Category Archives: Groceries

Moms Working From Home Can Work!

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As a lot of you already know, I am a full-time mom. My field of study is education and up until recently I was a full-time teacher as well as a new mom. I know one day I will return to the workforce, mainly because that’s a desire of mine, but I sure do cherish the time I have now to spend with my baby girls.

I have tried to find some ways of contributing to the household financially, but right now my contribution is no daycare fees, yummy lunches and dinners, and a somewhat clean house 🙂

However, there are a ton of stay-at-home moms who have been able to find ways of making an income out of their own house while walking around with a baby on their hip. Today I wanted to feature one of these awesome moms.

Amanda Luton is a childhood friend of mine who grew up loving fashion and making all of us other girls wish we could kick a Ked, blue-jean skirt and scrunchy like she used to back in the day. Amanda went on to study Fashion-Merchandising and Marketing at the University of Nebraska and I believe she spent some time working in her field. But like most moms, once those babies started to come the desire to stay at home was overwhelming.

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Amanda did choose to become a stay-at-home mom, which is one of the least appreciated “jobs” in the world;however, she didn’t give up on her love of fashion. Actually, she turned it into a small business ran out of her house.

Here is what Amanda has to say about how she got started:

“I started Goat & Lulu as it is now, when I was pregnant with my third baby. I love boutique clothes for my two daughters, but since I also love for them to coordinate or match, I was having a hard time finding cute, colorful, and age appropriate options that I could afford! Buying two $70 outfits for every holiday and special occasion was just not going to work for me, so I started making simple dresses for my girls, and matching t-shirts and onesies for their little brother on the way! As I started posting things I’d made on facebook and in my etsy shop, I realized that there were a lot of moms out there that wanted to dress their kids like I did, in unique and playful clothes, but didn’t want to have to spend a fortune on coordinating outfits! I started getting a lot of custom orders from friends and family, and as word of mouth spread, I began to get more and more customers. Goat & Lulu was officially a small business!”

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I’ve been watching Amanda’s line of children’s clothing grow over the past year and it has been really inspiring. It’s awesome to see a mom, who I know goes all out for her kids, to also find the time to work on her own dreams.

Obviously, doing something like this takes some sacrifice and a ton of hard work. When asked about how she manages it Amanda responded with the following:

“It is difficult to manage the balance of stay at home mom to three, wife, and small business owner, but I feel like I am fulfilling my need for a creative outlet, contributing to our household finances, and showing my children that with a lot of hard work and persistence, you can turn a passionate hobby into a dream job! There is nothing better than having the flexibility of running my business at home, on the floor in my jammies, and taking coffee breaks for storytime with the kids. It is certainly the best of both worlds.”

Here are just some examples of the items Amanda designs and sells (the adorable models are her kiddos)

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Way to go Amanda! And she’s not the only one of my friends who has been successful at starting up their own small business while still staying home with their kids. So moms out there who have a desire to stay at home but also have a need to add to the household finances take this as an encouragement that you can do it! Find something you love and turn it into a business! I have friend who make bows, one who paints personalized signs, one who does computer graphics, one who designs children’s bedding and one who makes awesome kid’s clothing. What could you do from home? Go brainstorm and ask God to give you inspiration.

Thanks Amanda for your inspiration to other stay-at-home moms!

Check out Amanda’s clothing in her etsy shop. Just follow the link below:

www.etsy.com/shop/goatandlulu

Scared Solid

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Okay moms out there with little ones or who remember when their babies were little I have a confession to make: I’m scared solid! Elizabeth is 11 months old and is starting to enter the world of solid food eating, but I’m not ready for that yet.

I am completely the over-bearing mother who wants to spoon feed her kiddo until she has a mouth full of teeth. I somewhat remember feeding my older daughter Eleanor more solid foods when she was younger than Liz, but for some reason I’m scared of the solids for my sweet little girl.

So when I’m feeling apprehensive about something I do two things: pray and research.

God gives us our children and the responsibility to raise them in the way they should go. But we also need to remember (speaking to myself here) that God is in control of that little life. The control freak in me quite often forgets that there is a big God who isn’t just a big human, no He is the all knowing, ever present, Creator of all things kind of God!

So I have to remind myself to breath, use the wisdom and knowledge God has given me, and let go of a little control. You see, I think my fear with Liz eating solids is more wrapped up in the fact that she is becoming more independent and already needs me less. This isn’t easy for any mother. From allowing your child to feed themselves to giving your kid the keys to the car…..at some point we have to let go and let them grow…

Now that my emotional attachment to the problem at hand has been recognized and dealt with, and I have given control back over to God I move my attention on to my research. There are so many questions that go along with giving babies solids.

When? What? How much? How fast? Will it make them allergic? Blah blah blah blah blah blah!

I have found the best place to turn for answers to first year questions is the book: What to Expect The First Years, by Heidi Murkoff. This books give a lot of great advice and answers a ton of questions I have had when it comes to the first year of my kiddos life.

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According to Murkoff, “Most babies are not only eager but able to begin finger foods by the time they are seven to eight months old”(pg.387). Obviously there are certain foods that qualify in the early month of solid eating. Murkoff addresses this by stating that, “the foods that qualify for first finger-food honors are those that a baby can gum to swallowable consistency or that will dissolve in the mouth without chewing, and that have been well received in pureed form on earlier tries”(pg.387).

All babies are different and will reach the place of introducing solids at different times. My Elizabeth was not ready between seven and eight months. She was eating rice mixed with water and chunkier baby food, but used to spit out any form of a solid. Now, at eleven months, she is eating small bites of banana, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and level three baby food, which is VERY chunky. She also munches on snacks such Baby Mum-Mums. These things are awesome!

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So as you enter into the solid eating phase of your little one don’t get scared solid like I was. Give God the control, pray over your babies and their food, be wise- don’t leave a child unattended while eating, and do your research. If you have any questions on this topic or any advice to give feel free to leave a comment.

God Bless! Have a great week.

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere!

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It’s that time of year again!!!!! FALL is HERE!!! My favorite season for many reasons, and one happens to be the ability to display some awesome fall decor. Right now pumpkins are everywhere and I so badly want to cut into some and make them cute, but I know if I do this early in the season, then they won’t last very long. So today I am going to show you some awesome carving alternatives for those cute little pumpkins.

Bedazzle it Up!

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Love this play with buttons. So easy and so cute. All you need are buttons and a glue gun. I really like the girly touch with the bow on top, but you could add a lot of different things to the stem to change-up the look. You could make a friendly ghost by covering the stem with a white felt cloth and even add some small buttons for the eyes 🙂

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Another great idea for decorating that pumpkin and front walkway. These pumpkins are just adorned with black-balled push pins. How easy and what a great eye-catcher!

Painted Pumpkins:

Now there are endless ideas when it comes to painting a pumpkin. So much fun and you can get any look or color scheme you want. Here are a few of the favorite ones I have seen online.

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Now when the time for pumpkin carving comes I found the cutest idea on WomensDay.com

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This whale is perfect for a fun twist on pumpkin carving. Now I’ve never really been into carving the creepy kinda pumpkins. I always try to make my house look welcoming, and this whale is as welcoming as it gets! Looks pretty easy to do, I’ll have to post a pic of my whale when it gets carved later next month.

Hope these pics inspired you to go pick up a pumpkin and be creative! God Bless you this week.

pumpkin pics were found on the following websites: Todaysmama.com, nobiggie.com, and womansday.com

Awesome Jewelry Organizer

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I love jewelry! My favorite kind is not the expensive real stuff, but the fun costume jewelry you can find at Target, Claire’s and department stores. I especially like it when I can walk out of a store with five new pieces of jewelry yet spent less than ten dollars. I am always looking for a good sale! And the best part about jewelry is no matter what my waist size happens to be that month, my jewelry always fits perfect.

My jewelry habit didn’t really pick up speed until recent years. During college I always wore the same three pieces, and every now and then I’d buy some new earrings. But now I realize the awesome power of jewelry; you can take an outfit you’ve worn a ton of times but add some different jewelry to it and presto change-o you have a totally new look! Buying jewelry is much cheaper than new clothes and it’s a fun way to incorporate trendy fashions on classic looks.

Because I began buying so many new pieces, I started running into the problem of where to put it all (this is a good problem I might add). I tried the draw-string silky jewelry pouch….didn’t work, my necklaces got all tangled. I tried the fold up hang down jewelry organizer…didn’t work either, made it too hard to see what all I have. But then when I thought my jewelry problems were here to stay I stumbled across the most beautiful picture ever displayed on Pinterest!

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This lovely little charmer can be found on Spirit Ranch Creations. It’s hand made and wonderful!!! Husbands reading this out there, if your wife loves jewelry and has a ton of it in ten different places taking over every solid surface in your bedroom and/or bathroom, then this would be the best gift to give. My hubby, after several apparent hints, bought me this for my birthday two years ago. Love it! It makes it so easy to see all of my stuff! I am almost at the point where I need to get a second one though……

So if you’re like me and you LOVE the dangles, hoops, bangles, beads, feathers and pearls then you should for sure hook yourself up with this great organizer!!!!! Your welcome in advance 🙂

Hope you have an awesome Wednesday!

Healthy Version of Potato Soup! Sooooo Yummy!!

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While participating in the Daniel Fast this past January, I came across a wonderful and pretty healthy potato soup recipe. I made this again last night for dinner and decided I’d pass it along for you to enjoy!

Here is what you need:

1 TB of extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup of chopped onions

1 cup of chopped carrots

1 cup of chopped celery

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups of Vegetable Broth

3 Large Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 5 cups)

1 bay leaf

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp thyme

1/8 tsp pepper

1/2 cup almond, rice, or soy milk (I use almond..so yummy)

2 TB chopped fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried parsley

How to Make It:

Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions, carrots, and celery until vegetables are softened (I do about 5 min.). Stir in garlic, and cook for another minute, stirring constantly so garlic doesn’t burn.

Add broth, potatoes, salt, thyme, pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Discard bay leaf. Add half of potato mixture to a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Return to saucepan. Stir in almond milk, and parsley. Cook until heated through, and serve.

Yields: 6 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)

Recipes like this are good to add to your staple list. It’s so easy and healthy. Great for the upcoming Fall weather. I serve this with some home-made bread on the side for dipping.

Happy Cooking!

Coming up on Friday: Fake Boobs and a Metal Leg

Things I got at my baby shower but NEVER used

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I am the proud mother of two beautiful little girls. Eleanor Ruth is 4 1/2 and the most beautiful, kind, compassionate, curious little girl ever, and my Elizabeth Brielle, who is almost 10 months old, is sweet, yet head-strong, cuddly yet independent and absolutely adorable! I love them so very much; all the stuff that goes along with them, not so much.

I was very blessed at both of my baby showers to receive almost everything I asked for, so it’s all my fault that I have thing after thing for my baby girls that I never really needed. It’s not easy when you’re an up and coming mom to know what is important to have and what will just become a dust collector, so I’m going to share a short list of items I got but never used as a new mom.

1. The cute, sweet crib bedding

I know, this is horrible, right? The thing I was the most excited about, spent the longest looking at, and was one of my more expensive gifts was never really used. Sure it was displayed from baby shower to birth in the perfectly neat and tidy nursery I had all done up, but once Eleanor born I soon realized that those big plush crib bumpers were also a major hazard to the little life I just birthed. Out they went along with the blanket that was only decorative anyway. I’d say about $200.00 worth of what could have been diapers sat so nicely crunched up inside of two plastic trash bags in the downstairs basement. I know it’s tempting to get, but in reality all you need are a few fitted sheets for the crib and some soft blankets to swaddle with.

2. Manuel Hand Pump

This was probably the most painful mistake of a purchase I’ve ever made! I like a good deal, and the high priced pumps that do all the work for you just didn’t fit into my saving money mind, so I bought the manual hand pump thinking I was so smart. Well let’s just say God blessed me with working girls up top, because they produced a ton of milk, and that manual pump was a joke! It was like milking a cow using tweezers. Needless to say, me and my hubby made a painful drive down to the baby store and bought the automatic, best in class breast pump. Don’t skimp on the pump. If you do, you will be in pain from the abundant production of milk that is trying to find it’s way out!

3. Sounds of the Womb Teddy

I was so excited to get this as a gift. The sweet sounds of the womb made me smile…until it was two o’clock in the morning, I hadn’t slept in three days and all I could hear was this seemingly loud noise screaming at me from the demon possessed teddy sitting in my daughter’s crib. You can probably guess that I had a wonderful time at ripping out the battery pack on that one. Now we have an expensive teddy bear that sits in a closet (somewhere).

4. Tub temperature Ducky

I understand the importance of the tub temperature ducky, the last thing I wanted to do as a new mom was think my baby enjoyed the same hot baths that I do, but seriously this duck showed that freezing cold water was too hot. I was a basket case for my first few bathing experiences with our new baby because I was scared to death to put this innocent child into the obviously too hot water according to Mr. Ducky!! Well, after a few outbursts and a much calmer husband, I handed over bath duty and somehow HIS motherly instinct happened to know by touching the water with his hand if it was the right temperature or not.

I could go on, but I won’t. Instead I will give you a short list of the things I loved and used (and still use)

What To Expect: The First Year by Heidi Murkoff

My wonderful play-yard that has served in multiple capacities. Spend the extra money to get the one with the built-in bassinet. That is where my kids slept for the first several months of their lives. 

Bottle washer for the washing machine. I use that thing daily.

Comfy pjs. I know the cute expensive outfits are much more appealing, but in reality, pjs or a onsie and soft pants are the best.

My awesome stroller! This thing can hold four cups and ten shopping bags! Love it!!

The thing that you can portion out formula into so you don’t have to bring the whole can with you everywhere.

Baby swing. This has allowed for many good night sleeps that would have been sacrificed to runny noses and congested chests. The swing keeps the baby upright, so they sleep better with a cold or when teething.

Baby monitor. I have both the video one, where you can see the baby. I use that one in my four year old’s room, and a sound monitor which I use when my ten month old is napping.

Soothies, car-seat mirror, good diaper bag with lots of pockets. An insulated bottle bag, a clip for the paci, a bag of big blocks (great for the baby and big girl), Baby Praise videos. There is more but my ten month old is trying to take over the laptop so I’m gonna go.

God Bless! Have a great week!

Coming up on Friday, Modest is Hottest!

Yummy Crepes Recipe

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I was first introduced to crepes when I was on a month long tour of Europe. There was a vendor on the side of the street selling these amazing smelling things that I had never seen before. They looked like huge, thin pancakes. I ordered one and the gentleman filled it with warm Nutella….. oh my goodness. If you have never had a Nutella crepe or jelly filled crepe you are missing out on a yummy goodness!

A couple of years after returning from Europe I met and married my hubby, and his family introduced me to a long loved crepes recipe passed down from his Ranny. We use this very recipe almost every Family Friday, when we have all morning home to enjoy a big yummy breakfast together. So I have decided to pass this easy recipe on to you, and hopefully it will bring a lot of yummy memories for your family as well.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of Flour

1 tablespoon of Sugar

2 cups of Milk

2 Eggs

1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

2 tablespoons Melted Margarine (I melt the butter on the pan I’m going to use and then add it to the batter. This melts the butter and butters the pan.)

Whisk all ingredients together. Scoop out a small amount from bowl and pour into pan. Pan should be on Medium heat. Move pan around in a circular motion until all the batter is spread out into a thin circle. Put on heat and leave till batter has cooked, about a minute or so, then flip and cook an additional 30-45 seconds. Make sure batter is fully cooked, if not then flip again. The first crepe is usually a throw out because it soaks up the extra butter on the pan, but the ones after are good and so yummy to eat. One batch will make around 8 crepes or so. We fill our crepes with jelly and then roll them up. You can put whatever you like in your crepes. Be creative. And if you happen to have some Nutella, then heat a little up and pour that on the inside of your cooked crepe. Yummo!!!!!

Well this post was short and sweet but promises a great breakfast treat this weekend!

Hope you all have a great rest of the week.

Coming Up on Friday: Date Night