October 28, 2014

One Month Old

I've always relished the anticipation in the days leading up to a birth. There's a wonderful mystery about them, as we live them out not knowing when baby will decide it's time. Because all it takes is baby to make up its mind, and a few hours later you have a birth story- a gender, a size, a name. But before that, it's all unknown. Which is always nerve-wracking for Cory, but exciting for me (smile). And the days up to this birth were no different. I finished this post fully intending on coming back, which never happened. 

Esther Pearl
This is a picture of me & belly the night of that last post, the 25th of September. Although I had light contractions the next two days, I still didn't expect to have baby until closer to our due date (October 2nd). And then this sweetheart decided to change my mind.

Esther Pearl
Calling our doula the night of the 27th with strong, 4 to 5 min apart contractions, she convinced me that perhaps it really "was time" to shuttle the sleeping kids to our neighbors, and make the half-hour journey to the hospital. And so we did, dropping off the (still-sleeping!) kids then trekking though our hilly country to the hospital (which is a pleasant drive when one is not having contractions- ahem). We got checked in around 11 pm, but I was barely dilated. They offered to send us home, but we knew better. We've learned I tend to birth quickly, and this time was no different. So we continued to quietly labor in the room, trusting in what was to come. At 1 am I had progressed to 3 cm... and then she was born at 2:02 am! She came rushing into the world, right into Cory's hands. His hands that have (thanks to gracious doctors) delivered all of our children. And there she's been ever since... in our hands and arms. Our Esther Pearl. 

Esther Pearl
It's been a wonderful month, babymooning with this little girl. Even though I've put everything else on hold, the time has still passed much too quickly. It always does. So I've been eager to return to this space. To slowly start creating again & documenting the days to come, before they pass too.  




September 25, 2014

DIY Envelope Receipt Book

The nesting continues! So far this week, in case you've missed a post, I've covered our Babysitter Folder and our Coupon Binder. I was telling a friend that I don't know how I'm going to balance three kids, but I do know how to organize papers and fill our freezer with food. So that's exactly what I've been doing (smile). The organizing inspiration is partly due to the wonderful book, "Organizing You" by Shannon Upton. More on that later in the post! 
DIY Envelope Receipt Book

This envelope book is perfect for keeping all your receipts in one place, especially if you ever need to return something. To make this book you'll need twelve envelopes of the same size. I used business envelopes because they fit our long receipts best! You'll be attaching the envelopes together by the flaps. Using a glue stick, rub glue over the entire flap before securing it to the next envelope. Here's what they will look like from the back:
DIY Envelope Receipt Book

The top flap was a little flimsy by itself, so I traced, cut and glued on a copy from heavy cardstock to make it stronger. I also hole-punched the top so a cord could be threaded through it. The cord's doubled through the hole, then one string is pulled through so the cords can wrap around the book both ways. (See next photo) 
DIY Envelope Receipt Book
DIY Envelope Receipt Book
Isn't that handy? Perfect for sticking in a drawer without all your receipts going everywhere! These little books are great for other uses too: keep all your receipts for the month to track your budget, use smaller envelopes with index cards to track birthdays, use larger envelopes to keep track of monthly pictures for scrap-booking... you get the idea.

And now I've got a wonderful book to share with you! I've devoured lots of books about organization, being the type A that I am. They've been helpful, but they've also fueled my type A-ness even more. And while my type A tendencies are handy, they also keep my focus on me versus bigger things. So it was wonderful to read "Organizing You" by Shannon Upton, which is written from a larger, Christian perspective. It was a great opportunity to think about why I think a clean house is important, and what was the minimum I could do and still be happy. 

Organizing You Quote

Finding my minimum is a personal goal for the next three months with baby! And Shannon shares lots of great tips for helping any busy mama do just that, while maximizing her time too. One of the first tips I'm trying to implement is dedicating each of my weekdays to a different task. While I've always had a Cleaning Day and an Errand Day- it's essential with stores over half an hour away- there are great ideas for other chore days too. My favorite might be starting a Communication Day: "Every mom could use a Communication Day, a day when you can catch up on your e-mails, pay bills, address birthday cards, write thank-you notes, and call your grandma." And a dedicated Laundry Day might help me stay on top of all the cloth diapers & baby clothes! All in all I've really enjoyed this book, and appreciate Shannon giving me the chance to share it with you too (smile). 

I'm concluding my nesting posts tomorrow with a peek into my cookbook binder and a few of our favorite recipes. I'll try to keep posting regularly after baby arrives, but our Instagram account & Facebook page are the best place to check for updates. Thanks for the good thoughts & prayers as we prepare for this new little creature, we're getting so excited! 

Disclaimer: I've included some Amazon links for your convenience. Any purchases help support this little blog without adding any additional cost, thank you!

*Find more Creative Ideas on our Facebook page & Pinterest boards.
Thanks for visiting!

DIY Envelope Receipt Book



September 24, 2014

DIY Coupon Binder

For the record, I'm not a coupon guru. I have followed some coupon gurus and implemented just about every system, but they didn't work for me. I ended up buying more, all for the sake of a good deal. And I realized that spending an extra twenty, thirty, fifty dollars on stuff I wouldn't be buying anyways was not really saving us money. It was too easy for me to legitimize splurging! Which doesn't work, because buying very little that we don't really need- then thrifting and saving for the rest- is how we survive on one budget. So here's how I organize only the coupons I know we'll use. I created this system for myself over two years ago, and it's worked really well ever since.

DIY Coupon Binder
I didn't say it was fancy! For this system you'll need a three-ring binder, plastic sheet protectors, and lined three hole paper. A Sunday newspaper and a large cup of tea won't hurt either (wink). You'll want to devote a plastic protector and three hole paper for each coupon category you choose. 

My coupon categories (in order) are:
*Eat Out Coupons
*Canned Goods
*Dry Goods
*Meat & Dairy
*Freezer
*Health & Beauty
*Misc. 

DIY Coupon Binder
Then, under that category, you'll list your coupons as you add them. I list the product, the amount the coupon is for, and when it expires. Then I put the whole coupon sheet in the plastic protector. I don't clip them until I'm ready to use them- which also saves me time because they don't always get used. If a coupon sheet has two coupons (one on the front, another on the back) that fit into two categories, I just list both coupons in one category.  

Then, when I'm ready to compile my grocery list for the week, I compare my binder to the weekly grocery ads and try to combine deals. I also try to plan meals around my coupons & the weekly grocery ad as much as I can. When I've grabbed the coupon sheets I need for that week, I then cut all my coupons out at once and put them into my coupon envelope. 

DIY Coupon Binder
This handy envelope is always in my purse so I know where to find it. There is nothing worse than clipping coupons- then leaving them on the counter! Like I said, it's not fancy but it's worked well to save us money. Hopefully it can work for you too, or give you some ideas for fine-tuning your own (smile).

For more ideas, continue to stay tuned this week! I'll be sharing a review of "Organizing You" by Shannon Upton, which I've enjoyed so much. Here's a quote from her book:

Organizing You Quote

Disclaimer: I've included some Amazon links for your convenience. Any purchases help support this little blog without adding any additional cost, thank you!

*Find more Creative Ideas on our Facebook page & Pinterest boards.
Thanks for visiting!

DIY Coupon Binder



September 23, 2014

Free Printable:: Baby-sitter Information Sheet

I'll be sharing some ways we've been getting organized for baby this week, including Free Printables (hooray for last minute nesting energy!) and a review of the awesome book "Organizing You" by Shannon Upton. With baby arriving soon, the first thing we've had to consider is where Isia & Billy will go. When we left our city tribe behind a year ago I wasn't sure how long it would take build one up here in the woods. Not to replace our city one- you can never replace friends- but to complement it. And now, a year and a month later, we have four beautiful families close by that are graciously awaiting the phone-call to take care of our little ones. There aren't words for what a blessing it is, to know not only are they willing to... but they want to. We've been surrounded by so many people who enjoy our kids- who are far from perfect, just as we all are- as much as we do. To make sure the kids were ready to head out, I had their suitcase packed long before my own hospital bag. I also revamped the old babysitter sheet I had created years ago with this new one. 

Babysitter Info Sheet
I three-hole punched the new babysitter sheet and put in the middle of our three-prong folder baby-sitter folder. I love three-prong folders and actually keep one for each kid (more on that another time). On the baby-sitter folder, I wrote the kids' full names, our house phone number and address on the outside cover for easy reference. Then I fastened the babysitter sheet, along with medical consent forms for long trips away, on the interior prongs. I usually tuck a note with any other information that might be needed in the inside pocket, but everything else stays put so it's ready when we need it. 

Here's the printables in case you want to create a babysitter folder, or revamp one that you already have too!

For three kids: Babysitter Folder Printable

*Find more Creative Ideas on our Facebook page & Pinterest boards.
Thanks for visiting!

DIY Babysitter Folder