"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Friday, January 13, 2012

Loose Ends and New Beginnings

 This post is a little scattered.  I'm trying to get caught up on my blogging, and I think this post should pretty much do it.  So here goes.  I was inspired by an ornament someone had pinned on Pinterest around Christmas time, and thought I'd give it a shot.  The pin was a link to an etsy shop where someone had made ornaments with glitter footprints on them.  I thought that would be super cute to try with the baby.  The difference is that the ones on etsy were made with glitter stickers, and I was going to use glue and real glitter - and a squirmy baby.  I used Mod Podge glue.  I was worried that the Elmer's would crack and peel off eventually.  And my tacky craft glue was all dried up (as usual).  So I got out the Mod Podge, and painted it onto the baby's foot.

 He wasn't sure what to make of that.  He's incredibly ticklish - more ticklish than any other baby I've ever met.  So that was the first obstacle.

 The next problem was simple enough you would think I would have thought about it sooner.  His foot was too big.  Apparently the ones on the etsy ornament are not life-size.  I had to turn it sideways and roll it.  So his foot looks stretched out even longer than it is.

 Not a real life-like footprint, eh?  Oh well.  I tried.  I tried using his hand too, but that turned out even worse.  Oh yeah.  Then I spilled that super-fine glitter all over the place when I was trying to pour the leftovers back into the container.  Me & glitter ... not such a good combination.  One good thing came of the project though.  I was reminded of how much I HATE glitter!

 In other, completely unrelated news, the three year old has been sweet lately.  He loves to read (or more accurately, be read to) and one night he was so tired that Daddy actually read him to sleep.  You'd have to know our energetic little man to understand how noteworthy this is!

 Aren't they sweet?

I mentioned the other day about the baby already being too spoiled to eat store-bought baby food.  Can you blame him?  I mean, have you ever actually tasted that stuff?  So last week I cooked up some homemade baby food.  Butternut Squash, Acorn Squash and Sweet Potatoes.  These are the easiest things to do.  I just baked the squash whole (I poked a few holes with a knife to let out steam). I baked one of each of the varieties of squash, and three sweet potatoes.  I put all of them in a 9x13 and slow roasted them.  Once they were soft, I pulled them out and let them cool enough for me to handle them.  I pealed the skins off, removed the seeds from the squash, and one at a time blended them into a smooth puree.  I had to add a little water to the sweet potatoes and acorn squash, but the butternut squash was juicy enough.  Then they were spooned into ice cube trays and frozen.
 Once they had frozen solid I took three gallon-sized bags and labeled them.

 Then they went back into the freezer.  I wish I had paid more attention to the exact price I paid for each of these things.  I know the butternut squash was $2.12, and I would guess everything together was probably $5 or less.  Each of these cubes is the same amount as a large jar (the ones that are about two and a half inches tall).  So what I have here is about 66 jars worth of baby food.  The organic ones I had recently bought were on sale for 85 cents a jar - so if I would have bought this many jars of premade baby food, it would have cost me $56.10!!!  Certainly makes the time and effort (and mess) worth is.  I just saved over $50!  As I type this, I have a pan of apples baking in the oven.  We bought a case of apples from my niece who was selling them for an FFA fundraiser so I have no idea what the cost per apple was (very cheap - we got a case of oranges and a case of apples for a total of $33).  Even if I had purchased the most expensive apples I could find, I would still be saving tons of money.  Not to mention, the baby loves this stuff!

I mean, really.  Have you ever seen a seven year old beg to lick the spoon from the baby food jar, and then rave about how wonderful it was and ask for more? Yep. Didn't think so.  And yet, here's the seven year old, who licked the spoon after every batch of baby food was made.  Look out cookie dough, you've got competition!

 Extra money in my pocket is what I am hoping for by the end of the year.  My sister mentioned while we were in Colorado visiting them, that she uses a thermometer picture to motivate them to pay off their debts.  She emailed me the template, but also mentioned that she has used coloring pages marked off in sections as well.  She said seeing the form and coloring in the sections was very motivating to them, causing them to look for more money to put onto the debt.  I knew I wanted to do the same thing, and when someone pinned kids coloring page printouts on Pinterest, I knew I wanted to use one of these.  The hardest thing was counting all the spots.  Then I divided our debt by that many spots and realized that each spot would be close to representing $25 of debt.  This is all medical debt we acquired last year.  I had already pre-paid my OBGYN before he was born, so that was not included here.  But I had some potential complications before the birth (very high blood pressure), which required hospital tests.  Then the birth was more expensive than anticipated because they had to keep him longer than they expected.  I also had the epidural (well worth the money) after planning to go natural.  Then the baby has had several health problems since he was born, so that all added up to extra tests (thing like a heart echo, two series of chest x-rays, followed by being on oxygen, tests for allergies, and so on.)  I'm not worried about it though.  I'm confident we can pay it all off this year, and hopefully also rid ourselves of several other debts.  That's what my daycare income is for.

See this?  This is one week after the picture above.  So far we've paid off $650 worth of debt.  And we're only halfway through January.  I expect to be able to add even more to this before the end of the month.  So it's manageable.  I'm glad a put up the coloring page.  It is very motivating and I can see that we really are getting somewhere.  Now, I'm thinking of forgoing our weekly date night of a fancy steak dinner and staying home (or convincing my husband that burgers sound great ;) - any of you who know my husband will understand what a challenge that will be!  I do have to say though, now that I can't have eggs, dairy or nuts, my urge to eat out has been seriously curbed.  We live in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, with no chain restaurants (with the exception of Subway).  None of these places have websites or can tell you for sure what is in anything.  And I have a real hard time trusting the baby's health to someone's word that there's no dairy in something.  Not that I don't trust them.  Just that I only feel absolutely sure when I can read ingredient lists for myself.  Did you know even the French fries at McDonalds and Wendy's contain dairy products???  So it makes it a lot of work to eat out.