Back to the Basics

Well, after much consideration I have decided *for now* I will only be doing family updating on the blog. While I don’t want to loose all of the memories stored on the page I have found the time it takes for me to log the DIY and product reviews is too much. I would rather spend it on the boys:) for that reason I will keep projects to a minimum and do mostly updates on family a nice way to log our lives and look back!

Vinegar and it’s many uses

This cheap addition to your cleaning products is pretty easy (we use it regularly) but I am always amazed but the amount of uses it really has.
Here are a few that we’ve found really handy!

Fruits bath: to rinse fruits after you bring them home from the store I dilute one cup of vinegar to a sink full of water. I’ve found this helps keep fruits just a bit longer.

Floor cleaner: especially for woods it’s a great natural cleaner. I use the cleaner I make but I do have to be sure to dilute it (50/50) otherwise it leaves the floor a bit sticky/tacky.

Drain Cleaner: pretty basic ingredients that are more gentle on your plumbing than drano. And much better for our septic system. We tried it today and it went pretty well! Our drains were moving a little slow and it did the trick.

Weed killer: ok, everyone has probably seen this natural weed killer floating around Facebook. Well, since the end of our driveway is covered in em we thought we’d give it a shot. Works perfect! We bought a 7$ handheld pressure sprayer from Menards. Mixed 1/4c of dawn dishsoap, 1/2c Epsom salt, and 1/2 gallon of vinegar….of course the recipe if relatively flexible and can easily be doubled or cut in half depending on your needs. I hate measuring so this is a plus for me πŸ˜‰

In other news Scott and I rang in the first Saturday of summer doing grill-out with some kid less friends…..while, it was great to get out and everyone was amazing with the kiddos. I think we left more exhausted from chasing the littles all afternoon and quickly remembered why we normally just have family watch them for us to get out. I give major props to the families that go for this scenario because next time we’ll be sticking to the sitter.

Mash-up

The boys have been a challenge lately. And by challenge I mean, whiney, mischievous, little knobs. Granted, they are getting their 2 year molars…but…I literally saw one choke hold the other. I should add they love to play wrestle, but really guys?! As a parent when you walk in to see that kinda stuff you damn near crap yourself. If it was just this type of stuff I could handle the repetitive “be nice/gentle to your brother”. Ohhh, but it’s not. They go for yelling/whiney fits, so much so that I miss the phone call from the technician coming to fix the stove. But, of course he won’t answer when I call back. Then, while waiting through the ringing for a voicemail that’s not set up I hear a thud…..suspicious at best. That thud? Yeah, it was the front curtains being pulled down from our bay windows. NOT COOL guys…NOT.COOL!!! Finally quiet. The highlight of which was my picking up the yard only to cut both of my feet on glass. And then that stove tech rings the door bell. Now, all hell truly breaks loose because jacks REDICULOUS freak out ensues. Picking him up to put him in the office, Diva, who has freshly cut nails, runs across the top of my foot. Cutting a perfect line from pinkie to big toe:) And that “nap time” I’d hoped for…yeah.right. Because,nooo nooo, we’ve decided that sleep is so unneeded for teething toddlers. That 2.5 hour mid-day nap is only a distant mommy memory now. So after just 45 min nap time is done. So, by this point in the day I’m gimping around just trying to keep up cleaning behind the twin tornadoes, plus, I now have a tech in my house and two dogs who are bent on making him their new ball time BFF, oh and the twins startled out of naps. Glorious. I drink my way to 6pm/Scott getting home. He takes over for the few hours until bed time. But this day is nicely capped by finding urine soaked sheets in the bed of a potty trained kiddo……ahhhh where’s the big gulp.
Mondays done,
Tuesdays another day…….wait it’s Wednesday already….20140618-095046-35446634.jpg

twin land ❀

Daddy Day!!

Well not quite the weekend but Scott surprised me and took off today to extend my Birthday celebrations. So as promised we FINALLY went to Rebuilders Exchange!!!

BBclass list

AAAAnd we even made it to IKEA and Carters πŸ™‚ seems even for mommas birthday the kiddos get spoiled. But they did need new mattresses as they are a whole 3ft and 1inches already!! The train track since they have been loving trains lately and a paper roll for crafts. And a few new shirts from carters were only a dollar since we had that “carters cash.”ikea train track
Plus we even had time for homemade Popsicles and a Water blob!

Homemade popsiclesDIY water blob

Fathers Day 2014

Well- plans in our house are CONSTANTLY changing and this weekends plans were no different….with trying to cram sooo much into one weekend we ended up bumping Scotts fathers day celebrations to Monday. Which means I can safely announce our gifts with no fear of ruining the surprise! We got Daddy a shaker bottle for his whey shakes or whatever they are ;0 and some special chocolate!
but here was our main gift!!
20140610-113101-41461310.jpg
We decorated the inside of a toolbox for daddy! He needed a tool box since we’ve been using a plastic bathroom garbage can, so, it was the perfect daddy gift. I found a basic one at Menards with a flat inner bottom I had each of the boys do a hand print for the “heart” shape and used letter stencils puff painted on for the words. I think well be adding a gloss layer to seal it all in otherwise tools on top will scrape it off the plastic.

what you’ll need: 20140610-113842-41922644.jpg
taping the stencils down made it a lot easier to trace πŸ™‚
20140610-113844-41924175.jpg20140610-113845-41925727.jpg

annnd we had to do a grandpa gift too(but shhh since he wont see it till Sunday)

we call this splatter art…..ie don’t leave your twin two year olds alone with a large bottle of black puff paint. like. ever. pretty cool looking though, so, we designed around their modern-art-explosion.
parenting hack* tape the back of your kiddos hand for that perfect print
20140610-114248-42168562.jpg

Green parenting Tips

Obviously, Scott and I have worked really hard to provide a clean diet and a house relatively free from chemicals and “additives” not only for A&B but for us. We still make yogurt and cleaner, see how here, but we have slowly been adding the what we do at home vs. buying.
Bread- pretty self explanatory that you can save money and get better quality with this DIY. While this can be very time consuming we have found homemade bread freezes very nicely, allowing us to make a months worth of bread in one day! We change up recipes but generally make a milk bread(using home made butter and buttermilk). 20140528-095656-35816050.jpg
Butter- another easy-freeze item. Butter, while less time consuming than bread, is still one of my least favorite to make. Whipping heavy cream until it separates/ gets chunky, then pouring the buttermilk into a container to save and finally rinsing the butter under ice cold water (least favorite part) to shape it into a mold. *as a side note it will slosh all over at the end so we also use siran wrap to cover the top of the mixer* We use about 4 pints of heavy whipping cream turned into butter and buttermilk in our house every month.unnamed (141)
Ice cream-*admittedly*we are just learning about this… but, every recipe we have tried either involves cooking or is a cream-cheese-no-cook that tastes well…very cheesey (evidently Wisconsin dairy has spoiled me and I am now an ice cream snob). But, we’ll keep trying recipes and I will keep you posted!
Fruits(citrus)-I love the fruit not only because it’s tasty but we use every part of it! I use the attachment for the kitchenaid to juice them. We then use the rinds of lemons, oranges and grapefruit for the cleaner(with vinegar and cinnamon). I strain the leftover juice with diaper cloths. First, I should clarify by saying we never actually used them as diapers πŸ˜‰ normal people would use cheese cloth though. I’m debating trying to grow the seeds and of course we drink the juice!
20140528-100021-36021686.jpg20140528-100023-36023197.jpg20140528-093708-34628222.jpg
Shampoo/soaps- I know I’ve mentioned it before but soap berries are actually very handy! Recently, I attempted boiling 15 of them in water for about a half hour. The result? A pungent syrup like goop. Smelled rather earthy so I added a few drops of essential oils and viola scented soap(shampoo). The downside of this one is that it apparently needs to be stored in the fridge. I’ve resorted to freezing them in small portions, a caterpillar worth to be exact;) we’ve found that the silicone molds are VERY useful! thanks Fred’s for making fun brain and caterpillar trays!20140528-105058-39058018.jpg
In black and white to hide my dirty counter, the one on the far left is soap:)

DIY car seat oopsy pad

This projects came about more out of necessity than anything. As you know the guys are potty trained. However, accidents happen…and that includes dumping the camelback full of milk in the car seat. But the silver lining in this was that I was able to repurposed our old waterproof changing pad “mats” into these!
20140505-192749.jpg
I folded one in half and cut it to the sizes I needed for my specific car seat, made a sleeve to fit the waterproof mat and voila. Simple as that! I’m loving being able to reuse some baby items the boys have long out grown!

finished products

20140505-192756.jpg

Life on a budget

Originally I had thought to do this post on ways to save money with twins. When I sat down to write, I realized, most people are trying to save money either for that vacation you’ve been dying for, the new car you need, or let’s face it just to pay the bills. So, here are a few of our tricks we stick to in order to save some dough.

Freezing- ok, kind of common sense that you can get things on a good sale and stock up. But, often, were not positive what we can actually freeze. We looked up what are big items in our house and found that we could freeze almost all of them!
Buttermilk- butter, milk, and buttermilk
Veggies- peppers, corn etc
Fruits- grapes, fruit purΓ©es are super convenient with the kiddos too.
I found this handy when deciding what I can freeze!

Discounts- we love to do activities with the boys but they can be so expensive. Many zoos, museums, aquariums etc have days that they offer discounts in addition to the school, military/veteran or senior discounts they offer. In many bigs cities they usually offer a free day to residents. If you can handle the crowds, that’s your best bet. If you’re like me and want to sterilize the stupid parents letting their kid hang over bars into the bear enclosure then I would suggest the student, military type discounts and a slow day/time πŸ˜‰

of course DIY
Some things are cheaper to do yourself-others will actually cost you more in the long run. So, list all supplies and what they will cost you. We have a few on the docket right now (including making toddler beds and growing our garden) and will be making good use of the tools Scott stocked up during college:) We also make our own butter, yogurt and house hold cleaner among others! This goes hand in hand with repurposing but keep in mind it is sometimes way cheaper to buy something retail than to make it, do the math first.

Repurposing
Pretty simple idea but often we forget what projects we have going and just want to reduce clutter resulting in something reusable being tossed. So, we’ve started a project binder with correlating totes. Each has a place and when we have an item it gets put with other items for that project and saved. Right now we have the old swing set off to the side in our yard torn into pieces. The monkey bars from that will become a trellis for our garden peas! The rest will be the foundation for a garden box! Saving us about 100$

Wants vs Needs
In an effort to eliminate frivolous spending we have also begun keeping a bill organizer. We save all receipts and tally them as we spend, making us more mindful of where and what’s we spend. you would also be surprised what isn’t absolutely necessary for example, and being another. Now, I’m not sure if I could commit to the TP…but, I have stuck to the anti-shampoo regiment for about a week at a time. I do agree with the link, for the first few days it feels greasy and gets MUCH better over time. Now a bottle of shampoo lasts about 4 months, and my hair is a lot healthier!

Resale
When you are ready to part with certain belongings see if you can sell them first-Craigslist, Ebay and local resale shops are always options. Depending on what it is you may be able to get a few bucks back. Old water heaters, tires and-most recently for us-outgrown baby items! That 30$ pays for a movie tickets on date night

Meal planning
It goes without saying that if you spend 5$ on coffee & 10$ on lunch that by the end of the week or month the cost really adds up. But, if you’re like me eating the same thing every day will get pretty boring. So to tackle that we meal plan different things every week, ie week 1 is salads, week 2 is sandwiches and so on. We also plan for lunches and dinners for 2 week periods. This means we only buy what we need for those meals and since we don’t ever plan for junk food, we just don’t have it in the house:) a win win when trying to eat smart and be budget friendly.

Share your money saving tips!!

Soaking up Spring?

yep thats hail Well we were soaking it up….mid april and last Saturday I was stuck under a bridge(so as not to ruin black beauty) on the highway due to hail and Monday I was holed up in the house waiting out the snowstorm. Yes, you read that right storm because contrary to the “light snow” we had a chance of getting…we got a storm…..ughhh soooo over this winter.
Anyhow, for the few hours we had sunlight on Saturday we were planning out yardspace and working on the 3rd round of seedlings. Sadly, with the up and down weather plus the oven casualties, Ive lost almost everything I planted. I am hoping the third times a charm but while we wait I am doing tons of research….did you know cuke seedlings need 6hrs of sun daily? Were attempting something called companion gardening but today I’ll be looking into compost fertilizers as well. Our big goal was to gain enough knowledge to grow indoors with a light this winter but wish us luck since I’m running out of steam to keep attempting this 😦
unnamed (134)unnamed (132)unnamed (133)
We have also decided to tear down the play equipment in the yard. It was a huge selling point for the house buuut we soon found out that it was nowhere near sturdy…even for a child. Happy tears though because grandma bought an epic playset with swings, a slide, picnic table and a water/sand table. Scott started building the night it arrived and even with a cat hunting interlude (yes, A&B have figured out how to let the cat out)he finished it rather fast! And yes that is an airsoft BB gun

unnamedCASCEZAZ unnamed (102) unnamed (100)
yup, that’s my AMAZING hubs ;0
20140420-211802.jpg20140420-211827.jpg20140420-211840.jpg
So far the boys are smitten, and guess what ?! the old play equipment will be repurposed into our garden beds and the old monkey bars will be a trellis for peas(since they are one of the only things still growing!!

Oh and happy holiday:)
20140421-073209.jpg

Tightening after twins….when diet and exercise just don’t cut it

In light of the fact that I REGULARLY get asked if the twins are even mine I thought I would share some of my beauty secrets.
Let me preface this by saying goals should be realistic and looking like you did in high school or even early college is somewhat far fetched for most …and I’m just going to say it… pathetic. I’m not trying to relive the “glory days” here. That being said it’s not unfair to want to look and feel confident in your own skin.
Like most twin moms in the weeks and months following delivery I was HORRIFIED….why had no one told me I wouldn’t even fit into early pregnancy clothes post csection is still beyond me. The sad fact is that many new moms are never talked to about any post baby stuff during pregnancy to better prepare emotionally and mentally. All I was told was, “you’re young, you’re body will bounce back…” Boy was that doctor WRONG! But, that’s a different topic- what I want to share is how I used natural and cheap methods to become me again!
Post delivery I wasn’t the momma who lost mass amounts in days from breast feeding. Though BF’ing did help shed pounds-it didn’t change the skin or the sag. In my twin pregnancy I gained 28lbs total, I was on the small side, however, I went from a size 00 to a 10 in my short 34wks. Take a guess what that did to my hips and thighs, and let’s not even mention the boobs or ab area. That is what led me to look up methods to be rid of that body that became foreign to me. I soon found plastic surgery…the quick fix….not quite ready to resign myself to having surgery at 23, let alone pay for it, I kept looking. Wraps, lasers and other expensive salon treatments were next, but here again for how expensive it is you are still not guaranteed results, so no thanks. Both of these methods also involve the possibility of heavy scaring, not something that really appealed considering I was trying to get rid of “scars”.
Working within my means I got a personal trainer and hit the fitness and nutrition method, drank lots of water, ate balanced meals, no junk food etc. While I admit it helped me get back to a size 2(by 12m post delivery) it still didn’t fix my problem areas. Fitness was great and all but I wanted my skin back, not just my overall body size.
An impending beach vacation 4m post delivery meant I desperately wanted to don my bikinis. Fat chance at being confident enough for that! Though they covered all the necessary parts, I still packed numerous cover-ups. Granted, I had now lost all the weight and I probably wasn’t as saggy as I thought, my confidence was GONE. When we returned from vacation I was so down that I revisited the methods I had researched. That’s when I stumbled upon Bentonite Clay, the main ingredient in many wraps and salon treatments, the benefits of this natural supplement are vast. But, it would be months before I would try it. In the interim I tried mederma, scar lotions, skin tightening elixirs, anti-agers and anti-cellulite…all to no avail. Time to give the clay a shot.
Now, there are many methods to mix and apply. This depends on your preferences, skin type and goals. I, personally, have sensitive skin and simply used water but I did like coconut oil, and yogurt. The first attempt was MESSY, I painted it on like a paste (thicker for a more intense mask), then sealed it all up with plastic wrap and went overtop with ace wraps for compression; I bought about 10 ace wraps and plastic wrap. I then laid still for about an hour. I am not particularly fond of this method, mainly because I have two toddlers and this is a pain in the ass. However it worked! I instantly saw an improvement in the elasticity of my skin. Skeptical, I waited until the next day to really assess anything. The next day I was still pleased and decided to try it again, but modify it. As I played not only with ingredients but also duration and ways to wrap, I continued to be impressed with my results. After 3 hour-long wraps, the handful of marks on my belly were gone. Yes, gone! Admittedly, my stomach marks were not so much of my issue as my inner hips/thighs and boobs.
To be honest, I fell off the wagon for about a month as the time just wasn’t there. So, if I wanted to keep doing masks it was time for a revamp. I started back up and tried simply mixing with water and applying to desired areas, no wrapping, no laying still, just a bit of Nakie time πŸ˜‰ and results were still just as impressive! I ditched all the extras and continued masks like this once every 2 weeks. Let’s just say EPIC!! Fully satisfied with my “new” boobies I wondered what else the mask would work for. I started using it as a facial, and I couldn’t have been happier. My acne (that I’ve battled since high school; even prescriptions and diet didn’t touch) is GONE. It has evened out my skin and again improved elasticity. I will note that I do very light and thin masks for my face since I do them way more often than body masks.
I am now about a month into this routine (body masks every week and face every 3 days) and I LOVE it. I get beauty/mommy time to relax and enjoy, which was a huge boost to my confidence, (being able to spend time on me) doing something I feel improves me. Even if I am the only one to see the difference I am thrilled that something so simple has allowed me to regain what I feel is ME.
So here are the basics-
Needs:
Ice – To close up pores post mask…yup all “masked” areas. And to be fair cold water will do. I just find it easier to rub an ice cube over areas.
Bentonite clay – There are many different names for it and even different types. Try em see what you like based on your skin. And don’t mix in it or with metal. It reduces it’s potency, I made this mistake early on:/
Cocoa butter – Pure, organic with no additives. I found it on amazon.
Nutrition & Exercise – Pretty self explanatory but also drinking lots of water.
Now, lemme take a selfie…..
20140406-152345.jpg20140406-152356.jpg20140406-152401.jpg
pictures are 1, 2 and 3 weeks post partum
20140406-152407.jpg20140406-152412.jpg20140409-095352.jpg
first two pictures are after 1 mask- last picture though not great quality is pre any mask
again keep in mind my belly was not my problem area however there is really no good way to photograph my inner thighs ;0