Saturday, March 28, 2015

I'm baaaack!

Wow, it's been a year since I last wrote a blog post and that makes me sad. A lot has changed in the last year for my family & I. I was lucky enough to work from home for 4 years, but I had to make a switch and find a job outside of the home at the end of March last year. I was very blessed to find a job quickly and it has been a great fit. However, I put blogging on the back burner. It was certainly an adjustment making the switch to working outside of the home. My commute with traffic is roughly 40 minutes each way plus the time I spend getting Lana ready and dropping her off at school or my parent's house. No more pjs until 5pm and walking to my office just down the hall. Sad, I know. By the time I get home and eat dinner, I just want to sit and do nothing, especially being pregnant. But there's always house work to do and errands to run. We're always on the go. So I have really neglected Mama Knows Nest. But no more! I miss it so much and I shouldn't let anything keep me from doing something I love. I'm baaaack!

So what's new? We've almost been in our home for 2 years now. It's still coming along and we are always working on some kind of project.

Over the last year…

*We built this awesome "mudroom" area in our entry way. The hall was full of closets and so closed off, so we opened it up a bit with shoe and coat storage. We just need to put the finishing touches on it and then I will share pictures.

*We repainted the living room per my husband's suggestion and I am so glad we did. It looks so much better! I just need to trust his judgement with picking colors, because apparently that is not my forte.

*We also added new crown molding and baseboard to the living room.

*Our kitchen is still living in 1965, but hey the original stove still works perfectly so we are going to hold off on that for a bit, especially because that will be our biggest expense. Our plan is to turn the basement into Eric's "man cave", turn the family room into the dining room, and knock down the wall between the kitchen and the current dining room to make one large kitchen. I am REALLY excited for that, but we don't want to charge ANYTHING so we are saving our pennies!

*We are REALLY ready for spring and summer to get here. It's "officially" spring, but today is in the 30s, so we'd rather stay inside baking brownies and playing Wii games. But once the weather is nicer we have a lot list of things to do to the yard, including staining the fence that we finished last fall.

*We're going to attempt planting all of our own seeds for flowers this year, rather than buying flowers at Lowe's.

And the list goes on and on and on…

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What else?

Well, I am just about 31 weeks pregnant with baby girl Leathem #2! And we are sooo excited! My due date is June 1st. Nesting is in full effect and Shaklee is certainly coming in handy for all of the cleaning that needs done.

This pregnancy started out very familiar with tons of nausea and all of that fun stuff, but luckily it ended around 3 months, just like it did with Lana. I have SO much more energy, and I have gained a lot less weight than I did during my first pregnancy. Norah (that's her name) is a true Shaklee baby! I've used all Shaklee supplements, with the exception of folic acid, Shaklee shakes, meal bars, and energizing tea. I've cleaned my house using only Shaklee products and it feels great to know that baby and I (and Eric and Lana of course) are surrounded by a much less toxic environment.

Did you hear about the study done on newborn umbilical cord blood? Over 200 toxins were found in each of the babies that were involved in the study. When I read that I was floored! And it's all due to the environment that we are surrounded by. That is the moment we decided to become a Shaklee home!

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Lana is 3 1/2 now and just finishing another year at her toddler school. She has really blossomed in the last year since she started school. It amazes me how much she learns and how smart she is. She's got this incredible personality that just puts a huge smile on mine and Eric's faces and we feel so blessed to call her our daughter.

In the fall she will be attending Eden Christian Academy, which is very exciting. I am anxious to see how that transition goes.

So that is an update on Mama Knows Nest. I hope to come back each week to share more with you!



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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How to Save Money on Groceries

"What's for dinner?" Such a simple question, yet such a hard one to answer sometimes. You've probably been there…searching through your kitchen cupboards, fridge and freezer for something, anything to make for dinner. In the past, a common response of mine was "we don't have any food" which meant we had 2 choices: 1. go out to eat or 2. go to the grocery store to buy something. Typically, #1 was much more appealing because by the time you drive to the grocery store, purchase your groceries, drive home, and cook it, you could possibly die of hunger. For real!

How to Save Money on Groceries

Going out to eat a lot has it's consequences though. First of all, it's much more expensive than cooking at home. And secondly, it's not always healthy. My husband and I were definitely suffering from both of those consequences. We spent too much money and I would never have referred to myself as a healthy person at that point. We used to go out to eat on average maybe 3-4 nights a week. I didn't feel like cooking, we "never had any food", and going out to dinner was fun. However, Eric and I decided to join the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University small group at our church a few years back.  At that time, I was pregnant, we wanted to buy a house, and we needed to start paying off debt, but before that could be done we needed to know where our money was going. I decided to take a look at our average spending when it came to going out to eat. I won't admit the exact amount, but it was embarassingly high. Needless to say we started cooking at home more.

Throughout the years I have learned a lot about cooking and eating healthier at home. I am in awe of the internet, blogs, & Pinterest and I am so grateful for the amount of resources available to me for recipes, tips on freezer meals, grocery shopping, budgeting and more.

With that said, I'd like to share a few tips with you!

Know what foods you have available in your kitchen/pantry at all times. To help with this, I created some kitchen inventory printables to keep our household organized. A few of our food cupboards are like black holes. If a can of this or a bag of that gets shoved too far back in the cupboard we may not find it for a long, long time. The printables definitely help with that because we don't have to rummage through them when we're wondering what we have and we don't have to worry about food being unaccounted for. I know refrigerators and freezers tend to have their own black holes at times too, so there are printables for them as well! I used to hate it when I'd find something that I forgot that we had only to realize it was expired. I would also sometimes have 5 boxes of spaghetti noodles in the cupboard because I could never remember if we had any, so I'd just buy another box.

Go grocery shopping in your own kitchen. We usually do a big grocery shopping trip every 2 weeks and I love being prepared because it cuts down on unnecessary spending and allows us to avoid wasting the food that we already have. The best way to prepare for a grocery trip is to look at your inventory printables and figure out what foods you have and can use in the upcoming weeks, especially before they expire. I like to call it grocery shopping in your own kitchen.

Chances are, there are lots of options for meals sitting right in your cupboards, fridge or freezer. Maybe you have lots of veggies in your fridge that are about to go bad. Not sure what to make with them? Get creative! Get your crock pot out, chop up some veggies, add some spices and a roast. If you still struggle with good ideas, check out http://www.supercook.com. All you have to do is add food items that you have and it comes up with recipes for you! Even if you have to get an item or 2 at the grocery store to be able to use something at home, at least you will be using it and not letting it sit in your cupboards for months.

Plan your meals. Sit down and plan out what you will eat each night in 2 week increments. We usually follow our meal planner very well, although at times things will come up unexpectedly. If that happens we just push the meals one day further. I like writing our meals on a chalkboard that hangs in the kitchen so that my hubby knows what's for dinner. If you'd like grocery lists and meal planner printables, you can click here.

Meal Planning

Clip coupons. I am not an Extreme Couponer by any means, I'm actually still learning a lot about coupons and how to use them to their advantage, but I do enjoy using coupons whenever I can. I get a Sunday paper every week and I clip what I need. I organize them in a coupon organizer that I purchased from ThirtyOne.

I also use www.coupons.com, coupons that I get in the mail, at the grocery store, and I sometimes do some digging on Google to see if I can find anything else that will help. I used to ignore coupons and I thought they didn't really help, but they do! I just saved $10 on a shopping trip yesterday, which is a big deal to me.

One thing to be careful of when clipping coupons is the coupon high. Sure, there are tons and tons of coupons that you could clip, but should you? Just be careful that you don't clip coupons just for the sake of clipping. Only clip coupons for things that you really need.

Research grocery store specials. I normally look to see what is on sale at Whole Foods, Giant Eagle and Target because those are the places we shop the most. BOGO deals are huge and if it's for an item that you commonly use, you don't want to pass that up. Knowing what is on sale also helps me organize my coupons for extra savings.

So, those are a few tips from me. I hope they can help you and your household get organized and save money!


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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Diabetic Friendly Chocolate Chip Cookies

healthy chocolate chip cookies
I looove chocolate chip cookies, and so does my dad! However, he is a diabetic so he has to watch what he eats. When he eats chocolate chip cookies made from a regular recipe his sugar spikes of course, and we want to prevent that. I want him to be able to enjoy yummy desserts, but without the negative consequences.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Better Health & Wellness: An Update on My Journey

I believe that the journey to better health and wellness is a long road, at least it has been for me. The most important aspect of healthier living is understanding that you need to change. Next, you must research your options…learn about real food, find out where you can buy organic products, gather recipes, learn about vitamins and supplements. Then finally, put a plan into action!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fantastic Friday #23

Happy Friday! Welcome to the Fantastic Friday link up! I have had so much fun hosting over the past 3 months. This will be the last time I host for a while. I'm taking a little break! But thank you to return visitors and please continue to visit my blog and MaMade Creations for more link ups!

Fantastic Friday Link Up

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Homemade Baby Wipes

I really love trying new things! This past week has been one big adventure, mostly food wise, but I also experimented with making homemade baby wipes for the first time. On top of trying to eat healthier and lose weight, I want to also strap down on budgeting, so this is one way to start saving money! 

Homemade Baby Wipes

Friday, February 28, 2014

Fantastic Friday #22

Hello everyone!! Happy Friday! If you're new to the Fantastic Friday link up, I'd like to say welcome! And if you're returning, thank you very much. We are so happy to have you! Take a look around! I hope you enjoy it!

Fantastic Friday Link Up


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fantastic Friday #21

Welcome back to Fantastic Friday! Time to mingle with others and link up!

Fantastic Friday Link Up

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