid stick with the powders. Now you have a sort of lumpy powder (should be like when you cut butter into flour when you are making biscuits). But I swear it’s good enough. Voila! Laundry soap. Use about 2 tbs per load and you are good to go. I’m using the scoop from my last box of powder (small scoop) and it seems to work out just fine.

The best part? This is INSANELY cheap. And all the ingredients are awesome housecleaning supplies.

Accomplished!

23 Sep

I CLEANED!!!!!!!! *Happy dance!*

….then I needed to go to the doctor! LOL.

Okay, it wasn’t the cleaning that did it, but probably was irritating.

Anyway.

I cleaned and organized much of the downstairs. It feels fabulous. BUT…. I didn’t get rid of anything. Turns out, it wasn’t as bad as I thought once I put everything where it belonged. Imagine that. There are certainly areas where stuff will be donated, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Like, I’m not going to end up on TLC’s Clean House. (That goodness, that show is terrifying!!!!)

That said… I still probably have more “clutter” than the average person, but when that’s “comfy clutter” (throws and blankets, books and yarn…) How can you argue too much? I tried getting rid of a few things but stopped and said, “I USE this…” As in, I used it like, yesterday.

So… I’m enabling myself. BUT, if it’s at a point where I haven’t used something in say, 6 months… it’s gone. 🙂

——————————-

We also worked on our baby registry! I feel like it should have been more fun, perusing the baby aisles, something I’ve been longing to do for years now… but…. well… It was okay. I was a little dismayed, they really don’t have what we are looking for. I don’t want plastics and flashing lights and weird noises to “educate” and “stimulate” my children, so that stuff was out. We are cloth diapering so a whole aisle was skipped there…. We chose car seats (Graco My ride convertible… I’m not too big a fan of the removable infant seats) and found some super cute hooded towels (a duck and a monkey) but… I don’t know. I’ve realized that babies don’t really need SO much, and I don’t want them to start life with a ton of stuff they don’t need. Plenty of comforts, yes… but do they need thing that flash and light up and talk and sing? no.

Things I like:

Soft carriers
Amber teething necklaces
Wooden toys
Hand made goodies
cloth diapers

…..I can’t think of much else right now.

I’m just being cranky now though, I think. LOL!

BUT! All in all, I feel very accomplished.

Horder

19 Sep

This is a common problem. Hubby and I are both pack rats. It’s just a fact of life. We’ve been in the possition of not having much money, so we had to keep something “just in case” because if we needed it… there would be no replacing it. Not to say we are “well off” now, but it’s better than it was. Our junk problem however, has not improved.

How do I get rid of this STUFF?

I go through this at least twice per year. Usually in the spring and the fall (I’m sure if we look back there’s something about it in here). But the cleanliness and simplicity never lasts. I fall victim to the rampant consumerism even though I love “going green” and being “frugal.” Somehow… I accumulate stuff. I don’t do a lot of shopping, but a lot comes from hand-me-downs and thrifting… and my crafts. Oops.

As you know… we’re having twins. Their expected arrival is at the end of February, and before that time (actually, before the holidays) I would like to clean out the house so there is a fresh sense of nesting, cleanliness and order before the chaos of two little people join the household.

HOW ON EARTH AM I GOING TO ACCOMPLISH THIS???

I don’t know. I’m being introspective about the why and the how of my accumulation, but I can’t get passed it. I need a therapist! Everytime I try to get rid of stuff, there is always this sense of loss, or I find some reason why I NEED it (so and so gave it to me, I love it though it has no purpose, I MIGHT need it someday…)

It doesn’t make me feel like a goodwife to have all this clutter. It feel messy, and bogged down and, well, NEEDY. Not good. This is not how I want my kids’ lives to start either! I love simplicity, warmth and comfort. Now I just need to find a balance between the “stuff” and the desired goals of simplicity. It’s going to be hard… But I think I’m going to start. Each day I am going to work on one space (and NOT move things into other rooms that don’t belong there. nope… not this time).

Do we think it will work? It has to. Now it’s for the babies and not just me, though arguably my mental health is pretty important!

Cheers!

Lanolizing your woolies

13 Sep

To “lanolize” simply means adding lanoline back into the woolies. Lanolin is the grease that is naturally occurring in wool and makes it both soft and water resistant. SO, to make the woolies (wool soakers, longies, bloomers, whatever) “water proof” we add extra lanolin.

Supplies:
PURE lanolin
Dishsoap or baby shampoo
wool wash (optional)
measuring cup
wisk
Sink, bucket or bowl depending on how many pieces you need to do

TO begin… clean your sink, gather your supplies and start filling your sink with tepid/ lukewarm water

Next, turn your woolies inside out, and heat up about a cup of water to boiling.

Add lanolin to the hot water, this is the first lanolizing of these garments so I like a good sized blob, about the size of my finger tip per piece, but in subsequent lanolizings a pea size amount per soaker will generally do the trick, but you’ll learn what works best for you.  

Add a squirt of soap to emulsify the lanolin, whisk until whitish and add to the sink. The water in the sink will become cloudy.

Add woolies

Smoosh around, rubbing the lanolin water into the fibers. Let soak, flip over and continue to soak.

Remove from the bath and roll in a towel to remove excess water. Lay flat to dry.

Voila! Lanolized woolies! If it’s they’re first lanolizing they may not be totally leak proof yet. Sometimes it take two sessions to get the lanolin in the wool well enough, but after that you should need less lanolin and only every three weeks or so.