DIY Nursery for Under $40

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Decorating your nursery; by far one of the most exciting activities in preparation for Baby’s arrival. Many pregnant mamas will feel that “nesting” itch; especially in the third trimester when The Day is so quickly approaching. Boy did I get it full force! My husband was deployed to Japan and I was growing restless in anticipation for our little bundle of joy to arrive.

   I have always been a crafty person (as well as a thrifty one) so I jumped at the chance to make my nursery decorations from scratch (saving us a bit of money in the process). Deciding to DIY it also gave me the freedom to go with any theme I could come up with. Those who know me were not shocked to find out that I chose both a Disney AND a book theme: Little Golden Book. These classic books had a look to them that I just adored and they offered many Disney versions.

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   Now that I had a theme and a plan, I had to come up with the decorations themselves. I wanted to be careful not to overwhelm the room (thus over stimulating the baby) with my theme so instead I added some subtle touches. By doing so I was also able to save quite a bit of money by not loading up on a ton of themed merchandise.

   Although the following projects are specific to my nursery theme, they can easily be adapted to fit any theme; from nautical to princess to even jungle. Here are my simple, yet adorable (in my opinion) nursery decorations:

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Homemade Mashed Potatoes 

 

cover-fixedNo matter the occasion we LOVE mashed potatoes! After various experiments I found my ultimate go-to recipe. I’ve always been one of those people who just toss in a little of this or a little of that (blame my mother) and this recipe was no different. However, after multiple requests, I have measured ingredients out to share with all of you!

First you of course need to prepare and boil your potatoes. Time will vary depending on the size and amount of potatoes you’re using (use a fork to check whether or not they are soft enough yet).

Once drained, add in your additional ingredients. I believe the key to this is the ranch and the Greek seasoning. Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning (found at Food Lion) is my absolute favorite seasoning. I even put it in my salad!


Once you’ve completed that step it’s time to mash! You can of course use an electric mixer for smooth, creamy potatoes but I prefer to use a hand masher. This gives it a bit more texture and adds a homemade touch to it.


That’s all there is to it! Enjoy.

Servings: 4-5

Ingredients

 5-6 Red potatoes
1 1/2 tbsp. butter
1/3 c. milk
Salt, Greek Seasoning
1/3 c. ranch dressing

Directions

1. Peel and cut potatoes, then boil until softened.

2. Drain potatoes, add butter, milk, ranch, and sprinkle with seasonings.

3. Mash and Serve!

 

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

One of my all time favorites is a classic beef stew. To keep it simple and easy I threw together this fabulous recipe that will make you seem like Betty Crocker herself (nobody will ever have to know how little effort went into it)!

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Begin by collecting your ingredients. I prefer to use carrots, onion, mushrooms, and potatoes (not pictured) but you can use any vegetables you wish. For this recipe I chose to use brown gravy mix, Italian dressing mix, and Ranch dressing mix (all of which are staple ingredients in my household).

Take your beef of choice…I prefer to use pre-diced stew meat to save time and effort; sprinkle it with a dash of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Now it’s ready to go into the crockpot. I like to have mine set to low already so it can get going while I prep my veggies.

In a measuring cup, mix the gravy, Italian, and Ranch packets; sprinkle over meat. Now add 3 cups of water.

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It’s time now, to rinse and cut your vegetables. I like to use larger chunks since it will be cooking for hours; it prevents them from getting too “mushy”. I also tend to use less veggies since my husband will just pick them out of his. Adjust as you see fit!

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Toss your veggies in, mix, and cook on low for 6-7 hours! Serve with Garlic Bread and voila!

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THIS MEAL IS BABY APPROVED!!

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SLOW COOKER BEEF STEW

Servings: 5
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 6-7 hours

Ingredients

1.5-2 lb. Beef
3-4 Red Potatoes
2-3 Carrots
1 Small Yellow Onion
4 Whole Mushrooms
2 Brown Gravy Packets
1 Ranch Dressing Mix Packet
1 Italian Dressing Mix Packet
Pinch of Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder
3 c. Water

Directions

  1. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic over beef. Place in slow cooker set on low.
  2. Mix gravy, italian, ranch packets and sprinkle over beef. Add 3 cups of water and stir.
  3. Thickly cut veggies and stir into crockpot.
  4. Cook on low for 6-7 hours.

Serve with garlic bread and ENJOY!

Even Moms Need a Time Out

 

  “Me time”. We take it when we can get it; during naptime, at 11 PM when you know you should be catching up on sleep…even hiding in the bathroom. 

   As moms we dedicate our lives to our family and we do it proudly. There is no shame in loving what you do as a mother and wife but there’s also no shame in taking time for yourself. A “time out” of sorts. There’s nothing wrong with pretending you had to pee for 5 minutes so you could beat a few levels in Candy Crush. It’s okay to ask their dad to give them a bath so you can shower in peace. And there is definitely no harm in having hobbies that have nothing to do with your children or husband.

   Here are a few of my favorite Mom Time Outs:

  1. Writing. Whether for my blog or for my working novel, writing can be a kind of therapy. It’s a time to reflect and grow or a chance to create a world in which I’m not “mama mama mama”. If something comes out of it, great! If not, then at least the room was very, very quiet for the moment.
  2. Coloring. Yes, coloring! A pastime not just for children anymore. They even make “mom life” coloring books (which I relate to on a frightening level) and “bad word” coloring books (for the moments when you’d like nothing more than to shout them out but can’t because little ears are always listening). Oh and the best part…there’s no one to tell you that you have to color in the lines!
  3. Shower. For no reason other than I can take the time to shave my legs. When I first had my son I would try to prop him up in the bathroom with toys, books, even snacks. While I may have had time to wash and condition my hair, a meltdown typically ensued by the time I picked that razor up. Now that I’m a more “seasoned” parent, I’ve learned to schedule my day so that a shower takes place at night (when my husband is home and can give my LO a bath). My husband taking over bathtime = quality time for father and son + quiet silky smooth leg time for mommy. 

   So there you have it! A mom’s version of a time out. It seems simple, but to a busy mom (whether you’re a SAHM or a working mama) those little moments make a world of difference on our overall happiness. What are some of your favorite mama time outs?

Xoxo J.

Celebrating The Little Big Things

My son is 1 and in his world there is always something new to discover. I find that as a parent it is easy to forget that to him, everything is new and exciting.

I try my best to remember this and to celebrate each new discovery with him. Yes, I knew a leggo would fit in that cup, but he’s just figured it out. So when he plopped that leggo into the cup and did a happy dance, shouting “YAYYY!”, you can bet that I joined in on the festivities.

As parents our lives are busy and filled with things like bills, grocery lists, cleaning, etc. We need to remember that those things aren’t going anywhere, but the wonder and magic in our children’s lives is. It will not last forever; they will not be easily impressed or wildly entertained by the little things.

That is why I will drop whatever I am doing and dance around the living-room with my son, shouting “YAYYY!”, like I just won the lottery, all because he put a leggo in a cup. I will celebrate the little things for the simple fact that they are big to him. I encourage you all, as parents, to do the same.

xoxo JW

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New Year, Same Me

New Year, Same Me

I am completely new to the blogging world and with that in mind I am here to learn and grow. I’ve seen friends use blogging as an outlet, to expand their personal business, and to bring in extra income for their family. All of these seem to be great opportunities (especially as a stay at home mom!). That is why I have decided to dive right in and see what I can offer to this community of bloggers. I will be posting various DIY projects (keep an eye out for some interesting fails), recipes (cooking is my favorite outlet), parenting tips (we’re all here to learn as we go), and more! It’s a new year but I’m still the same person. The only difference is I’ve decided to share the experience with you all this time around.