Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cleaning tips from a really unlikely source.

It is no secret that we recently moved.  Well, if you count four months ago as recently.  I really have no handle on unpacking and organizing stuff in our new place.  Technically there are more rooms (we only had two bedrooms for the four of us before) but there is way less built in storage.  I don't know what to do with all these little rooms and little closets with no storage space.

How does this huge Ikea Expedit not hold all of my scrapbooking stuff?

Suffice to say, living with this much disorganization leads to quite a few lapses in cleaning around here.  My favorite things to clean with are baking soda and vinegar. 

I use them on anything and everything.  I even wash my hair with them.  I see a lot of online cleaning recipes which direct you to mix them together before use.  To me, this totally defeats the purpose.  One is a base and one is an acid.  Won't most of their cleaning power be lost if you neutralize them by mixing them together?  I use the baking soda as a paste mixed with water and sometimes hydrogen peroxide (same stuff in Oxi-Clean).  Then, use vinegar to rinse.  I think it works great on sinks, countertops.  It even has been known to take off scribble marks on the walls (minus the rinse).  Vinegar alone is great for any type of glass.  Also is a great product to wash fresh produce in to prolong the shelf life. 

My favorite new trick however is for laundry.  I just can not stand to have one more thing to organize and have laying around in piles in this house.  My own closet is in complete disarray but that is another story (I am actually okay with it and live out of a single basket as well). 

Everyone else has their clothes nice and neatly put away.  I bought a couple of extra hampers from Land of Nod when they were on sale for the kids.  Now, Nandini has a cream one and Avinash has a red one.  I can easily direct Avinash (or do it myself ----> less likely to happen) to put his clothes in the red one and Nandini's in the other.  When one gets full that child gets her laundry done.  It goes back in the same hamper to be put away.  No sorting and no piles lying around.  I love this new system.  I also have a basket for each of us and the towels.  So far, so good!  Plus, it is better to wash towels separately at a higher temperature anyway. 

 For Nandini's clothes I also go the extra step and roll up outfits together, instead of sorting tops and bottoms separately.  This is fun for me because I like knowing I am getting good use of her well-appointed wardrobe.  Plus, it makes it easier for Ryan to get her dressed.  Win - win.  

I am linking up with Kelly's Korner today.  She has a ton of great tips there, so be sure to check those out also.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Project Life: Honeysuckle Summer

This week: Is a bit of a catch up week with bits and pieces from random things over the summer.  This was also the week of Avinash's dinosaur camp and the same week which held Day in the Life for the month.

The full spread.

First Side: I did this page for One Story Down, so lots of printable journaling cards.  I added a few embellishments here and there like wood veneer, enamel dots and a few letter stickers. 

I love these old sticky note arrows and speech bubbles from Studio Calico. 

Nandini loves to brush my hair so I tried to take a picture of it.  I probably should have journaled that on the photo but I couldn't find space..

Second side: A little bit of orange on this side too, but it really seems to add a lot of vibrancy to the spread.  I used one of my Kelly Purkey letterpress cards and a couple of Studio Calico kit cards.  Put in a picture of Avi's banner for camp.  A lot of pictures of Nandini mostly, but some weeks are just like that. 

 Midnight kit card, with last month's paintbrush stamp from SC with their cork stickers.  I added a lovely random wooden arrow from BG too because, why not?

I cut this photo in half and glued the wooden heart to one side.  I sort of like the weird effect it gives.  

 This random tab from Pink Paislee (50%off) fits 2x2 photos perfectly.  I just can't help loving a good crying baby picture (hi, have you seen my blog header?) so this had to go into the album.  So cute.

This is so Nandini.  So cute and just a little bit awkward.  Love it.  I use that Kal Barteski stamp from SC, and silver glitter letters.

I am linked up with The Mom Creative for Project Life Tuesday. The PL kits I am using generally are the Studio Calico kit, Kelly Purkey kit and Midnight kit, with multi-pack page protectors.  Let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks for visiting, I appreciate all of your support.  Please, leave your links to any PL pages in the comments so we can check them out too.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Two little monkeys jumping on the bed (and two layouts).

We love visiting Hill Country so much.  We planned a last minute trip this past weekend with some Austin friends and had the best time.

I was even more excited when I came home and saw all that great pictures I got.  Instead of just catching up on Project Life this week I decided to jump in and get some of these scrapped.

It felt really good to scrap something so fresh, even if I didn't really journal all that much.

Two little monkeys jumping on the bed. I love this layout so much.  Nandnini just seems to pop right out of the page.  The combination of kraft, white and silver was a pleasant surprise, and definitely something I will be trying again. It was just a joy to put together.

I have a paper organizer from Ikea that fits my expedit and 12x12 paper.  I have been using it to sort stacks of paper I think will work well together. I pulled these papers out from one of those stacks and just got scrapping, a mix of SC Valley High and Spencer's kits. I layered the patterned papers, stitched them down and then started playing with my new Studio Calico stamps and silver ink (from my Kelly Purkey kit).  So much fun. I had this die cut made from silver POW paper laying around in my scraps file so I decided to add that on as well.  The last silver element I used are these pink paislee luxe silver arrows, with even more silver ink on them. 
That chevron strip on the bottom is part of the background kraft.  I kind of like so I just left it.  I guess this means I need to trim off the top?
This layout almost but not quite fit within the 'tell a six word story' for Hello Story a few weeks ago (where I left off).  Definitely gonna give that another go.

I combined big off-white alphas, with some old BG basic white alphas and some newer alphas from Studio Calico.  I love the wonkiness of them!  I even like the vellum-look of the letter scraps I had to use.  I love long titles though and this was worth it. Oh, and that fabulous stamp is also Kelly Purkey. 

Hammock. I based this layout off the Glitter Girl challenge at Two peas this week.   There is something about watching Shimelle zip her glue runner over different papers that is just so calming.  I love her videos. 
The patterned paper I chopped in half is this campy sheet of camp paper from Pebbles. I also used the coordinating sticker sheet all over the layout.  I like Shimelle's trick of matting a page a few times so I added a sheet of dear Lizzy paper under the whole spread as well.

 I used some of this month's gold washi and wood veneers from SC. The chipboard is simple stories.  I think I could have hoarded that rainbow polaroid forever, glad I finally just stuck it down!

More silver.  Also, I wanted to add some softness to the layout and I have about 5,000 glassine bags lying around so I layered a bunch of those under my photo.  After I was done I grabbed my newest pack of enamel dots (love these new colors!) and dotted those around the page as well.

The glassine was also a convenient place to hold some word strips and journaling.  I love telling stories, but I honestly feel that with a little context the picture tells it all.

There you have it.  Two fresh layouts that were a lot of fun to create.  I think these will face each other in the album and should go well together.  I'd love to see if any one else is falling in love with silver too these days.  What projects have you been working on lately?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Happy Rakhi Day!

Rakhi is a very sweet Hindu holiday where brothers and sisters celebrate each other.  Sisters tie a bracelet, a rakhi, on their brothers.  Brothers give their sisters a gift and pledge to protect them.  I love this so much.

When I told Avinash and Nandini they immediately got excited.  In no small part thanks to the Elmo episode "Rakhi Road".  We have watched that episode over and over since it aired about a year ago.  Avinash was quick to remember all the girls he 'thinks of as a sister' (Lily, Nisha, Olivia to name a few) and wanted to make rakhis for. 

We made Rakhis with my twine stash and set up a little thali.  Nandini was not fully involved but sat down and gave Avinash tika and even feed him a piece of chocolate before taking one herself.  I was shocked at that.  And, I totally had to scavenge the chocolate from the advent calendars I already bought because I was too lazy to make ladoo like Avinash (and Elmo) suggested. 

I did make paneer and rice for dinner.  Thank goodness for holidays or I might never cook Indian food at home.  Also, thank goodness for my family who consider such a simple meal a real treat.  I even bought the paneer at Whole Foods, not the Indian store, because one grocery store trip a week is traumatizing enough.  I made ghee on the stove at the same time so the whole house smelled like melted butter.  This may have influenced taste buds a bit as well. 

It was such a simple and happy family night.  I am blogging this because I really want to remember this as well as I can.  Even one night later I hardly remember half the cute things they said and did.  Avinash sat down and made cards and colored pictures to send to people while I cooked.  He and Ryan sat down to read some Indian stories before dinner.  Both he and Nandini made plans to watch the Elmo episode again soon.  Seriously, what would we do without Elmo?!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Amazon Mom Prime Primer: Extreme Amazon Coupon Code for Diapers

 {If you have an awesome memory, you may remember a very very similar post from a few years ago.  I just found out about an amazing coupon for Amazon Mom, so I decided to share all the information on saving at Amazon again.}

Close friends of our just had a baby.  In fact, I know three (four? I can't keep track) couples who had babies this past month alone and several more with one on the way.
I was about to type my friend an email about my diaper strategy and I decided to just post it here.  For everyone. You're welcome.

First- Sign up for Amazon Mom.  It's free (for three months, after that you can pay for Amazon Prime) and gives you perks like free 2-day shipping.

Second - Choose the type with the most diapers per box.  For the same price, the sensitive and Swaddlers pampers come with about 50 to 100 less diapers.  Not worth it for a little extra 'softness.'
Baby dry is the best value in my experience.  My most recent order offered a coupon clip at the time I put the bow into my cart for an extra $1.50 off.

Pampers Baby Dry Size 1 Diapers Economy Pack Plus 276 Count
Baby Dry, Size 1, 276 count

Pampers Baby Dry Size 2 Diapers Economy Pack Plus 246 Count
Baby Dry, Size 2, 246 count

Pampers Baby Dry Size 3 Diapers Economy Pack Plus 222 Count
Baby Dry, Size 3, 222 count

Third - Click on the Subscribe&Save option when ordering.  It will save you an additional 20%.  You will have to choose to receive the same package of diapers in 2 weeks/1 month.  Do it, even if you aren't sure you want more diapers.  After the order ships (usually within 24 hours), go to your account, click on my subscriptions and cancel it.  There are no penalties and you keep your extra 20% off.

Fourth - Use the code BABYTIME when you are checking out.  This unfortunately only works for new Amazon Mom customers. But if you can find someone willing to share their credit card info you can sign up again with a different email address :) 
This code has now expired.  Sorry guys!  I will post again if another great coupon comes up.  But you can still get the 20% off.

You end up saving 20% off, plus $25 off, plus free shipping. 

The price goes from 47.19 (17c/diaper) to 37.75 (13c/diaper) to 12.75 (4c/diaper).  The boxes last about a month or two. Overall, I think it is a pretty good value.
I sometimes buy diapers from Target or Babies R Us using coupons, but I rarely have more than 5 dollars off, plus maybe an extra 1 or 2 off from pampers. Plus, the boxes I get there are smaller in size not to mention the fact that loading up the cart with diapers really prevents me from filling cart with essentials, like more stationery from Target :)

I have always used Pampers because my babies always seem to leak through the huggies samples I've tried.  And, don't use those newborn size diapers for too long.  Once the belly button falls off they are obsolete so you don't need many.  And, having a snug diaper only leads to more blowouts.  So, there's that. 

Another way to save is of course early potty training.  I have tried elimination communication training with Nandini a little bit, but have trouble being consistent, so we are way off accomplishing that.  Now she says delightful things like, "No, YOU go potty!" when I suggest she try it out.  She is nothing if not stubborn and contrary (I honestly have no idea where she gets that from) so I don't think that pushing is her is the right way to go.

Another way to get gift cards for Amazon is Swagbucks.  I have belonged for about a year, but have only recieved 15$ in gift cards.  I recently found a great site that offers daily tips on getting more swagbucks.  The numbers are climbing.

Let me know if there are any questions.  Happy Diapering!

(disclosure: affiliate links used.)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Project Life: Whale in a water!

This week: We visited the Wildflower Center for one of the last late night summer programs.  So crazy that it is still 100 degrees out but all these summer things are ending.  It rained, which is totally PL worthy here.  We went to a Jedi Knight 'training session' at the park with all the nerds and geeks.  Of course we made a friend, who we still hang out with :)  And, over the weekend we spent one day at Sea World.  The character block party was a huge highlight, as was getting splashed by Shamu.  We talk about it daily (almost a month later).  I also wrote about some of the songs we are singing lately.

 The full spread.

 First Page:  I bought a physical Midnight Core Kit and find myself reaching for it whenever I need filler cards or something to mat a photo I printed too small.  The grey striped card behind the rain photo is Midnight kit.  I also used my Studio Calico cards a lot this week. 
I turned a 4x6 pocket into a mini layout, with two mini photos, a journaling card, washi tape and some cork thickers.  I mostly just love the way Avi charge Ryan across the hill with his light saber. 

I still love these old metallic Hardcover thickers, using them here in silver.   I like to go back to my spread after I'm done and add little bits, esp wood veneers like this little flower.

I used a BG frame to highlight this photo.  The grey alpha are from my KP kit.  

Ryan loved this little card paired with the snow cone photo.  The big flair is another KP kit item

 Second Side: KP and SC kit cards.  A few of the new Amy Tangerine vellum stickers.  I cut around the ampersand to slip in the Grover photo. Most of us were pretty shocked to get soaked by Shamu but Nandini loved it.  She seems to think that Shamu was trying to splash her personally and was totally in awe through the whole show. 

I included this random photo of a bee.  Turns out it was all Ryan and Avi really remembered about getting snow cones anyway.  I popped a sticker on top of a little camera paper clip.  A little change from my usual wood camera.  

I have resisted this nautical stamp set from Kelly Purkey for a long time, but I recently saw it in action at a friend's place and decided that I needed it, lol.  I used the silver ink from this month's KP PL kit and regular grey dye ink together.  Another simple stories sticker.  I really want to finish a pack of stickers but I think I need to pick up the pace and use all the leftovers in one place now ;)

I am linked up with The Mom Creative for Project Life Tuesday. The PL kits I am using generally are the Studio Calico kit, Kelly Purkey kit and Midnight kit, with multi-pack page protectors.  Let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks for visiting, I appreciate all of your support.  Please, leave your links to any PL pages in the comments so we can check them out too.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Day in the Life: July 2013

I am having so much fun with this little project.

I followed along with Ali Edwards pre-set day at the end of the month, though it seems she didn't really do it this month herself.  Not sure about that one.  If I miss the day and do it the next day, it is fine.  I just like the sort of randomness it gives the process versus a day I might select myself which would more likely be a certain type of day.  Turned out this day had plenty of specialness to it anyway.

I used a silhouette cut for the title card, but I did not use the negative so there is no see-through element this month.  I am in love with this design from Kal Barteski (and used it already here.)  I painted the hello with Heidi Swapp gold mist to echo my story page.  The airmail envelope is from an old Jenni Bowlin kit.  I love airmail.

I decided to try some more night shots.  The fact that we randomly had a date night on a Wednesday helped with that.  

 I used another Kal Barteski design as a mask here.  I just placed the die cut on cardstock and dotted gold mist around it with a paintbrush.  I have seen this idea on pinterest, using embroidery on negative space. The effect of the color+texture of the thread give the design it's appeal. I have no where near enough to sew that much, but luckily the Heidi Swapp mist has little bits of gold in it not just ink so it gives the look of some texture at least. 

 The pages open to hold more stuff.  I just attach two photos together a piece of washi tape (use white washi and save yourself some headache) then glue the inside photos on top. Easy and has held up so far.

 The tabs this month are more vintage bits from Jenni Bowlin. The cardstock is simply a 4x12 piece folded in half and slipped into the page protector.

I finally used one of the actual Kal B stamps.  I stitched around each story page for a simple border.  I think it adds a finished look to the mostly bare cardstock. I used a few labels here and on the photos as well.

 I used a few Carta Bella stickers because they really worked with my color scheme.  And yes, getting a second dinner of Vietnamese food at 11pm made me incredibly ill after we got home.  Romance was everything on date night though and Ryan stepped up and cleaned the mess.  Now that is love.

Thoughts on this project so far:
  • I still love the see-through title page and will likely return to that next month.
  • I could be a little more creative in my photo taking.  I'd like them to be brighter and less cluttered.  (Just like my life in general, ha.)
  • A continuing theme of gold is developing which I think helps to keep the album cohesive and seems to work well throughout the different seasons.  Same thing with adding a touch of paint.
  • I love keeping it simple, but I also like the little bits of texture and color too.  I think it is important to do this to give the pages a nice finish, otherwise it looks too incomplete.
  • I like doing one visual thing (sometimes borrowed from Pinterest) for big impact each month.  It keeps it fresh and keeps it fun for me. 
  • I like my story cards a lot more when I really focus on my handwriting instead of letting it get sloppy.  I also make the first word a little decorative.  It is a little detail that makes a big difference in the final look for me.  
  • I would also like to try some different story telling.  In the future I would like to include some lists, like books we read or songs we sang throughout the day.  I could keep a running list on my phone to record it. 
linked up with Jessica.
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