Wednesday, October 22, 2014

This Mama Studies Update

Evangeline helping me study anatomy. 
I have now reached the half way mark in my semester so I thought I would give an update on how my two classes are progressing.  I am taking a Nutrition class on line and Anatomy and Physiology I in person two nights a week.  One night is lecture night while the second night is just for the lab.  It's really the equivalent of taking three classes.  I spend about three hours a week studying for the Nutrition class and about ten hours studying for the Anatomy class.  On test weeks I try to squeeze in a few more hours but that doesn't always happen.

I have been a student as a mama before so in many ways studying and balancing my various roles is old hat.  In other ways it is completely new ball game.  I now have two children and a lot less free time.  :)  I have a lot more competing for my free time these days.  I also don't think that Eli was ever sick while I was a student.  Having a sick baby and trying to be a good student changes everything.  Still the happy hubby and I are really excited about this new path that God is leading me down.

I did skip a week of school to visit family and I doubt I will do something like that again in the future.  I really enjoyed getting away and spending time with family but it was a little stressful trying to finish assignments and such.  I survived but it was a lot more difficult catching up on five missed hours of lab and lecture than I thought.   (It's very difficult to make up lab time because I don't have a slide and microscopes at home.)  We ended up having to stop at a McDonald's around 11pm one evening just so that I could submit an assignment that was due while we were traveling!  The happy hubby has been my biggest cheerleader the entire time.  I am so thankful for him.

I will say that I am enjoying both of my classes and I have really learned a lot this semester.  My anatomy class is SO interesting!  I continue to be amazed at the wonder of God's creation when he made us.

I am anxious to start the lactation part of my training for the ibclc exam.  Hopefully God will show us soon what that should look like for next year.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Frugal Things I Did The Last Two Weeks

The cheery pumpkins I made at my mother-in-law's house.  
The last two weeks have been challenging as Evangeline has been ill.  First she had croup, then she caught a horrible stomach virus which lasted 9 days, and the poor girl also had her first ear infection!  She was sick for over two weeks and took two trips to Children's and 3 visits to the pediatrician (and I'm not a mom that takes her kids to the pediatrician unless they are really sick).  We are so thankful that she is feeling better!  Here are a few things we did the last two weeks to save money and enjoy the simple life:

I was so thankful that we were able to eat a few freezer meals that I had made last month.  We did end up eating out a lot more than we usually do but I am thankful that our budget didn't take a bigger hit than it easily could have.  I usually have a few freezer meals or at least some soup in the freezer at all times.  I would love to try to have more muffins, breakfast meals, and desserts stocked away.  Any suggestions?  

We took a last minute trip to visit family.  It was so nice to see family that live far away.  I made the pumpkins pictured above while I was there.  I gifted the far right pumpkin to my parents when we returned.  (They are always so gracious to take care of everything at our home while we are away.)  I have been thinking about adding the phrase "Happy Fall Y'all" to one of the pumpkins but I also like them plain.  We shall see! 

I enjoyed reading some borrowed magazines and books from the library.  

We picked a big bag of peppers from our garden.  Thankfully this year our peppers were very prolific.  We ate lots of peppers in main dishes and raw as a snack.  I also chopped up a lot of peppers into strips and froze them in the freezer.  Around here peppers are expensive especially the colored ones which I love.  I think they cost about $1.80 at Meijer (not even organic) but they occasionally go on sale for $1 but that is still expensive.  Growing our own peppers has saved us lots of money this year.  I try to eat a couple of peppers each week as a snack since they are so healthy.  We also enjoy them in stir fries, chili, and various main dishes.  I definitely plan on growing just as many peppers next year if not more!

Evangeline on her birthday still not feeling very well while she enjoyed the new sling that I made. 
I made a sling for Evangeline for her birthday.  I used materials I had on hand and the pattern had been purchased for $1 last year.

We took a family trip to the zoo where we have a zoo pass.  It is always so much fun!  This time we took my sister Rebekah along with us.  We also packed a nice picnic lunch which we ate before we walked around.  Our zoo has such a nice picnic area that it really is a shame not to use it!

The happy hubby and I went on a much needed date.  :)  It was lovely and such a treat after 2 weeks of a sick baby.  We ate a wonderful dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse using a gift card we had been given.  Then we actually went swimming together which was so fun!  I think it had been over a year since we had been swimming without kids.

Eli loves playing outside!
We have spent a lot of time outside playing despite the fact that Evangeline has not felt well.  Elijah has really enjoyed finding all sorts of treasures and collecting leaves as they change colors.  The trees are absolutely gorgeous at our home.  Hopefully I will have some free time to photograph them before they all fall off!

I purchased a few books and games for Elijah at a garage sale.  I gave him one of the items (A Color Wonder Black) to occupy the time on our trip.  The rest of the items I have saved in a box downstairs for Christmas or his birthday.

I sat down and started making preparations for Christmas in the form of lists.  I follow a loose version of the Holiday Grand Plan at Organized Christmas.  Hopefully this week I will be able to start sewing!

What frugal things did you do last week?  

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sew A New Native Sling: McCall's 5678 Review

I made Evangeline a sling for her birthday! 
I have been wanting a baby sling for Evangeline for the last 6 months.  We have a number of baby carriers but I really wanted to have a baby sling that I could put on in just a few seconds for short episodes of baby wearing.  Originally I hoped to purchase a Maya Wrap Ring Sling but the money I had saved for that was needed to buy gas for a trip we just took.  Then I decided to try to make a Maya.  The company is so nice that they even put the instructions for how to sew one on their website!  When it came time to sew the Maya Wrap I could not find my special ring slings that a friend had given me years ago.

Then I remembered the McCalls pattern I had purchased last year that included a Mei Tai and a sling pouch.  Ta da!  The sling looks very similar to a New Native Sling Pouch.  The happy hubby was watching the kiddos so this was the perfect time to get started on a new project just in time for Evangeline's first birthday!  I am really pleased with how it turned out!

Back view without baby.
 I made View A in a size large.  I measured myself from shoulder to hip and this appeared to be the perfect size.  In hindsight I think the sling is a little snug.  The next time that I sew this pattern I would probably add about 2".
Backview with baby.
 I used a fun cotton print for the exterior that I had in my stash that is heavier than your average woven cotton print.  I did line the sling as the pattern suggested with a fun polka dot fabric that actually came from a sheet.  One thing that I didn't realize until I was sewing this project is the fact that the sling is actually reversible!  Pretty neat!  It would be really cute to make one side a boy print and one side a girly print if you were giving it as a gift.

 I almost skipped the exterior pocket to save time but I am glad that I didn't.  It is really handy to throw my phone or keys inside.  I did not add the pocket to the inside because I didn't want anything to rub against the baby and I didn't want to add any unnecessary work.  :)

The Velcro placement for the pocket appears to be a misprint.  I don't think the Velcro should be placed against the fold line.  I moved mine down an inch or two.  (I also used PINK Velcro for this project.)  I also added top stitching after step 15 which really makes the project look nice.

Overall I am pleased with how the sling turned out besides the fact that it is just a little bit snug.  (I would never be able to breastfeed while wearing this which I can successfully do with a young baby in the Baby K'Tan.)  :)  I do think that this would make a nice gift but it might be difficult to make the right size without taking measurements.

Since this sling isn't bulky at all I can roll it up tightly and place it in my diaper bag which is a huge bonus!  You never know when your baby might need to be carried when you least expect it!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

September Reads

I realize that I mentioned last month that I was certain that I would still find time to read at least a few books each month.  Perhaps I was feeling crazy because I really don't have time to read right now.  On the flip side I am someone who just has to read.  When I haven't read a book in a while I find myself just yearning to read!  This month I will be tweaking my routine because I really want to squeeze in a little more reading despite my busy schedule.   Here are the books that I read this past month:

One Pot: 120+ Easy Meals from Your Skillet, Slow Cooker, Stockpot, and MoreFrom the Kitchens of Martha Stewart: As crazy as this sounds I really enjoy reading cookbooks.  I don't just read them because I usually make at least a handful of the recipes that I find.  What is so neat about this cookbook is that every meal can be prepared in just one pot as the title suggests.  Easy cleanup and easy cooking which is perfect for this busy season of life.  I have about 10 recipes bookmarked to cook in the next few weeks.  I also made one of the chicken recipes that included parsnips last week which was a huge hit at our house.  I made the entire meal in my Lodge Cast-Iron Dutch Oven.  The only part of the cookbook that I didn't like was the slow cooker portion.  I don't plan on making any of the Crock-Pot recipes and really feel like they should have omitted the slow cooker portion of the cookbook.  Please note that I did receive a copy of this book from Blogging for Books.

I am also still enjoying my ESV Women's Devotional Bible and have been reading in Psalms.

What books did you read in September?