Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What I Spent March 2017

Can we just talk about how hard budgeting is before you read this months budget? Ugh. I don't even know what happened. We spent way over our budget of $2000 a month (we are trying for $1800 but didn't even get close this month). What did we buy? More on that below. Ugh.

Bills: $1140
Our bills for this month are:
  1. YMCA ($75)
  2. Audible ($25)
  3. Cell phones, mine and husbands ($25)
  4. Electric bill ($200)
  5. Internet ($60)
  6. Water ($80)
  7. House Taxes (we own our home) (675$)
I forgot we'd be paying our home taxes this month! This pushes our bills up wayyyy over what I budget. Good thing we also got our tax return back this month or we'd be in the red. I also got a question about our electric bill. Is it really $200 a month? No, its not. I budget $200 for it a month but in the summer it can be as low as $75 and in the winter it can be as much as $300. I just forget to update the exact number, but I always know we budget $200 for it. Same goes for the water bill. Sometimes I forget to look at exactly how much it is (husband manages those two bills and pays them) but I do know we budget $80.

Eating Out ($190)

We ate out too much AGAIN. Poop. We are only supposed to spend 100$ eating out a month. Fail. But, I did enjoy a really fun date night with the hubs at our favorite place--as well as a lot of weekend meals. This covers five times eating out, and one of those times we paid for a friend as well as for ourselves (hi Jon).

Grocery ($1087)

I'm not even halfway though the budget and we already hit $2000. Thanks, taxes. I have no idea how we spent this much on grocery food, but my receipts tell the truth.

Reuben ($40)

Finally something under budget! We budget $100 for Reuben each month for growing expenses, toys, trips, or doctor visits he needs. This month he got two (new to him) pairs of shoes, and some summer clothes (he needed more shorts) and also a friend was selling her kid's gently used winter clothes on facebook in 3T so I grabbed them up.

Home ($687)

This isn't a category we usually have, but since we got our tax return back we decided to spend it starting a garden in our front yard. We bought pressurized wood to build a frame, dirt, an electric rototiller, and chicken wire to put around the garden so deer don't eat all our food. This garden starting business was more expensive than I thought it would be, but it's only a starting cost. We won't be spending this much on it yearly! I'm glad its almost done (haven't put the wire up yet). Kudos to husband for doing the majority of the work. I mean, I did watch the Reuben, but husband dug out the raised beds, hauled everything... and built everything.

Personal Money ($595)

Carolynn ($505)

Yes, I know. I know. I spent like 80% of the personal money. I'm sorry. It happens. I hired a babysitter four times ($160) bought myself gas twice, some socks, some yarn, some clothes and some cloth pads.

Brian ($90)

Brian bought an essential oil to try for his anxiety, as well as a book, gas for his car, and breakfast from McDonald's.

Tithe ($200)

That brings our total spent in January to $3939, almost $2000 over our budget of 1800. Are you shocked? I am. However, we received a tax return of $2000, bailing us out so we didn't have to take anything from our savings account. This saves $61 for our fence, bringing our total saved to $123. We had hoped to save our full tax return for the fence but as you can see above, we literally failed at that. At least we saved something. Right?

The 2017 budget series:

January : February : March : April : May : June : July : August : September : October : November : December

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Week 86

Easter, allergies, and lots of paleo food. I really cracked down on my snacking this week, because I've been having some blood sugar issues. I hate brain fog! Paleo fixes it, but I am a lazy potato. However, this week I threw away my lazy attitude and paleofied everything! I also started sewing a sweater again with some bulky yarn! Fingers crossed I actually finish it! I'm so nervous. Mostly because my last sweater...I gave up after halfway.

One Year Ago is here.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Crochet Books I Own

I don't own many crochet books. I like to make up my own patterns, as I think my dyslexia and impatience (I am a very impatient person) make following other's patterns difficult. But, here are my thoughts on the three crochet books I own, as well as tips on what to look for if you are just starting out!

Contrary to what you might think, you don't need to own any books to be good at crochet! That's right, not one! It all really depends on how you learn. So don't worry if you don't have funds, or space to store heavy fiber art books! Just look at what you need, and what you use, and go from there!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

House Tour 2017

I do a house tour every year. I've been doing them since I lived at home with my parents in 2010, although it was a room tour at that time! You can see all my house tours here. The past four have been video tours, the first few are picture only, before I started YouTube!

My favorite thing about our house right now is our big yard. I didn't include the yard in this video, but it's in a few of the others. I love the grass, and Reuben loves all the space to explore!

Enjoy our wonderful house tour below. Let me know what you think!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Reuben's Favorite Books

Library books can be hit and miss for a toddler. Have you ever noticed that? I find about 50% of the books we check out he just isn't interested in at all, and will wiggle out of my arms to go get another, or just close the book and say "all done". And it's for many different reasons. Some have too many words. Some are really uninteresting. Some have pictures that just don't translate well for little ones.

But some are perfect. And this post is about Reuben's top three library books that he loves, and that we check out over and over and even request holds on!

The first one he really enjoys is The Bear Ate Your Sandwich. Even I enjoyed this one! There is a cute little twist at the end, and the whole tale is well drawn and well written. I don't tire of reading about how bears make it to big cities to steal sandwiches from little girls.

When we picked up Panda Pants at the library I read it six times to Reuben in the first day. Daddy does the best voices, and also read it to him a lot that day too! It's written like a conversation, and it's really easy for a toddler to understand and grasp. Also, the drawings are vivid but not cluttered: perfect for a very distractable toddler who gets overwhelmed by lots of colors and prints easily. I did get tired of reading it so much (he like LOVES it to the point of obsession) but we will be checking it out again.

reading panda pants to himself
The last, but definitely not least book that we enjoy is There's a Bear on my Chair. This book also has simple, clear pictures that are done well. And the words are large and easy to read. But my favorite part, as the parent reading the book, is the rhyme! The story rhymes and flows well and is fun to read aloud to my toddler. Who loves pointing to the mouse! And also, the mouse's sweaters are to die for and I must knit a miniature version!

What does your toddler like to read? Please give me suggestions! Hunting through rows of books at the library with a squirmy toddler is difficult. Usually I just grab and go, and we end up with a lot of duds.
Have you read any of these?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Week 85

This week: daddy filmed Reuben's morning routine and I decluttered a lot, as well as talked about what is going on in my heart and in my marriage.

We also did an Easter egg hunt. Do people really tell their kids that some mythical bunny brings them gifts? I was honestly shocked out of my bubble a bit. I wouldn't tell my kid that. It just sounds wrong. And weird.

Anyway, Hope you enjoy the vlogs and the tiny glimpses into our lives!

One YEAR ago we were here.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Your Planner is not a Coloring Book

Lately I've felt...rather lacking in the planner department. I mean, search certain hashtags and you can see everyone's Erin Condren planners and Happy Planners all dolled up like they are going to the 24th annual Planning Awards or something. While my planner is just hanging out on my desk, you know, being half scribbled in by my toddler and holding my next dentist appointment times.

I feel like today's planner game is way over the top and...am I the only one who still wants to use a planner as a planner, and not as a scrap/coloring book? Am I the only one who only has ONE planner? Some of you people have two or three! What, do you have two or three lives too? How many things do you people do in a day that it requires more than one calendar book to keep track of? At a certain point you would need a calendar book to keep track of your planners...

Above is an actual snapshot of my planner.

It's a planner. I use it as one. I scribble in it. I cross things out. I write big. I write small. I never use stickers, washi tape, or cut outs. It's not pretty. It's functional. And that is how I feel it should be. So everyone else who is glaming up their daily to-do list and colonoscopy appointment reminders--I have to ask you...why? Are you really going to keep your last year's day-to-day listacules and remiss over your exercise reminders and work consultations? Even if you bedazzled it with rose stickers that were 4.99 each and washi tape that came from Japan's scrap booking black market?

Does your hastily scribbled "return library books" or work-reminder to "meet with Fran over spreadsheet revamp" need floral stickers or elephant washi tape? Really?

I simply don't have time to doodle trees on my calendar. I mean, I barely have enough effort to remember to write down that I have a play date or an doctors appointment--much less spend time recalling my monthly planner color scheme!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sewing Lace on a Crochet Boot Cuff

Awhile ago I got an e-mail from a friendly subscriber about creating a sew-in lace crochet boot cuff. She wanted to know how to sew lace to something she'd already crochet. I told her I would give it a shot, and thus this crochet boot cuff pattern was born. This is geared towards beginners, and I hope you like it!

You will need 100 yards of worsted weight yarn, 2 yards of machine lace, a sewing needle and a 4.0mm crochet hoot for this pattern. I used KnitPicks brava for this: a 100% acrylic yarn, but wool will work well too.

I hope you enjoy the tutorial!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Reuben 22 Months

Reuben is getting so big. I will probably say that until he turns 18! He is so wonderful. He has a sweet heart, and a joyful spirit. His favorite things are his Daniel Tiger doll and his ball pit. He also loves going outside and begs every day for me to "go outside look at birds" (his words, not mine). I love being outdoors with him when it's cool!

He wants to climb on everything. He's still sleeping in bed with us and still nursing. I don't mind at all! We did try to transition him to a bed in his room around 18 months but I hated getting up and down when he woke up every night. Now I just nurse him back to sleep, except for the rare times he decides to get up and stay up (those times are not fun). I can't wait for him to turn two! I can't imagine being the mom of a two year old. It sounds...strange. Will it really be two years since I had a baby? Woah.

He's so curious about everything. I love having adventures with him. Ever since he was small, we would tell him we were "going on an adventure" when we left the house. Now when we start to put his shoes on he says "going adventure going adventure" and my heart just melts!

Reuben is 22 months and I am amazed. I love you Reuben Alexander!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Week 84

We had a mini-vacay (a staycation) this week, as my husband took two days off work! It was fun. Reuben had a cold, so we stayed home a lot but we still had a really good family bonding time. I also pulled out the ball pit again (you may remember it from very early videos, I put it away because playing 100-ball pick up six times a day is not fun) but he isn't dumping it out as often as he used too! Yay.

It was a full week with my squish and my husband. Enjoy!

One year ago is here!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Lie of CIO

Last week I attended a local mom's meetup at a coffee shop. Sleep was discussed. Sleep is always a hot topic in my mom groups--I think its the number one issue. Does your child sleep through the night? How much sleep are you getting? Does he nap? How long? 

We were all sharing our stories, moms whose babies sleep six hours, moms whose babies sleep two. It felt wonderful to be around other mothers of young children who were going though the insane sleep deprivation of raising babies. Reuben has slept through the night three times in his entire life. Each time I made a facebook post about it!

But one mom said her baby always sleeps through the night because she leaves her son in his crib for six hours, walks away, and closes the door. I was shocked. How old was he, three? He must be older. She confessed she'd been leaving him alone in his crib since two months. He was eight months now, and "proudly slept or played in his crib the whole night" allowing her sleep through the night without fail or interruption.

She went on to explain that it had "only taken him three days of screaming to learn to be quiet". She used words like "sleep training" and when asked, said he needed to "learn to self soothe" and that his crying was only "being manipulative". He'd been changed and fed. What more could he need?

I mentioned to this mom that an infants digest breast milk quickly, causing many babies to wake to feed during the night. I also told her that sleep is developmental like walking and talking, causing all kids to meet the milestone at different times. I even told her that babies stomachs are really small and that is why they need to feed more often as little tummies just can't hold much as adults can.

She pointed to her son sleeping in his stroller. "He's fine." She said, "and I need sleep. His pediatrician says he should be sleeping through the night by now, so I'm doing what is best for me."

I turned back to my friend at my table to discuss other things, but this conversation has haunted me for weeks. She's doing what is best for her? What about what is best for him?!

I don't believe mothers should let their babies or even children cry it out or "self soothe". I don't even self soothe and I'm an 31 year old adult woman! I'm upset right now and here I am complaining on the internet, not soothing myself in my own room alone. When I am upset I still call my mom or my husband or a friend. Interpersonal relationships--the closeness of people and friends and family is what is soothing to me. Not being alone in a room with the door closed, shut away from the people I love. If I was crying at night and my husband just left me to cry, it would be devastating to me mentally!

That's what I think mothers are missing here. The mental needs of their children. I believe that infants, children, adolescents and adults have mental needs. Feeding and clothing a baby meets their physical needs, but our offspring also have mental and emotional needs that need to be met. Leaving a young child in a room alone when they are distressed and crying is not meeting their mental and emotional needs.

And how can a two month old baby be manipulative? Am I missing something here? If you let your kids cry it out for nighttime, why not other times? What makes nighttime so special? When my kid gets a booboo on his leg I don't let him "self soothe". When he falls over I don't let him "self soothe". When he gets afraid I don't let him "self soothe". So why would I suddenly feel he needs to "deal with it on his own" when he cries just because it's night time?

My toddler can be selfish. He can be whiny and cranky and a handful. But I don't put him in his room alone to deal with that. I teach him by example how to deal with his emotions. By picking him up when he cries I can teach him to pray when he is afraid, to talk to an adult or a friend, or I can simply just be a shoulder to cry on. This does not mean he gets everything he wants or is spoiled. I simply am there for him the way my husband is there for me, or my mom is. We teach our children little by little how to eat: they don't just "get put somewhere self-eat" do they? We teach them how to navigate the world little by little. Why would sleep be any different? (it's just because it's hard for us Mom's isn't it! It's about US, not about them. But they are the ones who suffer, alone)

We have lowered the parenting bar to the point that everything is acceptable because we don't want to judge. But we need to inform mothers of what they are doing to their children and the possible consequences. I think it's no wonder we have huge mental health issues as adults when we don't even go to our kids when they cry. These babies need to be taught how to soothe, how to seek soothing in others and how to work through their own emotions and mental issues. They need to see good examples of this put into practice from loving mothers and fathers and friends and family, not put in a room for 6-7 hours to "cry it out" and "self soothe". They need to know they can come to us. How can they know that unless we show them? How can they feel safe enough to come to us if we don't come to them? I do think cio plants seeds of mistrust and doubt in our kids. It tells them they have to deal with their mental issues on their own. Of course there are many factors behind mental health issues, but abandoning our infants and children when they are dealing with stressful situations definitely could lead to mental and emotional trama!  

If you need sleep as a parent call on your community to help you. Call on your friends and family. Let husband stay up every other night. Try gentle sleep training methods. Cosleep, or bed share. Room in with the baby! Do whatever it takes to mentally and emotionally meet your child's needs. You are their mother. If you or another parent does not meet their needs, there is NO ONE else to do it. They are alone.

We are doing mothers across the nation a disservice if we are not there for them and they have to resort in desperation to letting their kids cry it out.

Don't like my philosophical argument against cio? Here is a great article, and this links to some scientific studies. Cry-it-out is defined as leaving your infant or child to cry alone for longer than 15 minutes.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Crochet Toddler Elf Hat

I love these elf hats! I made one for a friend in blue, and one in gray for Reuben!

I also made a video tutorial if you'd like to make one for your toddler. You will need worsted weight yarn (200 yards) and size 4.0mm crochet hook. It's an easy crochet if you are an intermediate, and a good one if you are just getting started working in the round. Good luck!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Week 83

I've really missed daily vlogging so I decided to start up again! It's full on summer here and we are enjoying the warm. Welcome to my life! This week was Brian's birthday. We also went to a lot of play groups and visited a nature center. Enjoy!

One year ago is here. I also filmed a Q&A for my daily vlogging channel, and you can see that here.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Why I charge for some patterns

Why do I charge for a few of my patterns? Most are free, but a select few of my crochet  and knitting patterns cost $1.99 - $4.99 to download. Why is this?

The short answer is because my time is worth something, sometimes. For a longer explanation, see the video below!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Learn to Knit

I made Learn to Crochet a long time ago, and have been meaning to making how-to-learn knitting videos for awhile! So, this is the year. Below you will find all my knitting tutorial videos for a beginner knitter, from casting on to working colorwork. Good luck on your adventures in knitting! Feel free to post any questions below or on my YouTube video directly. Happy knitting!

The above five videos go over the basics of knitting. The next videos below go into detail about intermediate knitting skills, and into the nuances and depths of knitting. Good luck! If you complete this course you should be able to knit most of my patterns! Let me know if you have any questions.