Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sleep Success...?

Do I even dare hope that there will be a new normal around here? Brielle has finally started sleeping better at night. I can hardly believe it's even happening. We've had about 3 good sleeps out of the last 5. I am almost scared to even report progress in case things revert back to the way they were. Last night I only got up once (briefly with Nathanael). Brielle woke up, but only for 10 minutes or so and then fell back asleep on her own (I didn't get up). It was like a dream. A very, very good dream. I cannot even describe how wonderful it is to wake up without feeling like you've been hit in the head with a sledgehammer. This is the best way to describe how I had felt every single day for 364 days.Quite honestly, the sleep deprivation was starting to have some very serious effects on my health, including my mental health. I feel the least healthy I have felt in my whole life. For everyone's sake, things had to change.

I ended up attending a free sleep clinic just over a week ago, which did not teach me anything really new, per say. However, what it did do was help me realize and admit to myself what a terrible state I was in, the toll this sleep deprivation was taking on everyone, and how it didn't have to be this way. It helped get me motivated again, which was what I really needed. I ended up going home, reread the sleep sense book (which has a similar strategy to the sleep clinic) and started on a plan. There have been setbacks and things, but overall, I immediately started seeing small (and now large...really large) improvements. The toughest challenge is that I'm sticking to an incredibly strict napping/sleeping routine and schedule (within 15 minutes). I have noticed that the days where things are not exactly the same (Sundays), it does not go well. Sticking to this strict schedule, though it has its drawbacks, is worth it. Oh yes, it's worth it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What's on the Menu

February is almost over, and we have not spent a single penny on going out to eat this month. Woohoo!

Monday: Tacos

Tuesday: Asian Salmon & Rice
(I bought a GIANT bag of jasmine rice a few weeks ago, and I tried a new method of cooking it. Well, that new method turned the rice into rice mush. It was not that great. We ate it anyway. I thought, well it's going in the garbage, but the insanely frugal me thought there must be some way to use up super mushy rice. It's almost too mushy for fried rice, sadly. Well, lo and behold, there is a recipe for mushy rice's even kind of fancy...the Arancini. Also known as....Rice Balls. Perrrrfect. These little fried rice balls look pretty crazy tasty.

Wednesday: You guessed it...Arancini (sounds so much tastier than Rice Balls), marinara sauce, veggies on the side

Thursday: Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes, Veggies

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Beef Borscht (using leftover roast beef)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Good Things

Good things lately....

Our littlest sweetheart turned 1.

She hates anything on her head and refuses to keep her toque on or any clip or headband. The night after her party, I slept for 6 hours (in a row, even!) for the first time in a year. It was amazing. I felt like a new person. Last next night was horrific again, however, and she cried an awful lot in the night. I still have no clue what the deal is with her, but we will keep at it. I have her on a fairly strict sleeping/nap schedule in hopes of improving her sleep. I have seen small progress overall, so I am feeling encouraged (especially after experiencing that one night of sleep! ahhhhhh....)

A genius no-heat way to get curls. I tried this on a whim (and didn't even try very hard at it), and it worked SO well. Love, love, love this method! I especially love that you can put your hair up like this, have it look cute as an updo, and then take it out to get these awesome curls. Probably the easiest and most awesome hair thing I've discovered. I will try it a few more times to see how it goes, but I am excited!

I scored a big bag of girls clothes for $30....super pumped about that. (I think there were like 13 pairs of jeans in it! Plus capris, shorts, shirts, dresses, and a jacket). Probably close to 50 items. Pictures to come later...

It was 50 cent week at our local thrift shop a few weeks ago, and I got some fantastic deals for Nathanael for next year. Pictures to come of that, too...

I also bought myself an early birthday present that has made a world of difference in daily upkeep of my house so far. daughter can use it to (that was a big part of the reason I purchased it). Will share more about that later :-). I mainly use it in my kitchen and entry way, and it cost less than $20 to buy. Can you guess what it is??

Monday, February 9, 2015

Menu Plan & Taking All the Toys Away

Here are the meals I've planned for this week:

Chicken Noodle Soup - Mennonite Style - & Biscuits

Asian Salmon, Rice, & Mixed Veggies

Copy-cat Chick-Fil-A Nuggets, Fries, Veggies & Dip

Creamy Mushrooms over Rice with Mixed Veggies

Breakfast for Dinner

Coconut Curried Lentils & Rice, Mixed Veggies

Crockpot BBQ Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Veggies

Yes, I did take away all my kids toys. Toys, books, puzzles, and stuffies...they are put away. I cleared off the bookshelves, crafty/puzzle closet, toy boxes, everything. I have been at war with the toys in this house for far too long. One day, I had just "had it." It's a bit of a story that includes crayon on walls, unexpected hair cuts, and toys everywhere. I have noticed my kids are pretty obsessed with "stuff". I realize it's more of a heart issue than anything, and taking everything away isn't going to "fix" it, per say. It doesn't solve the root of the problem, I know.

This decision was mostly for my own sanity. As I joked to my husband, I had two options. 1) Hop on a plane to Bermuda or 2) Put every single toy, book, game, puzzle, movie away. Being the responsible and mature adult that I am (Ha!), I chose option 2.

For the past 4 days, things around here have gone so much better. Our kids loved going outside to play, making up their own games, making blanket forts, giving each other rides in the laundry basket, and tons of make-believe-games with their few (as in 4 or 5) toys I have let them have for now. In fact, the change has been so fantastic that I'm thinking about selling 75 percent of the toys once we get back to earning the toys back. Sure, some won't agree with our decision, but it has been the right decision for our family for now. Inspirational reading regarding this topic includes Why I Took My Kids' Toys Away  and Why Fewer Toys Will Benefit Your Kids.

I pass no judgement on to other families who love toys and have many. Every family is different. This is just the right direction for ours. My husband is completely on board with this. Our goal is not zero toys. The goal is fewer toys. Actually, no. The goal is eventually addressing the heart issues that go along with our consumer-driven, entitled, keeping-up-with-the-Jones society.
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