Friday, December 25, 2015

So Long, Folks!!

I"ll keep it short and sweet, Mamas. I'm retiring this blog, and will be beginning anew through Wordpress. The site is in the works, but for now, as I begin a full 5-class semester, as well as deal with potty training, picky eating, elementary school cheerleading, and going back to work, I will no longer be able to be there for my readers.

I wish you all the best of luck in the upcoming year!

Love ya Mamas!


P.s.- You can find my new blog on

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Great Purge: Bathroom Closet

As the rage of the minimalist lifestyle sweeps its way through Mommy Nation, so too has it enthralled me. Partly because there's too much crap in this too small house, and partly because I feel the need to live a little more simply. I took my first step with this in a previous post, Self-Inflicted Smothering, where I realized my place of refuge was making my anxiety worse because of all the clothes I had piling up. 
 Then, I took it one step further, and completely organized/emptied my basement! Needless to say, Spring Cleaning won't get me anywhere if I'm just dusting off my junk!

One place I try to keep tidy is my bathroom. Unfortunately, I had started to just cover up my clutter by hanging a sheet in the first. What you can't see won't kill ya, right? Wrong! It to no end to see all that crap piled up! It had to go...

Seriously, two half empty bags of cotton balls? 

I found things half-used, or simply empty! It was no wonder I was so cluttered and disorganized.

I like having first aid supplies on hand, but they were all over the place! NO MORE! Two tupperware bowls, and I was in business.

My bottom shelf was the worst, I felt. My makeup box was in the way, and everything just sort of smooshed around it. I couldn't get to my makeup without knocking something off or over.

Not only did I clean up my overstuffed makeup box, (Which should be done every six months!!) I organized all the little things cluttering around it! Hair ties are now in neat little cups, and my red tote has all the samples, brushes, razors, and odds and ends inside.

Do you see what I see? Wasted floor space! And...well, bags of wrappers and such. A baby bath  that was used twice? To the basement with you!

A foot soak machine? You can stay, absolutely!

A basin with my stash of Bath & Body works soap and body spray? Looks like your contents are going to the top of the closet, and giving up some extra space!

Aaaah, much better! And now I had a place to put my Swiffers, too!

I always found a way to hoard shampoo, conditioner, and soap. It wasn't on purpose! It just sorta happened that way. And since I'm a tall gal, my cleansers usually went over sinks and in cupboards, rather than under the sink. (Saves on baby proofing, too!) And so, I organized my many bottles of shower gear, and put them where I knew they'd be safe from sticky toddler hands, and rummaging hubby who 'can't find his deodorant', despite it being in the same place. Ever. Single. Time.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Minimalist Me: The Dark Below

 So, while I had the chance to tap into the Mother-In-Law powers, I took advantage of the Self-Inflicted Smothering idea, and began to work on the abyss that had become my basement.

First of all, this was in my basement. Boxes upon boxes upon boxes. But why? We've been here four years now, and yet I'd not thrown out a single box. I was always hoping that we'd need them to move into a place of our own. And yet, they were covered in webs, and stacked to the rafters. Nuh-uh. That was no way to go. All boxes and bags that had nothing in them went out.

 There were shelves on the front wall of my basement, and since the windows are well insulated, M-I-L decided that's where the canned goods needed to go. As well as some books. And I think a board game. And the Christmas Tree. You know what? It's a really popular wall. But it looks -neat-, and that was the point.

 For the desk I had used for the canned goods before, we decided to put the winter clothes and Christmas ornaments up. Nice and Neat!

I'd have to say that this was the hardest part. All of the clothes from upstairs were now in boxes and bags. But that meant one thing: YARD SALE TIME!

All in all, it was a positive experience, and a serious jump forward to getting rid of the excess, and the clutter. Good luck to ya, Mamas, on your clean-up expeditions. Love ya!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

EMERGENCY DINNER RECIPE: Brought to you by experience!

Hello again, all my Mamas. I'd like to take a moment (and a deep breath) and tell you about the hysterics I went into last night.

You see, I have this habit of going to pieces at dinner time. The one time of day I take great pride in my work, and it usually falls to pieces like cardboard in a puddle. Something usually happens to completely wreck my Kitch-Zen. At 3:30 p.m., I realized I had forgotten to pull out some meat to thaw, and cook with. This is where the panic sets in. We don't go out to eat, like, ever, so ordering a pizza was out of the question. I was also out of coupons for my local Papa Murphy's, so a premade pizza wasn't going to happen, either. The idea of going to the grocery store with a whiny toddler and a hyper seven year old made me want to curl into a ball and cry. I felt like there was nothing I could do...

BUT WAIT! My fridge had the answers, if I only looked deeper! There was chicken breast  left over from my chicken salad!! And salsa! And cheese! AND EVEN TORTILLAS FROM TWO WEEKS AGO! (they don't get stale in the fridge until a month after opening. Tried and tested, Mamas. SMH)

Dear reader, please never try to use the good ol' mixer in the bowl technique for shredding chicken. YOU NEED A CROCK POT OR A STAND MIXER. If not, suffer the wrath of the shredded chicken spray, as seen above.

So, this seasoning right here is a lifesaver. I love love love LOVE it, and have come to use it just about every time I've cooked, with the exception of my Italian themed meals.  Adobo gives a perfect flavor to any meat, and it is found (usually) at your local Wal-Mart, or anywhere else GOYA products are sold. I wanted to include it because I used it to season my chicken breast the night before. Yummers!

Why, hello there, Organic item from ALDIs! This salsa is amazing, full of flavor, and (I think) costs less than Pace Picante salsa from larger retailers. Can I get an A-MEN?! (Or, at least, a pat on the shoulder?) Add about 1/3 cup of salsa to your shredded chicken, honey. 
 So, I didn't take a picture of the shredded cheese because...Well, it's shredded cheese. Choose your own adventure here. My family loves Mozarella, so I buy blocks of Mozz and shred away. If yours loves sharp chedder, Pepper Jack, whatever, then do so. Add about 1/2 cup of your favorite cheese here. Mix it up!

 Aside from the chicken breast, seeing this in my fridge almost made me weep tears of joy. I can make any frikin' taco burrito thing I want, and all because I still have tortillas. 

Add a big ol' spoonful of your mixture to the tortilla.

Fold it up. Wrap it up. Whatever you can do to NOT let the filling fall out. I usually tuck the ends in, because I'm awful at rolling burritos.

Place them on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray (Or olive oil. I dunno how y'all do it.) Spray the burritos a li'l bit, too. Gives 'em a nice crispy brown texture without burning 'em.

Bake these bad boys at a generic 350 degrees for about...Oh, 10 minutes. 


Love ya!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Self-inflicted smothering

That's what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get...more stuff! Sometimes you gotta move, gotta get a bigger house. Why? No room for your stuff anymore!" ~George Carlin, 'It's Bad For Ya'

Well, Mister Carlin, you had it all right. It seems like all we do is buy more and more stuff. My husband jokes that we can't go into Wal-Mart without spending $100, and you know what? Sometimes, he's right. Every time I leave the house, I end up spending money somehow! It sucks, because with a modest, two-bedroom house, things can get cramped really fast. Take my bedroom, for example. This is supposed to be my place to rest. My haven. And it's slowly smothering me.


This is the clean laundry I have no room for, despite a closet and large dresser. 

Speaking of closet and dresser, I keep my winter blankets and baby things here, on the top shelf of my closet. It overflows onto my dresser. Yikes.

This is my shoe collection. And my record player. And a computer that has my husband's old business records on it. And the hanging clothes of my closet, half of which I never wear, or are too small.

I was sabotaging my own personal space. My place to reflect and unwind was so jumbled, it was no wonder I couldn't find rest! And so, with the urge to deep clean like Springtime powering me, I decided to tackle my closet.

First, I looked at what was hanging up, and tossed out the clothes I'd held onto since I was nineteen. NINETEEN! I will never be a size 4 again, who was I trying to fool? Bye-Bye snug dresses!

Ok, that wasn't so hard. I could do this!

Second, I looked at the blouses that were hanging there. One of them belonged to my mother, who had left the blouse when she came to visit three years ago. Must not have been important, so out you go! Then my black blouses that were a size...Medium. Medium, really, Em? C'mooooon. 

Alright! Still going strong! And look at all my hangers! 

(I would leave my husband's clothes, since he was the one who would have to face that attachment issue. Suits from his days as a Kirby Vacuum Salesman? That was ten years ago!)

With the hanging area looking nice, I moved on to my dresser. Oh, god. The drawers were crammed FULL of clothes from both winter, and just t-shirts I had acquired over the years. It was time to roll up my proverbial sleeves and tackle this. But I will tell ya, it was hard.

My T-shirts from High School activities, like the theatre productions and state debate awards, these were still in good condition, but far too small. I did not have the same cup size or tummy size in high school as I do now, and so it had to go!
Anything that was torn or damaged immediately went to recycling!

The shirts I kept with memories were:
-My mother's Volunteer Berlin shirt, when we were stationed in Germany.
-My father's 'Warlords' Infantry company shirt.
-My Rocky Horror Picture Show shirt (that I fully intend on turning into a pillow or something) from my first RHPS viewing.
-My Big Bang Theory XL shirt that I wore for pregnancy reasons.
-My Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band shirt, for the same reason as above.

Everything else was gone. Poof. And that was hard.

That, my dear Mamas, is the small pile of clothes I am sending to the consignment store three towns over. It includes clothes that I had for Monster Girl, Beans, and myself. Hopefully, another family will find use for it. Otherwise, to Goodwill it goes!
I will tackle the top shelf and baby clothes on top of my dresser soon enough.
I don't think I could part with my shoes, though. That's the hardest part!
Love ya, Mamas. <3

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sample Test: Seacret, Dead Sea Minerals On My Face!

So, a friend of my husband sent us a sample pack of products that he sells. The company is called Seacret, and it's a body/facial regimen that prides itself on Dead Sea Minerals, and all natural extracts. I have NORMAL/DRY SKIN, meaning my T-Zone has graduated from puberty, and my cheeks tend to be patchy and uneven. 
This is my unpaid, honest opinion of the morning facial regimen. 

 I started off with the mineral-rich peeling gel, the facial cleansing milk, and the refining toner. These sample packets have the bare minimum, and while using them, I remembered the old adage 'A little goes a long way', and it really does in this case!
 Also pictured is my toothpaste.

This is my loverly face after vacation. I did a little binge eating (because Portuguese food is amaaaaaazing!), and drank a glass of wine every night. My skin didn't like that one bit! How dare I stray from the norm! You can see the redness on my cheeks, and that wonderful breakout on my bottom lip and chin. 
Skin feels: A little rough. I have dry patches on my cheeks, and acne bumps. T-Zone is not greasy, or dry. Blackheads and pores are apparent on nose and chin. 


 <- This is what happens when you
use the gel, and your face is wet!

This is what happens when you
 use the gel, and your face
is dry! ->

Skin feels: TIGHT TIGHT TIGHT! Oh my god, it's like I've used some oil-absorbing facial wash. It also feels a little sticky, despite rinsing thoroughly, and wiping my face with a soft cloth. I don't think I did the peel correctly.


This is a little different from your average facial cleanser. First of all, you use a clean cotton ball to massage it into your skin.

Secondly, it feels like I'm rubbing wet velvet into my skin. The instructions say nothing about rinsing this product, so I tried to let it dry. I really, really tried. Nope. My face felt FUNKY! So I rinsed as much as I could. This is the ick from my face. See that gray and brown? That's what was 'cleaned'.

Skin feels: Ridiculously soft, even though I'm afraid to touch it with my bare fingers. A little gooey, too, with the product being left on.

Now we come to the toner. The cotton ball on the left shows what was left over.

Skin feels: Not quite as gooey as before, but I can almost feel the product just sitting on my face. Flare-ups and redness ensues. Damn you, sensitive skin!

Up next, we have the eye gel. I threw this in at the last minute, as well as the moisturizer, because I wanted a full product experience.
This tiny dab actually did pretty well. It smoothed over my skin like butter, and didn't sting or make my eyes water like other eye gels tend to do.
The picture of my eyes are a good comparison for a before and after. Even five minutes later, my eyes felt less puffy. The bags seemed to improve, too.


Now, this little packet was impressive. I used the WHOLE thing, because necks need love, too.

Two swoops of face cream with a pleasant scent was a good place to start. I gave myself a good facial massage, since the instructions were to massage gently until product had absorbed. If I was going to do something right, it would be this.

The silky texture was a bonus, and made it easier to just keep massaging. Afterwards, I felt like I should have a tub of this for my entire body.

Skin feels: Holy crap. Facial sins of my past were forgiven once this product had been absorbed. While it felt a little heavy for summertime, it was still quite luxurious. I'd say my skin felt hydrated, but overly so on my T-Zone, to the point of feeling heavy.
Even that little flare-up of redness seemed to disappear once it was over.

All in all, I was pleased with the process. The instructions say that the whole thing is to be done morning and night, and the other sample packets seem to focus more on diminishing wrinkles and not adult acne. Would I buy this product? Probably. I think I'd keep it as my winter routine, since the frigid Wisconsin temperatures wreak havoc on my skin. I'd definitely keep the eye gel year round, though.  Seacret Spa has a high price tag, but the product -works-, and that's why I suggest it as a Mother's Day splurge, or Tax Refund splurge.

Currently, it is 11 p.m., and my it still feels like there's too much moisturizer on my forehead. However, when hubby leaned over to kiss me around lunchtime, he was surprised. "Your face feels like a snuggly blanket. What'd you do?" He still rubs my cheek with the back of his hand, and says, "Yup, still soft."

;) Love ya, Mamas. Have fun!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Adventures in Breastfeeding: Bittersweet

Monster Girl finally weaned last month. As I've said in previous blog posts, I knew the day was coming. While it wasn't forced from a dwindling supply, it still it still felt like it was over all too quickly. I felt the separation, the sadness, and, of course, bliss.
Wait, what?
What I thought was a perfect latch was actually the last one we shared.

Yes, bliss. I'll admit, that selfish little voice was singing praises to finally get some personal space back. We did it in probably the most surprising way imaginable: I put her to bed in her sister's room, and didn't use a baby monitor. How barbaric, right? Well, no. Not for us. She had been eating solids regularly since she was about 10 months old, and seemed to only want to nurse when she was being disciplined. (Read as, Daddy making 'the face', which always sends her into pouty lip mode)
We also live in a small, two bedroom home that has awful acoustics, so I can hear every cough and whimper from the girls' room, no matter where I am. Baby monitors need not apply here.

I fully believe in child-lead weaning, and sometimes, it needs help along. Monster Girl had been boob-free for two weeks, with the exception of the sleepy boob time. You know it as the nursing session that wakes you up at 2 a.m. because shrieks are coming from the other side of the room.

On the night of the transition, we snuggled. We read a book. We made sure that she had her blankie and her stuffed giraffe, lovingly referred to as 'Aff!'. We made sure that Beans had her night light plugged in, and packed both girls off to bed for the night.
At first, it was just giggles and shrieks. Then, about ten minutes or so into it, there was silence. It was glorious; A peacefulness settled in the house. For the first time in 14 months, I was able to sleep through the night. We've had very few issues with the move, and feel as if it has made the girls grow even closer.

I want to thank everyone that has come with me on this journey, and I can only hope to keep giving others something fun to read about.

Love ya, Mamas!