Archive | February 2012

Organizing My Clothes

One of my primary goals for last week was to organize my clothes. However due to illnesses in the family and a very achy pregnant body it took me more time that I originally planned. Now that is all done, I’m glad I finished it!!!

How it all started?

When you are as big as I am at 7 months pregnant you start running out of options to wear. I was taking too much time to get dressed trying clothes that didn’t fit anymore. It was starting to be a frustrating experience every morning and buying new clothes to wear for less than 2 months doesn’t really make a lot of sense. Then I had the brilliant idea to organize my clothes! The problem was not that I didn’t have enough clothes to wear, the problem was that I could not find the right clothes I need to build an outfit suitable for the occasion whatever this was.

Tackling my problem

  • Take out everything – I started by removing every single piece of clothe in my closet and drawers, and made a big pile on my bed. While doing this I threw away everything that was too worn out or that needed some sort of mending. Although I always have the best intention to mend some of my clothes I came to the realization that if it hasn’t happen in the last 25 years it will never happen.
  • Donation Box: I proceed to put in a box all the clothes that wasn’t my style or that I didn’t like anymore. For example all these clothes I used to wear in high school. It is very unlikely I will wear it again and I really doubt my daughter will want to wear it once she’s 15 years old. Also, the clothes that didn’t fit before I was pregnant like those jeans size 1 I still think I am going to be able to wear once again went to the box too.

  • Divide and Conquer– Finally, I divide all the clothes to keep in 3 groups:
    1. Pregnancy Size Clothes: I put on the left side of my closet all my maternity clothes. These are the stuff I can currently wear! I was amazed at how much maternity clothes I have, so it was a good surprise.
    2. Post Pregnancy Size Clothes: If you have never been pregnant, you would think that once your pregnancy is over you can go back to your normal size clothes. Unfortunately this is not the case. I put on the right side of my closet all my nursing tops and clothes that I will be able to wear in about 2 months.
    3. Normal Size Clothes: I put on my drawers all the clothes that I used to wear before pregnancy and that I think it will fit once again. I still need to try all this clothes by the end of the year and decide whether I want to keep it or donate it. 

And that’s it! It’s not the most perfect and organized wardrobe but I’m not trying to pursuit perfection. I just want to be able to pull out and put together a nice outfit that set the tone of the day without getting frustrated. And for that it serves its purpose!

Have you organized your clothes lately? Do you have any tips or trick you want to share?

Poll: What to do with my children clothes?

Here is my dilemma.

I have too much baby clothes that my daughter outgrown. I need to get rid of it and although I already donate it some during the fall, I still have too many.

My Weekly Meal Plan (February 27, 2012)

Last week we had a pretty good week not eating outside, although not too much following our meal plan. I’m glad I was able to made my homemade chicken stock because with all the illnesses in the family we preferred to ate soup most of the time.

Here is my meal plan for the week:

Monday:

Cheesy Pasta Alfredo with Salmon
I bought some fresh salmon last Saturday, eager to try this new recipe

Tuesday:

Pastelón de papa and vegetables
Since I wasn’t able to make it last week I’m moving it to this week

Wednesday:

Brown Sugar Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and French Onion Green Bean Casserole

Thursday:

Fried Rice (Latino Style)

Friday:

Homemade pizza

Saturday:

No Cooking day
With all the soup we had last week, we are skipping the soup this week!

Sunday:

Dinner at church

Note: I only plan for dinners since we have cereals, eggs, oatmeal or pancakes for breakfast and leftovers for lunches. Not a lot of variety but its works for my family.

How about you? What are your meal plans for the week?

Forgetting Ourselves

Last weekend there was a big explosion nearby where I live. Not sure if it was because I was still too far from where it happened or if I was too busy but I didn’t hear nor feel a thing. Actually it was not until a couple of hours later that a neighbor and friend told me what happened. The same way sometimes in our lives disasters happen around us and we don’t notice them. Maybe because we are too far or too busy with our lives we don’t hear anything and we are not able to respond.

In Philipians 2:3-4 says: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. This bible verse remind us God calls believers to show compassion and love to each other. It is important to focus on our neighbors and the needs around us instead of spending all our time focusing in ourselves.

Let’s put others first by listening and be aware of their needs before of thinking in our needs.

How I Cut My Grocery Budget

I’m glad to be back on my posting, after a week and half of illnesses in the family we are starting to feel better and everything is getting back to normal!

As you all know one of my goals for this year is to cook more and to stick to our budget. Although reducing our monthly grocery budget was not part of the plan, I’ve noticed we have spent less on groceries in the past few weeks with little effort. This has been a great unexpected bonus and I want to share how I was able to cut our grocery budget just by following these 3 simple principles.

Establishing a budget

If you don’t have a budget you can easily be spending more money than you think on your grocery shopping. Having a grocery budget helps you to stay on track and give you some boundaries when it’s time to go shopping. When establishing a budget, be realistic! Check how much you have been spending in the last 4-6 weeks. Average the amounts and start with that number. You can even set a less amount but don’t over do it.

Menu Planning

I know I’ve been talking a lot about planning your meals but it’s been a great discipline in my family. When you plan your meals you can go to the grocery store with a purpose and buy the things you are actually going to use. Also you won’t have to run to the grocery store at the last minute because you are doing pasta and run out of sauce. I can’t count how many times in the past I went grocery shopping and ended up eating outside the very next day because there was nothing decent to eat at home. Every week I used to throw away a lot of food and I was wasting money too. The sad thing about it is that I was not the only one. “A federal study found that 96.4 billion pounds of edible food was wasted by U.S. retailers, food service businesses and consumers in 1995 — about 1 pound of waste per day for every adult and child in the nation at the time. That does not count food lost from farms and by processors and wholesalers.” No wonder why we are on economic crisis!

Stock up

I first hear about stockpiling when I started reading about couponing. Stockpiling is basically the art to accumulate items you are going to need in a future. According to experience couponers, sales of products go in cycles. Once every 3 to 4 months these items go into their lowest sale prices. During that time you want to buy enough items to last until the item is on sale again. You don’t have to use coupons to apply the same principle. However stockpiling can be dangerous since you can end up wasting food you don’t use. That is why I have a list of the 20 items I use most. This are my personal staples and every time I see them going on sale I buy enough to last a couple of months. For example, this week Carlos’ favorite cereal is on sale so I will buy 16 boxes. Although that might be a huge amount for some families that is just about a 3 month supply in my family. I will be saving about 90% since I’m using coupons but even without the coupons I could have saved about 60% just by buying the items I use the most when they are on sale.

My Weekly Meal Plan for February 20, 2012 and Last Week Failure

If you know what failure means, you can then know how my weekly plan of last week went. The week started great on Monday and Tuesday but that’s about it. On Wednesday, I decided to have lasagna again since we have plenty of left over and Carlos loved it. I knew he wasn’t going to complain and decided to move No cooking day on Wednesday. Well, on Thursday I started having lots of contraction and ended up in the hospital. Neither less to say I was unable to cook that day, so I never bake my chicken nor the homemade chicken stock. Hoping for a better luck this week. Since I was sent home to rest, on Friday, I decided to order a pizza instead of making homemade pizza. On Saturday, I did follow my plan but on Sunday I forgot there was no church dinner so I ended up making wraps and blackberry shake.

To improve my weekly meals, I really need to have a plan B because after all what is life without interruptions. I need to have some extra meals in our freezer so we can avoid eating out. During the upcoming weeks I will be experimenting more with freezer cooking to complement my meal plans. I will post more about it later.

Here is my meal plan for the week:

Monday:

Rice with corn and baked chicken

Saving the leftover to make a homemade chicken stock to use on

my soup later this week *let see if it works

Tuesday:

Pastelón de papa and vegetables

Wednesday:

Pasta Carbonara and salad

Thursday:

No Cooking day

Friday:

Homemade pizza

Saturday:

Vegetable Pork Soup

Sunday:

Dinner at church

Note: I only plan for dinners since we have cereals, eggs, oatmeal or pancakes for breakfast and leftovers for lunches. Not a lot of variety but its works for my family.

How about you? What are your meal plans for the week?

Home Remedies: My Experiences

When I was growing up, I thought my mom new everything. It seems that every time I wasn’t feeling right she knew exactly what to do to make me feel better. Up to this day I still think she knows a lot. Shh…don’t tell her I wrote this. Okay, I’m sure she’s aware of it by now. Well I’m glad that during this past year I’ve been able to put in practice some of the home remedies I learned from my mom.

Oatmeal Bath

My daughter was born with eczema. She has regular skin rashes with redness spots all over her body. These rashes are very itchy and get worse during winter time. Her doctor prescribed a cream that works wonderfully but can only be applied after the rash appears and it usually takes a couple of days for the rash to completely disappear.  Determined to find a better solution for my baby girl skin condition I tried several moisturizers and washes during last year. No matter how expensive the product was, nothing really worked and she was still having the rashes quite often. When last winter came, the rashes got worse and my mom mentioned to give her an oatmeal bath. “Just blend some regular oatmeal until it is very fine and add it to warm water. Leave her in there for about 15min and that’s it.” told my mom. I tried her recommendation although I was a bit hesitant since it was so easy. Well I must say that my baby skin has improve tremendously. We make it a routine to gave her at least 3 oatmeal baths per week and the rashes doesn’t appear quite often anymore.

Honey and Lemon

This past week, my daughter started coughing and having some chest congestion. I called to make an appointment with her pediatrician, but he was was on vacation. Last time we went to the emergency room I spent 2 hours in the waiting room so that wasn’t an option either. I knew then, it was my time to put in practice my “mom knows best” attitude. That’s when it came to my memory one of my favorite recipes my mom used to prepare, and probably one of the few that actually tasted good: Honey and Lemon. Since I didn’t have any at home, I called my husband to bring me some in his way home. I didn’t measure anything I just kept adding honey and lemon until it tasted good. I’ve been giving her 1 tsp three times a day. Now after a couple of days of honey and lemon, prayers and rubbing some Vick’s on her back and chest at nights she is doing better. I’m still planning to take her to the doctor on Monday but I’m glad I was able to make her feel more comfortable until then.

Do you have a home remedy you use frequently?

Note: I’m not an expert and you should always consult with you doctor before trying any home remedies. Be aware, health experts recommend not to give honey to babies under one year old. Why? Because honey can carry spores from the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. This bacteria is the cause of botulism which can cause death. Although adults stomach acidity can kill these spores, infants immature intestines and immune defenses allow the spores to grow inside them.