Sunday, January 31, 2010

Frugal Fashion: Part 1- The Education

After considering (and blogging about) the sad state of my wardrobe I decided to shop. My ever supportive husband gave me half of a small windfall that had come his way and being so financed, I was off.

Except I wasn't. I first had to do some research to what was even consided fashionable currently. Not only that, but I had to figure out how to make those styles look good on my almost 30 (gulp) and slightly chubby frame. After some research and considerable time web surfing, these are the fashions that are "in" that can be pulled off in my mommy lifestyle.



1.Boots: Tall or the bootie kind. I have tall boots in black, brown and coyboy.
What not to wear: Matt told me there is nothing sexy about Uggs. Oh well, might wear them anyways.

2. Funky tights: Worn with tunic style tops or skirts. Pair with ballet flats or boots.
What not to wear: beige tights or hose
3. Longer shirts/tunic style tops: Can be flowy or fitted. Hippy-ish.
What not to wear:Shirts that just hit the top of your pants are out. If you raise your arms and belly shows, your shirts too short.



4. Scarves: Worn around the neck with tops, not jackets. Accessories go a long way to make you look up to date. Scarves are easy, cheap and fun to toss on with whatever you have got.
What not to wear: Ummm...pretty much anything goes on this one


5. Menswear: Pair a guys suit vest with anything uber girly. Pinstripes. Mini tuxito coats. Masculin looking items
What not to wear: don't over do this one, you still want to look like a girl.


6. Boyfriend sweaters: long sweaters that are fitted. Worn layered.

What not to wear: turtleneck sweaters or sweaters that just come to the top of your pants, they look dated.

Also in: fun chunky necklaces. ballet flats. fur. REALLY tall boots. ruffles.

Step one was to tackle my wardrobe. I pulled out stuff that doesn't look good on me. I did worry that I had some things in the laundry, if they needed to be washed then I have obviously been wearing them and don't want to toss them out. I grabed out shirts that are too short or too fitted. I pulled out things that were stained and ratty. We will examin the contents of my closet on the next blog post

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Feeling Crafty

With my back being all jacked up (yes, that is the technical medical term) I have been spending a lot of time on my butt. My house is a wreck, but that is another post. Since I can't do anything else, I figured I might as well try my hand at all the things on my list that I wanted to make. Things I have made this week: hoodie towels for each of my girls, cute mama and baby hat set for Amanda's birthday and a sweater dress for Eliana. As you can tell, I have been trolling the crafting blogs as of late. I shouldn't, they just give me all kinds of projects to work on instead of doing thing that need to be done.






I would never insult all the REAL seamstress' by referring to myself as one, but all of these have been sewing projects. I like to sew, I just don't like patterns. It might be because they confuse the bejebes out of me and make me say words I don't want my children to repeat, or it might just be my disdain for being told what to do in general. Authority issues? Who, me?!





Did I mention that all of these project use make use of stuff I just have laying around? So I guess I have been doing something this week,i have been saving the planet, reduce reuse recycle!. If you have any towels or clothing laying around, please send it my direction. I have all kinds of projects I want to try. I don't care if it is stained, to small or out of style. oh, and thanks for feeding the addiction.






Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Party Time

MMmmmmm...brownies
Happy Birthday to you...
Making Pizza and Fruit kabobs for lunch

Addilyn celebrated her second birthday with her friends today. The kids made there own pizzas, fruit kabobs and decorated heart shaped brownies. She is getting teeth and feeling a bit clingy, but everyone still had fun.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Haiti

This is a blog I follow and a mission we support. Read it and then try complaining about your bad day.


http://pwojeespwa.blogspot.com/

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pain

My husband was right, which happens more often than I like to admit. I should have done it. I should have gone to the chiropractor a month ago when my back was sore. But it was only a little sore, you know the type, you wake up in to morning and stretch and wiggle trying to get your spine to play nice with your muscles.

Today it happened. I woke up stiff and sore, like usually, and blamed it on 9 months of pregnancy, hauling around a 2 year old and nursing a baby while multi-tasking. I took the 3 girls to church and taught Sunday school, feeling fairly uncomfortable. Annabelle hates the car and I tried to comfort her while driving, twisting in a way that would impress a pretzel. By the time I got home, I couldn't take a deep breath due to the pain. It was the kind of pain that makes labor look preferable.

I hobbled inside best I could, barely able to climb the stairs. I grabbed some easy stuff for the girls to eat for lunch, nursed the baby to sleep and limped into a shower turned hot as I could stand. It didn't help. I put the girls down for a nap and popped 3 ibuprofen. It didn't help. Annabelle woke up, I couldn't hardly pick her up. I almost dropped her so I sat down on the floor. I couldn't get up and poor baby Annabelle had to finish her nap on the floor. I took a Percocet. It took the edge off. The big girls woke up and I needed to change Addilyns diaper. I couldn't sit on the floor to do it, she had to climb up on the changing table. Good thing she is such a monkey. I took a second Percocet. By dinner the pain was manageable. I could pick up the baby and go up the stairs.

I feel like an idiot, what would have been a simple chiropractic adjustment or two has now turned into something that will take time to heal. Matt is in New York until Thursday, so I will continue to self medicate until then.

On a happy note, I think Percocet is great for stress relief. I might even be a better mother on it. Addilyn spooned applesauce down her shirt during dinner and I was only mildly annoyed. My house is a wreck but it doesn't even bother me. Wait a minute, my house is usually a wreck and it rarely bothers me. Oh well, a drug can't do everything.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Two years ago today

Two years ago today, Addilyn Joy Crocker was evicted from her watery home and forced to live in this cold world. She was 6 pounds then, today she is 24 pounds. She was full of spunk and loved to be held and that is still true today. If age was based on attitude, Addilyn turned 2 about 6 months ago. When annabelle showed up, she was no longer the baby and has seemed like a big girl.
Nana and Grandpa came up to spend the day with us, we enjoyed breakfast for dinner (Addie's favorite) followed by chocolate cake. Later this week we will have a birthday party with her friends and then next Friday we will celebrate with my family. Poor kid, no one loves her


Friday, January 22, 2010

Super Powers

Superman can fly, Spiderman can climb walls and Batman drives a cool car. My super power? Coupons. Yeah baby, I see your green with jealousy just like the hulk. Ok, the Hulk is not green because he is jealous, he is green because...why IS he green again?

Today's deals:

Colgate: normally $1.95 on sale for $1. Coupon for 50 cents the doubles to $1= Free Toothpaste
Herbal Essence (big bottle): normally $5.95 Clarence for $3.50 coupon for $1 off= $2.50
Paper towels (6 pack): normally $8.00 on sale for $5.99 with $1 coupon= 4.99 or less than a dollar a roll.
Mascara: normally $4.80 on sale for 2.88 with a 50 cent coupon that doubles to $1= $1.88

I saved $10 in coupons today, I saved $35 in "card savings" by shopping sales. This is the best way to get stuff to donate to the food pantry because really, who needs 10 tubes of toothpaste sitting around. I think I will make myself a cape to wear to the store, maybe it will inspire others to seek out there inner coupon super hero.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lacking

If you are in any way related to me, feel free to skip this post. If you are the type of person who slows down to gawk at a car wreck and reads gossip magazines in the check out line (or buys them!) feel free to enjoy.

It randomly hit me last night while reading an article in Redbook that my wardrobe is seriously lacking. Yes, we have discussed this before, but I am talking about ANOTHER area of my wardrobe. I don't own one cute nightie. Not one. Pity my husband, I have become one of those boring wears t-shirt to bed type ladies. Truly, it isn't all my fault. I had some at one time, but managed to "grow" out of them. I am practical and cute little lace and satin things are not. That, and I have yet to find one that caters to lactating women. Come on Victoria, get with the program! Some of us actually USE our breasts for functional purposes instead of entertainment!

I have already told Matt that I am buying all new under garments. I have beige nursing bras and stretched out cotton undies. Wow. No wonder my husband travels. Even typing that is depressing. Once again, this is not totally my fault. Nursing bras are less than sexy. New underwear is expensive and I am cheap.

I believe my relationship with my husband in all its aspects should be a top priority in my life. Matt loves me, cotton britches and all, but I would love to get my sexy back. I want to embrace all the "hats" I wear as a woman; mother, sister, friend, wife and lover. Here is to a new set of drawers, made from something other than cotton, a bra that supports my finest assets and maybe even something cute to wear to bed.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Potty Training

We are always in a rush. When our babies are tiny, we can't wait for them to sleep through the night, forgetting in our sleep deprived haze how sweet it is to snuggle in the wee hours of the morning with a tiny little one. As they get a little bigger, we want them to walk. While concentrating on how nice it will be not to have a back ache and a babe in arms, we forget that a child who walks is a child who gets into a lot more stuff.

Potty training falls into this same category. When the focus is not having to scrape poop of a tiny hiney, we forget that for the next few months we will be visiting every bathroom at every place we go (no pun intended). Not only will we be visiting the potty's, we will be making a mad dash to them trying to get there in 4.3 seconds notice we received before the inevitable puddle on the floor. And I won't even discuss the poop, least the childless who read this decide never to reproduce.

Addilyn is potty training and not because I want her to. If I did want her to, she wouldn't. Elie is potty training her and Addilyn is catching on. At home she doesn't want to wear a diaper and she does pretty good. She likes the "big girl" aspect and Elie likes the fact that if she take Addilyn to the potty and Addie goes, she gets a jelly bean along with her sister. Elie also likes to be in charge of anything, including when others pee. If it goes well, I will be hiring Eliana out to those of you with toddlers in diapers who want them trained. You provide the jelly beans.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Big Girls

I have been struck lately how quickly my girls are growing. My friend Jen posted a picture of out daughters when they were babies. My other friend Jenny (yes, I have a lot of friends named Jen, you should see all the Amanda's I am friends with!) posts all these pictures of her little boys who don't look so little any more, and they are the same ages as my girls!

I was again reminded of how not little Eliana was while shopping. I was hitting the sale racks, buying clothes for her for next year, shopping in the baby to 5T section. As I walked to the front of the store, I noticed the little girl section has some sale racks. Drawn to the "75%" off stickers, I checked it out. The extra small size is 4/5. Elie wears that size. My baby wears clothes from the little girls sections. Oy. How did it happen? I mean, they sell little tiny bras in that section, surely she isn't there yet!

I did manage to buy 3 pair of pants and 6 shirts, all for under $2 a piece, which cheered me up considerably. Elie may be 5 next year, but at least she won't be naked.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Soccer Mom

I used to be cool. Ok, not really really cool, but at least passable so. Not so much anymore. I drive a mini van. My entire wardrobe can be summed up in 2 words: jeans and cotton knit. I have become the yoga pant wearing soccer mom I never wanted to be. Lest I offend anyone, I have nothing against soccer moms, I just didn't want to BE one.

I like clothes. I like fashion, trendy things and funky stuff that expresses who I am. What does it mean then that most of my clothing is solid color, functional and disproportionately black and white?

Today I was shopping at Target today, like I do every Friday I checked the sale rack. You know I love a good deal. I came across a cardigan I liked in white and a cute sweater in black. I picked them both up, knowing they will match everything I own and would be highly functional. Sigh. I bore even myself.

And then I saw it. The fabric is dry clean only, it was not kid friendly and I can't think of one place I am going in the next six months that I would need to wear it so of course I went and tried it on. It was cute. Really cute and on sale. I bought it if for no other reason than to prove that I can not only look like a grown up instead of just a mommy, but I can look sexy too! Somewhere beneath the spit up stains, cotton knit and denim, there is a woman who actually gives a rip about how she looks. Maybe some day when I have had a little more sleep, a few more dollars and the ability to use the bathroom by myself, I will find this lady. I will introduce myself to her and pray by boobs are still perky enough to look good in my new, little black dress.

Friday, January 15, 2010

MOPS


We go to MOPS every first and third Friday. While MOPS itself doesn't hold a lot of appeal for me, I love the women there. I love Eliana's teacher, Mrs. Bull. Elie isn't really in any Sunday school program and we didn't choose to do preschool this year, so it is nice for her to get some classroom experience. Here is Eliana's picture from today and her telling the story she learned.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fun Snack Idea

I am always looking for creative things to keep my children busy. This winter has been cold so far and with a tiny baby and a total of 3 children, we don't go out much. Here is a fun snack idea: cut an apple into thin slices give children a small cookie cutter. Give them peanut butter and and a knife to "frost" the shape they cut out. Provide rasins, coconut, nuts and, if your a cool mom, maybe even sprinkles to decorate shapes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Christmas


Yes, Christmas was a while ago but I have some cute pictures I wanted to share. Why now? Well, my friends, while I am not a great "details person" my husband is worse than I am. This explains why our house looks like it does. It also explains why we couldn't seem to find the card reader for the camera we used to take all our Christmas pictures. Matt just got a new one. Mom, I could hear you sigh just now. You too, Grandma.


A family tradition of ours is opening one present on Christmas eve. That present is always new pj's. This year the theme was pink and brown polka dots. Here is Annabelle sporting hers.

If this doesn't capture the essence of what it is like to open present on Christmas morning with three small children than I don't know what would.

Monday, January 11, 2010

No Bake Cookies

Warning: these are way to quick and easy to make and are highly addictive. I have pretty much lived on these since that baby was born, not sure if it is because they are so yummy or because I keep telling myself that they are actually a health food. Maybe it is because I am sleep deprived and these live on the counter for easy access. If only I could figure out how to make them without all the sugar. The kids love to help me make these and they love them as much as I do. I am not sure what Matt thinks of them, poor guy never gets a chance to taste one.

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. milk
2 c. sugar
3 Tbsp. coco powder

Bring the above to a boil over med./high heat. Boil for 90 seconds while stirring. Add

1/2 c. crunch peanut butter
3 c. oats (quick cook work better than old fashioned)
1 tsp. vanilla

Scoop hot mixture and drop by the spoonful on to waxed paper. Tell children they can't have any until they cool while secretly licking the bowl and spoon while they are not looking. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Single Parenting

I made it to church today, the second week in a row, with all 3 girls. Why is this news worthy? Because Matt is gone. I am manning this vessel single handedly. Most of the time it is smooth sailing, but I am ready for the relief crew.

I often hear from friends "wow, I don't know how you do it"! Some days I don't have a clue how we make it, but we do. It isn't really like I have a choice, I have yet to find the address to send in my resignation letter. I never wanted to be a single parent, and yet for many days a month, I am just that.

At what point do you say "Honey, you know that job, the one that pays all our bills and that your really good at and absolutely LOVE? Yeah, its just not working for me." Matt has been traveling the last 5 years of our marriage. It is getting old, very old. I don't know what to say when Addilyn is laying on the floor, sobbing because she wants her daddy. I want him too.

Matt really has no clue what my life looks like, and to be fair, I don't have a clue what his looks like either. We live in very different worlds when he travels. I am trying to keep everyone in clean clothes, fed several times a day and wondering when I can sneak in a shower. He is working long days, eating at yummy places while trying to network with the right people and coming back to a spotless room with a bed that isn't his.

I signed up for the life of motherhood. I chose to not pursue my career but to raise my family. I knew it wasn't the easy choice I just didn't think I would be doing it alone so often.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Grandparents


I am so blessed, I have grown up knowing all my grandparents. Both sets love Jesus, have been married for over 50 years and have good relationships with there kids. Neither set is perfect or claimes to be, but they have been so good to have in my life. It is fun that my children have gotten to know them. The above is Grandma Betty holding Addilyn.
My Grandpa had heart surgery. He was doing well but is now in the ICU. My Grandma just fell and broke her hip. It is so hard to watch them get old and fragile. I want to help, to honor who they have been in my life. I want my children to see what it means to help those who can no longer do everything themselves. I want my grandparents to live the rest of there lives in comfort, knowing they have family around them that loves them.
And yet. If I could I would move them in with me, but our house is too small and we have too many stairs. If I could I would put them up in a place where they had people to take care of them and they felt comfortable, but we haven't the money. If I could I would visit each of them every day so they would know that they are loved, but I have 3 small children. So I am left praying, sending the occasional meal and telling my children what wonderful people they have as grandparents. I doesn't feel like enough.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Meals

When Matt is out of town, dinner is dismal at the Crocker house. Nothing is more infuriating that spending 45 minutes juggling kids and cooking a meal only to have no one eat it. Then I have to clean up. This is what we ate this last week:

Hot dogs, oranges and crackers
Taquitos, guac and pears
Banana Waffles
Eggs and toast, bananas
Tacos, guac and chips

Not very impressive but all things my kids will eat. Next week Matt will be home and when he is home we eat well. I am making the menu now and it looks much better. I usually base my menu on what is on sale and what sounds good. I try to have a chicken, beef, pork, and pasta meal. In the summer we have one salad meal and in the winter we have a soup meal. At least one meal is meat free. We try to eat seasonal. Here is what it looks like for next week:

Baked peanut chicken, asparagus and brown rice
Teriyaki pork with pineapple, potatoes and broccoli
Greek salads with feta, tomatoes, and chicken basil sausage
Spinach rice frittata, salad
Cowboy hash (ground elk, corn, tomatoes, and beans) over rice, salad

Now that my menu is planned I make my shopping list. I go to the store once a week, on Friday afternoon. Matt watches the kids for me and I hit at least 3 stores. Still, our food and household budget is over $125 a week. Ouch. It is only going to get worse as the kids grow. What's for dinner at your house?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wedded Bliss

Matt's middle brother, Luke, got married a week ago and our girls were the flower girls. Here is the wedding party, don't mind the back of the photographers head that I got.
Here is the littlest flower girl. The wedding was right in the middle of nap time but the girls did great. Addilyn did eat her flower on the way down the isle, but, hey it happens! By the end of the day she had also chewed a whole in her dress.

Here is the big flower girl. She was into the whole wedding thing and loved the dancing afterwards.

Here is the mother of the groom, looking beautiful with her middle granddaughter.



Monday, January 4, 2010

Scrub-a-dub

Welcome to an evening at the Crockers. Please keep hands and feet to yourself at all times and get ready for the adventure!

Annabelle wakes at 5 (or I wake her) and eats. Dinner for people with teeth at 5:30. "Family clean up time" for about 15 minutes at 6:15. Everybody under 4 feet tall gets naked by 6:30. Bath time! Scrub-a-dub-dub, three girls in a tub, Eliana's favorite bath toy is Annabelle. Baby gets out, lotion and jammied. Next comes Addilyn, Eliana is left to get herself out, dried and into her pj's. Mama feeds baby and puts her to bed while big girls read books on the couch and eat popcorn. Baby down, mama gets Addilyn, brushes teeth, reads a book, prays and puts her to bed. Mama jumps into the shower and Eliana listens for the babies. Speed shower, forget even trying to shave legs. Read books on couch with Eliana until 7:30, talk about our day, brush teeth, pray and off to bed. Mama comes back down and does all things she never had a chance to during the day including wash dishes, fold laundry, sweep floor, clean kitchen. Start dish washer, grab the baby and nurse her as we both fall asleep by 9:30.

This is how my evening goes, Matt is out of town until the 11th and that is why it is written as a one man show. I would write about how our whole day looks, but I would hate to scare off those considering have children. I have seen it people do the whole day in photos but I'm not doing that. It would betray my secret that I actually live in yoga pants, rarely do my hair and my children often look like street orphans. Yesterday I realized my teeth were fuzzy at about 8 pm meaning I never brushed them that morning. Oh the glamore..

Sunday, January 3, 2010

January

In case you were wondering (and I know that deep down you were) January's flower is carnation and the stone is Garnet. Also, if you didn't get enough celebrating last month, here are some things to celebrate this month. I didn't make these up, January is...

California Dried Plum Digestive Month
Book Blitz month
Bath Safety Month
National Hot tea Month
National Cervical Screening Month
Oatmeal Month
Volunteer Blood Donor Month
Soup Month

So go put your feet in stirrups, have a cup of tea and some prunes while you enjoy giving blood. Ring in the new year right!

Oh, and if that isn't exciting enough, today is JRR Tolken Day, National Chocolate Covered Cherry day and "Remmember You Die" day. Woo Who!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Feeling Resolute


I am a list person. I don't actually follow everything I write down, but I do write it down. Sometimes I think it is my weird way of feeling like I have my life under control. Not only do I make lists for myself, I make them for Matt. Yes, I know that is obnoxious so I don't always give him the lists I make for him.


Yesterday I tortured my husband by making him sit down and make a list WITH me. I do it every year. You see, Matt is an amazing big picture person, but details kill him. Annually I make him sit down and write goals. We categorize them by finance, work, personal, spiritual, etc. It kills him to have to be specific.


I keep the list every year and we read it together. This significantly brightened Matt's mood, to hear all the things we have accomplished this year. Our debt is reduced, relationships have been formed and baby #3 can be totally checked off the goal list.


This year I am resolving to blog every day. The reason for this is 2 fold, neither of which is me believing that I am so phenomenally interesting that you care what I have to say on daily basis. Nor are either of the reasons that I believe my life is thrilling enough for a blog post a day. One reason is I enjoy writing, it helps me mull things around and make sense of them. It feels like I can keep a smidgen of my intellect if I am forced to complete a series of sentences in a 24 hour period. The second reason is that I hope it keeps me reaching for my camera more often. I love photography and have access to some great equipment that I don't take advantage of.


So there ya go. You can now count on hearing from me every day. You lucky thing.

Friday, January 1, 2010

December

Yes, I know it is no longer December. I am not THAT sleep deprived. Here are some highlights of last month.
The family headed out to find a Christmas tree. Elie thought it would be a good idea to walk around the neighborhood and cut down a tree we liked. Matt and I decided that the neighbors might not love that idea. Some day we will be a family that goes into the woods and cuts down a tree together. This is not that year. Next year doesn't look good either. Maybe eventually.

Zoo lights is a family tradition. Eliana and Addilyn love it this year. We haven't been to the zoo in forever. Annabelle is in this picture too, she is in the wrap under my jacket where she slept happily the entire time. Dad came with us this year, too.


We have the book "The gingerbread Man" and Elie has been on my case to make some ginger bread of our own. To get off the hook of trying to find a yummy, workable GF ginger bread recipe, I told her it was a Christmas thing. Well, Christmas came and darn those 4 year olds with good memories. So we made and decorated ginger bread and it was actually really fun, despite the mess.

Snow. Eliana and Addilyn LOVE to play in it and we have had our share. Here is Eliana, being put to work.

Mom turned 60. I hope I look half as good as she does at 60. To celebrate, the girls got together and went to dinner and got our nails done. I love my family, we have so much fun together.