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2017 Christmas Gift Guide/Wish List!

2017 Christmas Gift Guide/Wish List!

I am someone who LOVES Christmas, but I also like to respect that Thanksgiving comes first. So I’ve been toying with putting this post up for quite awhile. But since Black Friday (and Cyber Monday if they are still separate?) are coming so soon I […]

Sue’s Midwest Whole30 Chicken Gumbo

Sue’s Midwest Whole30 Chicken Gumbo

Earlier today, when my husband told me what he was going to make for dinner, I knew it needed to be put on here. This recipe is a twist on my mother-in-law’s recipe for a soup/chicken gumbo, which I’m 99% sure was taken off a […]

Too.Much.

Too.Much.

Welp, for the first time I’ve definintely bit off more than I can chew. For the first time in my life, I just failed a class. By 6 points (out of over 1000). Disappointed in myself doesn’t even begin to cover it but also, the timing was just HORRIBLE this semester. So maybe this post is a bit of a rant. Maybe I just need to justify it to myself. I’m not sure, but I’m pretty upset right now – not mad upset, just sad upset. Here’s some of the stuff that went into this semester.

  • The most classes – instead of two classes this semester, I planned to do four. Really, under normal circumstances (aka not everything else in this post),this probably would’ve been okay except I had just taken off the summer semester. So I wasn’t even in the groove of balancing life and school. Still decided it was a good idea.
  • I was PREGNANT – Not only was I taking the most classes but I was also in my first trimester. Oh, I guess this is also the first time I’ve said anything on my blog. Yay! Baby! But pregnancy, especially the first trimester, comes with some extra effort just to do life, let alone the extras. Thankfully, I had very little morning sickness, but I was exhausted. After work each day, I’d have to take a nap just to get through my evening and make it until 9:30 and maybe 10:30 if it was  agood night. Without that nap, I had to go to bed at 7pm. So there went the time for classwork. I slept it away. Now, this might have been okay if I had found out after the semester started, but I didn’t. I should’ve chopped my schedule the second I found out I was pregnant, but nope. Arroganly, I decided I’d be fine. *eyeroll*
  • Work has been insanely busy – normally, I take every single lunch break to work a little on my coursework. Lately, work has been so crazy I’m lucky to even get time for a lunch. Being pregnant, I make this a priority, but that doesn’t mean I’m not working while eating. And there goes a big chunk of homework time…
  • And probably the biggest thing? WE BOUGHT A HOUSE. AND MOVED. IN THE SPAN OF MY EIGHT WEEK SEMESTER. So on top of being exhausted just on day-to-day thing and extra courses, we moved. I mean…..moving along with my normal level of classes would’ve been hard, but this felt impossible. And the weekend we actually physically moved in just happened to be the LAST weekend of my course. Meaning the weekend I’d normally just leave our toddler wih my husband and take off for a cafe or library I was beyond busy with moving and cleaning! Again, a big part of this falls on me. I didn’t pre-plan as much. I should’ve dropped Riley off at my in-laws a different weekend and gotten everything done….but I didn’t.

So not only will I absolutely not get a reimbursement for this class, but it won’t even go towards my degree. It’s a slap in the face and reality. Timing is terrible because when you move, there is a lot of items on the “to buy” list. Thankfully, I got pretty worried about this during the semester (except I didn’t think I’d fail I just thought I wouldn’t hit my required grade for reimbursement) and we have the amount for both of my classes in a separate savings account. So at least there is that, otherwise this would be doing some damage to our emergency fund.

Ugh. Hoping I can scrape by with a B in my other class. Because I really don’t want to have to pay for both. I’m just ready to move forward.

-Rachel

 

Selling Clothes: ThredUp vs. Poshmark

Selling Clothes: ThredUp vs. Poshmark

There are several resale websites/apps for clothing and fashion items. Two of the biggest are ThredUp and Poshmark. Both have great marketing, but which one is ACTUALLY better to use? I’ve used both, and none of this is sponsored. Just my thoughts and a few […]

DIY Maternity Snowman Costume: Easy and Only $15!

DIY Maternity Snowman Costume: Easy and Only $15!

I’ve been excited to create a couple of DIY costumes this year (coming soon!) but this made me think about some DIY costumes I’ve done in years past and how GREAT they turned out. The one that got me the most compliments was this DIY […]

DIY Fall Centerpiece (Under $20!)

DIY Fall Centerpiece (Under $20!)

I’ve been telling myself I won’t buy decorations until we move next week, but still somehow found myself and the toddler walking though Michael’s earlier today. There were so many cute (and expensive) centerpieces and wreaths for sale. Even with the 50-60% off that craft stores always have going on, the cost seemed crazy! My almost-two-year-old got excited and pointed out all the “flowers!” when I decided to take a closer look. Within a few minutes I had an idea for a centerpiece that would be relatively affordable, last forever, and have the exact types of flowers I wanted. Plus, I told myslf this was a craft activity for Riley and I, which we don’t do enough, so that’s how I justified it. But now with this sitting on my table, I am SO happy and decided that what we did was worth sharing:) In fact, thanks to those “sale” prices, my DIY Fall Centerpiece total came to $18.63! So this isn’t a dirt cheap centerpiece, but comparable premade centerpieces in the same store were listed for $79.99 (even with the 50% off, they were about $40!) so the cost seemed very much worth it.

DIY Fall Centerpiece

What I bought to make my DIY Fall Centerpiece (receipt below)

  • Small Basket- notemy original plan was to get a fake pumpkin and make that the base, but I’ve seen those everywhere and wanted mine to be a bit unique and slightly more “real” looking
  • Silk flowers in fall colors – I went for two larger bunches and three smaller ones
  • Floral foam – wet is easier to work with in my opinion

What I had at home:

  • rocks! I ended up needing these to stabilize the arrangement.
  • optional: hot glue gun and glue. this was my original plan to stabilize the arrangement but it ended up being a little off center and the glue wouldn’t hold. It might work better for you though.

DIY Fall Centerpiece Instructions

Step 1: In the store when you are planning to buy the silk floral pieces, make sure to test arrange them and hold in a bouquet. Some of you probably think that’s obvious, but not everyone knows this and it’s key!

holding the arrangement to test it out, looks good!

Step 2: once you have the arrangement planned out, begin inserting each stem individually into the floral foam. You my want to test out the height of the stems vs your basket. I had to trim a couple of the stems. Make sure to push them far enough into the floral foam that the pieces don’t move at all.

the foam should have everything secure enough to let go and stand alone

Step 3: Place into basket and stabilize. At first, I tried a hot glue gun, but the arrangement wouldn’t stay in the spot I wanted. So the toddler and I trotted out to the yard and grabbed some small/medium rocks and put them into the container to keep it in place. The nice thing about this is that it gave the arrangement a weight and it feels very sturdy.

That’s all! Honestly, this would take about 10 minutes, but I had to chase after a toddler and fight with a glue gun (you shouldn’t have to. you’re welcome) so it took me about 20. But it was still a fun craft and I’m in love with the results! My table looks so festive and it will last for years to come. What’s your favorite DIY you’ve created? Because this DIY Fall Centerpiece is definitely my personal favorite!

Enjoy!

-Rachel

 

My Whole30 Reintroduction Plan #SeptemberWhole30

My Whole30 Reintroduction Plan #SeptemberWhole30

I can’t believe it is day 25 of the September Whole30! Seriously, where the heck did September go? This round went pretty smoothly. I navigated through some family gatherings (shoutout to my uncle for grilling me up a compliant sausage alongside the hotdogs everyone else […]

Last Week of SeptemberWhole30 Prep

Last Week of SeptemberWhole30 Prep

Somehow it is the 24th of September. DAY 24 of Whole30?! Yay! Not that I want to just eat junk, but having a little flexibility will be a welcome change. Typically in the Whole30 timeline, Day 21 is regarded as the day of “I am […]

Sick Toddler, Guilty Feeling Mom.

Sick Toddler, Guilty Feeling Mom.

I’m not a perfect mom (please if you know one send them my way!), but I like to think I do a decent job. Yesterday though, I had an experience where I just felt awful and figured it was worth sharing. Our toddler (who will be two later this year) is a pretty well behaved girl, but she has just gotten into the phase of being fussy about some foods. My husband was out for work, and we went to meet my mother-in-law for dinner. We actually were bringing our own food with us and I stopped at Subway. Riley wasn’t super interested in what I was orderng her but I figured once we actually got to eating she’d be fine.

Well, I was wrong. She refused to eat for over an hour straight. I was pretty annoyed because we hardly ever eat out and in my mind this was a “treat” and she actively didn’t want any of it. Not only this but she was being very squirmy and we were out in public with my mother-in-law and her friend. I couldn’t help but worry that this lady was thinking my child is just always like this and naughty, but it was very out of character. We went home and I was pretty frustrated. The last times she hasn’t eaten enough before bed she woke up my husband and me at 1am wanting food (which we gave her). So I put her to bed, fully expecting her to wake up at some point.

Sure enough, about an hour and a half later she was fussing pretty loudly. I was annoyed because “just like I thought,” she was up and now probably hungry. So I let her cry a few more minutes. Then I went in to go grab her and give her a snack. When I opened the door, the smell immediately hit me. Then I turned the light on and poor Riley was completely covered in vomit. There was a big puddle on her bedding and she immediately screamed “mama, uck!” when she saw me.

I felt my stomach drop and tears well up immediately. I had assumed the worst in her earlier when really I just had a sick toddler and didn’t realize. Then I literally let her sit in her vomit for a few minutes because I was frustrated. Immediately, she got a shower (which did NOT make her happy at that moment), then into some cozy clean pajamas, and cuddling on the couch with a movie on.

Fast forward with a sick toddler…

Fast forward several more vomit sessions (thankfully I’d grabbed a bowl and no more showers were needed), some laundry, and lots of squirming…..and it was 4:30am and the sick toddler and I were up for the day. Did I mention she woke up every hour so I got no actual sleep? We took a quick trip to the local 24hr grocery store and I picked up some Pedialyte and crackers. I didn’t realize there weren’t any medicinces for infants vomiting/nausea (the youngest age I saw showed 6).

Thankfully, now in the afternoon she has kept down both the liquids and crackers and half a banana. I called the daycare and they said a few others in her classroom were out as well, and about an hour later they sent out an email that almost the whole class was out or had been sent home. Eventually she took a three hour nap. The whole time she’s been in pretty good spirits, except for the first big uck and shower.

And Finally

So there is my most recent mom fail. My sweet husband (who was gone overnight for work) said he understood being frustrated because he had also gotten up with Riley before when she fussed about food. We usually let her cry it out for a few minutes before checking on her, so I hadn’t done anything unusual. Riley just happened to be sick. We both were surprised that she hadn’t communicated that she felt sick, so throughout the evening and today I’ve been trying to get her to say her tummy felt ucky and things like this.

How have you handled little ones getting flu-like symptoms? What works to soothe your sick toddler? Let me know!

 

-Rachel

Whole30 Sesame Chicken

Whole30 Sesame Chicken

Today, my husband had a meal request. He told me he wanted “American style Chinese” for dinner. You see, I grew up in an area where authentic Chinese food was available, and when I moved to the Midwest was beyond horrified with what is considered […]