Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Homemade Counter Top Spray With Essential Oils

Having pets and kids has made me so much more aware of what I use, both with cleaning products and body care.  I began making some of my cleaning products for that reason, and also because it is a lot cheaper to use what I have on hand.  I took to Pinterest and searched away.  Because I wanted to use what I already had in the house, I used this recipe and tutorial. I loved the printable that came with it too! You can also find the Pin here.


First, I gathered all my ingredients and my helper.  I didn't have mint essential oil on hand, so I used some tea tree oil since it is used for cleansing.  Well, that's the bottle says, and I've used it before and seems to work so I used it again.  I did add some fresh mint this time (only because I had so much overflowing from my herb garden).  I don't know if it really did anything different but at least I used some up.  I used Dawn for the dish soap, because it is my go-to and I find it works better than anything else. To make it even more natural, you could use an all natural dish soap instead.

I let my helper do most of the work.  His favorite part was giving it a good shake at the end and the thumbs up let me know we were ready to clean!  And judging by the background of that thumbs up pic, my house needed a good cleaning.

**I believe you can order bottles online, but I like to be super thrifty so I used some leftover bottles that I had from Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day spray. 

To see more of our projects and DIY fun, follow @KnaptimeKnitter on Instagram!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Money Saving Monday-5 Things to do This Week

Happy Monday! Let's start it off right with some money saving tips to try this week:

1. Do you ever have those "I'm so proud of myself" moments where you want so badly to buy something, but you resist?  That pair of shoes, that amazing top, that hardcover book.  This happens to me a lot and it is hard to resist sometimes.  Something that makes it a little easier is to take that money I didn't spend, even it it's $5 saved not going to Starbucks, and put it somewhere meaningful.  Have a credit card you're paying off? A student loan? A savings account or a savings for a special house project (for us it's a fence)?  Put that money there!  You'll be surprised how quickly you forget about those things you didn't buy, especially when you see your monetary goals being realized.

2.  Remove the temptation to spend.  Do you get those millions of emails filled with deals claiming they will never be back (they will)?  Or those special coupons just for you that you have to you use? I mean come on! It's just for you! It's not. Every day I would wake up feeling so overwhelmed when I checked my email.  Instead of a positive step to get me saving, I was bombarded with retail peer pressure to spend.  I did the only thing I thought would help and clicked that liberating UNSUBSCRIBE button.  It takes a little while to kick in, but its wonderful to not have all those offers staring me down.  They are great, don't get me wrong, I'm a girl who loves a sale, but I can't have them all. 

3. Meal plan.  I'd like to tell you that I do this all the time.  That I plan it all out, and make my list with my coupons and get my cash envelope (so I won't go over budget) but that isn't true.  However, I am working on it.  I get a general idea of what we will eat for the week, and when I go grocery shopping, I get our essentials that we use and run out of weekly (like milk, eggs, etc) and then what I need for the meal plan.  If you can sit down with Pinterest and really make a plan, it will save time and money, and then you should come back here and tell me about it so I can be inspired to do it more.  Before I decide what we are going to have, I look at what's in the house. Sometimes we say we have no food and need to go grocery shopping right away, and then I look, really really look, and realized there are many options hiding in the pantry, fridge and chest freezer. Be creative and use what you have before buying.  You'll be surprised how much you actually have to eat!

 (Bow tie optional Build Your Own Burger Night)

4. Shop your own house.  This is one of my favorite things to do.  We change things around at our house a lot.  Because we live in an old home, we are working on updating (very very slowly) and to make things fresh on a tiny budget, and I like to shop my garage, or basement, or even other rooms and see what I can come up with add some flare to a room. Change the purpose of an item.  One of my favorite things to use for this is hanging fruit baskets. I have one in my office for sewing supplies and one in my bathroom for use as a catch all over the counter.  Re-purpose and use what you have, and if it isn't working, then go on the hunt for what you need.  (That's an old church pew below).

 (Before and after of one of our recent house projects, the sun room.  I shopped our house to furnish and decorate most of it.  It isn't done yet, and some was temporary until we buy furniture, but you get the idea)

5. Use up all your bath, body and beauty supplies before buying any more.  This sounds odd, I know. You're probably thinking, "But Amanda, if I have shampoo still, why would I buy it?"  Look under your sink. Look in your other bathrooms if you have them.  I bet you have some there, just waiting to be used.  Lotions, I know you have a million.  Use them!  Once you have purged your bathroom of all of them, then you can buy more.  Saves money, and reduces waste.  And you'll probably smell really good.

Do you guys have any tips on saving money? I'd love to hear them! Give a shout!

And to see more of our projects and gluten free meals follow @KnapTimeKnitter

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Naptime Sewing-Summer Dress (Link to Free Pattern)

After a very long winter of knitting and crocheting, I was dying to break out my sewing machine.  The poor loyal friend had been hidden away in my office for months, begging to be used.

I consider myself a beginner. I have had two formal classes, only one of which I actually turned on my machine.  I can do the basics (totes, headbands, basic skirts, pillow cases) and I was ready for something a little more challenging.

Naturally, I went to Pinterest.  I have a few store bought patterns I wanted to use, but I am a visual learner, and I find I can better execute the instructions when I have a tutorial.  I found this pin and got to work (during nap time, of course).

A couple notes about this dress pattern.  When you download the free pattern from Craftsy, it only has one part and this had many (including myself) confused.  Be sure to read through the directions before starting.  You cut another piece for the skirt portion, and the straps, but it isn't in the PDF because you just measure it.  So do not be alarmed when you go to print and it isn't there.

The pattern comes in one size.  I simple cut mine a little bigger to accommodate my girl.  I'll be honest, I didn't measure.  I also made mine the dress length the pattern calls for, so it would be a longer shirt on my girl (who is 12 months).


And finally, I found it somewhat hard to get on and off her with the straps on the orange dress, something I attribute to the pattern being a smaller size, and my daughter having an enormous head.  Two things could have solved this: putting them further apart/thinner, or simply cutting the top portion bigger so there was a wider opening.  On the purple dress, I opted for tie shoulders and it did make it a bit easier.


I also suggest possibly adding some elastic thread to the waist so she can wear the dress for longer, as a shirt.

I really enjoyed making this. It was that quick project that I craved, and there was the instant gratification of seeing my daughter wear it.  Naturally, she went out in the Spring grass and got herself all dirty moments after snapping these pictures, but at least she waited until after! 

To see more of my projects, follow along on Instagram: @KnaptimeKnitter

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

ThredUp, An Addiction

Recently I began to down size my wardrobe in an attempt to organize my house, simplify things and fill my closet with only things I 100% love.  I usually would just take my unwanted items over to the consignment shop, but its a half hour away and with two small children, sometimes that wasn't something I could do easily.  I also don't like the inconvenience of having to make an appointment.

Then, I discovered ThredUp, after my sister sent me a link with a free $10 credit to give it a try.  What's better than that?  So I looked at the site, thinking I probably would use my credit and then forget about it.  I'm here to tell you, I haven't.

Basically, it's a giant online consignment shop, a thrifters dream.  You can create an account and then customize it to fit your likes and sizes.  For example, I love Anthropologie but can't afford it, so I set my ThredUp to show me their brands in my size so I can see what's available. 

Now, back to the down sizing portion of this post.  I ordered a ThredUp bag, filled it with items I no longer wear, and sent it in. I've actually done this twice now.  They take what they can sell and donate the rest. You can get the rest back for a fee, but I opted out of this.  You don't get a ton for your items, but since their prices are so reasonable, you can use your credit to get something else, or wait 14 days and it can be deposited to your PayPal.  I love this because it is so easy and it costs you nothing to send it in!  They even take kids and baby items, which is fantastic when trading up for different sizes.

The quality of the items is amazing, and they recently started accepting free returns. 

If you are ready to give it a try and want the free $10 that got me hooked, you can use this link here. Place your first order and then tell all your friends, and when they order you'll both get the $10 credit. You can literally get something for free here, friends, go try it out!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Money Saving Monday-Dyson

You know you've entered a new realm of adult hood when the prospect of a new vacuum gets you excited.  For years, we dreamed of a Dyson.  With dogs and kids, carpets and hardwood floors, we were in desperate need of a vacuum that not only worked, but lasted more than three months. I kept reasoning with myself that someday I would invest, but for now it was ok to just get a cheaper, more affordable one. Who cares if it doesn't last, I thought, we'll figure that out later.  Well, my friends, long story short, we were replacing it every year and that adds up.  By the time I tossed our broken ones, we could have definitely just got a Dyson.


--I should note, that as amazing as it would be, this is in no way sponsored by Dyson or anyone else--

Ok, back to my fascinating story, here's where it gets good.   A friend mentioned that QVC had them. I was all, ok, yea, maybe, but aren't those limited time offers and do you even really save anything. I'm here to tell you: YOU DO! And the deals are still going on. I'm not certain if they actually do have a time cap.  They also have a payment plan which makes it even easier on the budget.

There's a few models to choose from, you can check them out here on QVC.  You might be thinking, "But Amanda, that is still a very expensive vacuum and we're on a budget here."  Yes, I know. But its worth it!  We went with the DC 39 Canister.  The best part of this deal is that it comes with five attachments, something you would normally need to purchase separate.  I chose canister because we have stairs, and I like to be able to easily maneuver into little corners of the bathroom and small spaces.

A couple things I don't like about it, but honestly, this probably is our fault and not the vacuum's.  The canister fills up quick.  I know, that's not really their fault, we have kids and dogs and it gets dirty on our floors. The other is that the carpet attachment gets clogged somewhat easily and won't turn. Again, with the amount of yarn I drop on our floors, this is more my fault than anything. The good thing is, you can take it apart and easily clear it out.

We have had ours for about a year now and its going strong.  Usually by this point in our relationship with a vacuum, we would have broken up.  One actually started smoking once, that terrible rubber smell.  I'm happy with it, and it has been worth the investment.  In hind sight, I would have gone with the Animal, which is more expensive but is for just that: animals.  And when you have a Pomeranian, you need that. All in all, my only regret is that we didn't invest in one sooner. 



Friday, March 20, 2015

One Year of Ada

Well, it's almost here.  The first year of my daughter's life has flown by.  I knew it would, it did with her brother too, but somehow it was different this time.  Laboring this butter ball was quick and to the point: it lasted 10 hours, on my due date, 14 minutes of pushing and there she was.  9 pounds 5 oz of gorgeous.  She slept her first two weeks away and then decided she was done with that. She has too much to explore!

In one short week this baby will be one. I love the toddler years, absolutely love them.   I know, I know, nothing can really beat those squishy newborn and baby days, but toddlers have a fire to them that I love.  They are fascinating to watch, if you can keep up.  Over this past year, I have watched closely as our little bug has sucked up everything she can.  With her brother as a guide, she discovered language, her surroundings, her voice, her reflection and just soaks it right up.

The thing that has tugged at my heartstrings most heavily is her bond with her brother.  Atticus took some time to warm up to his baby sister.  He was beyond excited about her, asking every single day when she would arrive (for the full 9 months), but once she came and the reality set in that she stays, like, forever, he had a hard with that.  It went from being just he and I when my husband was away for the National Guard for five months, and then suddenly dad is back and a sister came.  But the shock set in and he has grown in his role as teacher for his new baby.  Now, she can't leave his sight without him looking for her, and I watch as his eye moves to keep up with her, just so he knows what she is doing and where she is at all times.

Atticus is a constant reminder of how quickly they grow up.  His baby days seemed to go a little slower than her's, but then, so did I.  Somewhere in there, life sped up, and I'm making it my mission to slow it down from here on out. 

So as my June Bug turns one, there are some things about her that I am likely to never forget and always cherish:

-This hair. Girlfriend has hair that I always dreamed of on my daughter. It is soft and beautiful and begging for bows and headbands. Then I remembered that this is my child we are talking about.  She obviously will not keep them in her hair.  She has to explore them, throw them on the ground and discover them again later. 

-These eyes.  Ada has eyes on her so fierce, I could actually sit and stare at them all day.  But more than just the aesthetics of them, she sees everything, and she finds so much joy in that.  She watches, and she tries things out. Nod your head, and she'll do it back.  Smile at her and say hello, and she's sure to give a wave and a big toothy grin.  She sees you, and she wants to know everything you put in front of her.

-Her gorgeous little hands.  Ada is very animated (see below) and uses her hands a lot.  They are always flailing around, and you are likely to be hit with them if you're too close when she's excited. She dances with them, she cheers you on with them, she uses them during her diva moments.  Her hands speak volumes, and they are also very tasty when cutting a tooth.

 -This smile.  She has an infectious way about her.  She smiles and you have to smile along with her.  Ada finds so much joy in everything around her and it is a beautiful thing.  I often watch her, just to see how she'll react to things.  Mornings are my favorite, as I enter her room to greet her, and she immediately shoots up with a tired face, huge smile and stands immediatly to see me.  We open her shade, she looks right out her window and points, "theeaaa" (there) and then laughs until I pick her up.  We should all start our day the way she does.  Excited, ready, smiling.


I feel insanely lucky to be the mom of Atticus and Ada.  I have never in my life been so tired, and after a solid year without a full night of sleep, I honestly don't know how I have made it, but I can tell you, I would do it all again.  This year has been too busy, and I've been a zombie through most of it, but looking back at her first year of being here, I am so proud of all she's done.  I'm proud of Atticus for being so amazing and patient.  I'm proud of my husband and I for surviving a year of no sleep.  I'm proud of my year of breastfeeding.  I'm proud of it all.  Now, I have one more week before she turns one, and I intend on making it go by very slowly.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kid's Barn Craft

If you have kids, you are no stranger to the "what can I get them for a present?" question.  As you look around at the cemetery of toys forgotten, those ones they had to have, would keep them busy and couldn't resist, you just don't want to add to the chaos.  Well, that is our house.  So at Christmas, when my mom asked what Atticus might enjoy, she suggested this barn craft and it was just the ticket! She picked it up for him (at Tractor Supply of all places), and he loved it.


The kit came with paint, the barn, a fence and these adorable little animals, and was just $14.99!  If you can't find this specific one, AC Moore has many wood crafts with basically the same idea.  It was great, because it kept him busy for a long time, and he had a toy to play with in the end.  

The only thing I didn't like was the lack of brown paint (he asked about this many times "where's the brown for the barn, mom?"), and the colors that were included were sparse, so you may want to pick up some extra at the craft store. 

Ada enjoyed watching the craft, and has since enjoyed the little animals!  There are also a lot of bird house varieties that look fun, so luckily I now have a great idea the next time someone asks what he likes.