Friday, April 21, 2017

How 2 B A SAHM: Crunch those numbers!

Once you know that this SAHM thing could be for you how do you logistically make this work?

If you knew that you wanted to be a SAHM before you started a family you would save money… kids are expensive, the more money you can save the better your life will be. Since no family I know had $20,000 in a bank account when they became a SAHM I will guess that you are trying to crunch the numbers and see how it works for so many mothers to stay at home with one income.

The one thing that SAHMS have in common is they budget really well, I think SAHMS can be a great example to the finance industry, and we are.

So what my husband and I do is we look at how much our cost of living, (mortgage, utilities, insurance,) all the not fun stuff that we have to have to live on. then we calculate what a good number for clothing and cell phone and my craft/art supplies are, is also included in this number. Then we see how much extra money we have left over and we live within our means with one income. It’s as simple and complicated as that.

It’s simple because numbers never lie, it’s so hard because ouch you mean we only have $300 left over for everything else that might happen this month? I hope and pray our vehicles and health are good. (Thank god that for the most part, we don't’ have added expenses.) Oh and that extra $300 that we don’t spend goes into a savings account.

The reality is that for SAHMS, we like to stretch their dollar as far as possible. We love going out to eat as long as the food is worth the money, which most times I don’t think it is. We use our god given common sense to manage our household, we research the crap out of things, and then we lay awake sometimes at night wondering what we would do with an extra $500. That’s the reality, but I love it and I wouldn't want it any other way. (btw, we are going to Disney World because we finally managed to save enough, so there is fun to be had, it’s all on perspective.)

If you are accustomed to having two incomes and need to condense it to one income you may have to cut back some expenditures. It’s a sacrifice, that as a couple you have to decide. For us, we sacrificed cable, my beloved Sirius XM for a couple years, and a bigger house and a nicer/better/bigger vehicle. My thoughts on the house is this: the more room you have the more you have to clean and the more stuff you have to deal with… it’ just goes with the territory I can only clean so much... so a smaller house is better for our family.

My point: is that becoming a SAHM is a sacrifice, but all the silver and gold in the world can’t replace the nurturing power that a mom has on her child, if there is a will there is a way. I can’t tell you how many times my husband has come home and said he got a small raise in the middle of the year. The universe is on your side when it comes to finances. I will say that your husband will be able to do his job better when he doesn’t have to worry about his kids because they are in your capable hands, (that’s where raises can come into play.)

I don’t know all the tips to budgeting money, this is what has worked well for us, I have another post that will be added soon about how to contribute to the family as a SAHM and the flip side to having a SAHM in my next blog post.

I would love to hear about how you were able to become a SAHM and how you work with your finances to live the life you love! Leave a comment below.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

watercolor spring Edition

Watercolor can be very therapeutic for me and my art. I am enjoying the medium. The best thing about watercolor is that there isn't any rules as long as you are enjoying the outcome.
 An Abstract painting of some flowers can really make you smile when it's all done! This was inspired by Yao Cheng's class on CreativeBug Get 1 Month of Creativebug For Just $1

This painting was traced by a digital stamp I found, I printed the outline drawing and traced it! I love how it turned out!

I am loving tulips! can't you just see this in a frame in your bedroom? I love how the water makes the flowers look alive!

Get 1 Month of Creativebug For Just $1

Monday, April 17, 2017

Spring flowers to make you smile

Still working on some cards that make the maker (me) and the card giver and receiver smile! (you and someone you love)

I loved how stamping and masking really add to the depth of watercolor cards! it's so fun to play with on stamp and make a bunch of watercolor cards with one stamp with different stamping techniques. 
masking and watercolor
water resistance and watercolor

Watercolor fussy cutting 3d technique.

If you would like to see the other posts on how I made these soft beautiful watercolor cards visit this post.

Happy Spring!

If you like any of these cards feel free to contact me and I can get you set up

Friday, April 14, 2017

Stay at home mom needed!

Wanted: a Mother as she is, that is willing to learn and grow and make lots of mistakes as she grows and nurtures a family.  She will need humor for those hard days when she has to clean up vomit from a sick child at 3 am, Teaching abilities is a must, after all; we are trying to raise a family with well educated and well-rounded children. Her attention to her family’s details must be spot on, and her willingness to serve her children on a daily basis is an utmost importance to the family and the well-being of her children. Love and respect is a trait that must be apparent in the house most of the time, even in the hardest part of the day (supper time.)

Paid with lots of hugs, kisses, I love you’s and giggles.

This might not sound much like a trade off, but what I will say is: that realistically if you love the idea of being your own boss, and a good manager of people this job is for you. If you don’t feel like a good manager of little kids, be open minded and read a lot. I had no idea what toddlers were like until I read the Happiest Toddler on the block, and this book has helped me so much with all three of my children. Reading, and learning from the best is key. If you don’t like to read find a friend that you look up to and listen to her and watch what she does, or subscribe to a podcast that sits well with you.

The pay off’s of a SAHM isn’t an instant gratification thing, it’ takes a lot of time… Most of the time our payoffs are in the everyday moments like someone says something like, your kids are always so good, or it looks like you have lots of fun at your house, (we do, we also make a lot of messes too.) You get the idea.

For me the Payoff is totally when I tuck them into their beds at night and think, OMG finally we made it through another day. I can rest, and do some art. The real payoff I think is that this is the only job in the world that we are natural at.  I am not a compassionate person by nature, but I make up for that in creative ways. We all bring something to the table for our family’s growth, even if you don’t see it yet, You will.

The trade off is that we are providing our children with love and respect at a very young age. Our society has so much anger in the world. Here is a way to combat that anger to change the world with one small kiss or hug at a time. Your children will have that nurturing quality with them because you are nurturing them. They are your focus, not a job. (even if you work from home you are “home” for them.)  

Staying at home with your children and running a house is a hard thing.  It may seem like you are barely keeping it together, and that’s ok, it’s a learning curve most of us are barely keeping it together, those that say that they have everything figured out are the ones that have no idea what it’s really all about. I was totally there about 4 years ago, and then God gave me a curve ball that I didn’t see coming. My mother’s death made me realize that I needed to knock my motherhood and SAHM thing out of the park… but first I had to be injured with a broken heart to realized that.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

DIY Flower Crown

Every little girl I know dreams of having a flower crown at some point in her life, why buy one when you can make it? I thought I would make my daughter one for the father daughter dance that they attended. I hope that she will also wear this during the summer when we like to play dress up.

I found the instructions on Creativebug with Lia Griffith's class Paper Wedding Crafts. I loved her down to earth tips as she assembled the paper flowers, and I also enjoyed that with her paper flowers you can really use them any way you want, not just for a flower crown.

I love crafts that don't use a lot of materials, this one did that well I thought. I only needed to go to Hobby Lobby and get the brown twine floral wire. This project was fairly inexpensive which helps if you need to make more than just one.

As alway I cut my flowers, then assembled them and then glued them onto the wreath (the floral wire) and then attached the ribbon, there wasn't really anything too hard or special about this project but it was very entertaining to watch Lia Griffith create the flower crown because she had such wonderful tips along the way!

I hope you can find the time to make a flower crown. The project is what I call a no risk craft since you are using materials that don't cost too much just your time the risk of making a mistake and needing more material is low.

Happy Creating!

Monday, April 10, 2017

E-A-S-Y Washi tape thank you note cards

Michaels has a pack of 8 silver foiled thank you cards for $2.50 I love the texture to these not cards, they are already cut and folded for you, and the pack comes with envelopes!

Michaels also has washi tape that coordinates 6-10washi tape rolls in a tube for $10.99 I bought 3 tubes and felt giddy!

The thank you note card set went to a dear friend that is having a baby. I plan on making a set of these for family and friends. You never seem to have enough Thankyou cards right?

The short and sweet of these cards: cut the tape close to the end of the card, make sure your colors and patterns coordinate, and mix big patterns with small patterns and you got a really nice set of cards! No glue or extra tools to use!

Friday, April 7, 2017

How to become a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM)

I am so excited to share my experiences with you on how I became a Stay at home mom! I hope this series will inspire and uplift or enrich your life, and your family's life! My hope is that you can find the real potential and the real experience that I have had on staying at home to raise my kids. It's a very persona decision and it's not for everyone but if you try it you may want to continue to stay at home with your children and raise your family!

The how:

Maybe you are finally pregnant and are ecstatic to be a  SAHM like I was over 8 years ago. Maybe you just want to stay with your small baby and can’t go back to work because you can’t leave your baby with anyone else OR maybe it’s because you lost your job and you are now wondering how it all works. You came to the right spot.

In my own experience I “put” my husband through school, meaning I supported him financially (I paid for rent, food utilities, and  transportation while he was in school.) For  the rest of the cost of education, we are still paying that off (we are finally on the downhill side of that huge payment.) When I got pregnant, on his last year of his rotations, and became a stay at home mother. I was at that point I was loving the life of being a stay at home mother for two weeks, I was really pregnant and thought OH this is the LIFE. Then my daughter came and I was blindsided for about a year, I realized in like two weeks that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and how to do it… all the other mothers made it look insanely easy to just stay at home and be with their baby! It wasn't like that for me at all. I had meltdowns (the ones that my soon to be toddler will have when their world isn’t right.) Yeah, that was me for 5 years!  

My meltdowns might seem a bit dramatic, they were very much an internal struggle, and I finally realized that it was because I wasn’t spending enough time on myself. It was then That I had to realize and understand that this motherhood thing wasn’t at all what I thought, and maybe this SAHM thing isn’t about me, but about the family as a whole.

The experience of staying at home, nursing my daughter was a huge wake up call, I felt like a piece of meat for this ravenous baby that all she wanted me for was the food, until she looked at me and smiled, and I thought Ahhh ok, life is going to be all right as long as she can smile. That's when I realized that this may be worth it. It is!

My hope is that this blog post series will become a way to uplift and inspire you to become a SAHM. It’s the most beautiful and rewarding job there is, it’s a tough job that not everyone can do, and those that do it well, have a learned one thing: it’s not about them, it’s about the family as a whole.  

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Purify EO blend

I have a new motivation to clean my house so I can make my house smell AMAZING!  This scent helps me feel peace and security while motivating me to keep my house clean, You have to try this one!

My new favorite room freshener and surface cleaner spray:

Purify: (adapted from Do Terra's Purify.)

in a 2 oz glass spray bottle add:

1.5 oz water
splash of witch hazel
10 drops of grapefruit and lemongrass
5 drops of Cedarwood, lemon Eucalyptus, and cinnamon leaf 

Spray when needed, I have one for the bathrooms upstairs and one bottle for my kitchen! 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Perfect Pretty Princess Puffs!

Let's get baking: Snow days are the P-E-F-E-C-T excuse to be in the kitchen with your kids right? these Meringues are a fun way to introduce meringue techniques to your budding baker!

Pretty Princess Puffs Adapted by the Pink Princess cookbook by Barbara Beery

3 Egg Whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar (don't forget this)
1/2 tsp vanilla
and sprinkles to top your "puff"


Preheat oven to 250

I taught my daughter to separate the egg whites, I did two, she did one. (we wasted one egg.)

Whip egg whites in your stand mixer on high until small peaks form (about5-7 minutes,)
Then turn your mixer onto a slow mode, add sugar slowly a tablespoon at a time, add cream of tartar, & vanilla.

Spoon about 2 Tablespoons for each cookie onto a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper or foil about 1/2 an inch apart from each other. Then add your sprinkles

Place cookie sheets on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and let them stay in the oven for another 10 min.

Remove the cookies from the oven and place on a cooling rack.

Store in an airtight container

My savings tip: This is a great recipe to use up some of your eggs that might expire soon, with eggs at a good price point, the cost of this recipe for all the ingredients is less than $1 to make! You could make a bunch of cookies for a tiny amount of money. Or once you know that the cost to make these is minimal, you may think twice not spending $5-$10 for a small package of these meringues at the store! I overstock on my eggs all the time, it's hard to beat the price point of eggs with the nutritional value that eggs have.

If you are looking for a perfect Princess cookbook for your budding baker Gibbs Smith, Publisher has a great line of cookbooks, Pink Princess Cookbook or Fairy Princess Cookbook both are a go-to cookbook for her and me!

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Your boys are missing out on this!

Monster trucks? Markers? painter's Tape? and some paper.... Yes! I made art monster truck jam. It was a fun activity that my boys really enjoyed!

It's been in the works for awhile, I just needed some white paper on a roll, (butcher paper) I got mine from staples for about $10, The monster Trucks came from the Hot Wheel section at Target, and we had markers that I had bought during back to school season for like $.30

The prep:
Tape a good length of paper to the floor, I think our paper was about 3 feet long

Tape your kid's color choice of marker to a monster truck using painters tape, we found three trucks, so we used red, blue, and black. I loved using the pipsqueaks markers, they are shorter than regular markers, making it the perfect size for the monster truck, We also used regular markers, it's not a big deal to use either.

I used washable markers, so if the trucks did go off the paper it was an easy to clean up.

Afterward, use this paper as wrapping paper! or cut it up into shapes and use it as collage art!

My savings tip for this activity, buy extra school supplies late July, you will be glad you did, I always buy like 5-7 more packages or markers and crayons. They make some nice unexpected gifts, for example, your daughter was invited to 7 other girls birthday parties for this school year, (those presents can get really expensive,) pair some markers and crayons to a nice activity book, you have a perfect present for the birthday girl/boy!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Nicks Tenderloins and Blank Park Zoo visit recap

looking at the funny otters!

A perfect Saturday for this stay at home mom is when we are able to do something as a family in the morning, then for a late lunch/early supper, then we go out to eat. A couple Saturday on a nice late winter Saturday when the weather was just warm enough to stay outside for a couple hours we went to the Blank Park Zoo, It was a fun time, not too busy and not too hot! Those are the days I cherish during a long winter month!

at the Discover zone with the fish
Notice in the pictures that it was a perfect time to go to the zoo, (not too many people) and that is part of the reason why I love having a membership, you can go to the zoo on a whim and if it's too busy you come back when it's not as busy and spend more time at each exhibit! (I suppose it a dirty little secret my kids haven't quite got onto yet!)

On a side note, during the spring and summer absolutely love going to the HY-Vee down the road and get sushi for me, and Lunchables for my kids so we can have lunch at the park in the Zoo's parking lot, they kids love it, there is a shelter with tables, and lots of shade, the sounds of the birds and the tall grass and my kids playing makes this a perfect spot to chill, and eat some sushi!

This particular day we had a wonderful time at the zoo, and then we wanted to try a new restaurant, It's a little-known secret that in Iowa there is a place that has the best tenderloins in the nation, and that is right here in Des Moines but more particular it's on the South Side of the Des Moines Area. Watch out Smitty's Tenderloin, a new kid's in town and the Tenderloin is thick and perfect made my Nicks Town House Tenderloins! 
The king tenderloin is about 2 inches thick, biger than a bun!

With the perfect crunchy outside and moist tender pork when you bite into the King tenderloin it's delectable! No wonder Iowa Pork producers voted the King Tenderloin the best tenderloin in Iowa (nation) because we (Iowa) are known for the best tenderloins in the nation. Thanks to the Pork Producers for that, enough stories and people have shared that when they land in the Des Moines area the first stop they make is down the road to a tenderloin shop for a perfect meal they have been waiting for.

This was our fist time stopping into Nick's What big shoes to fill when you open a tenderloin shop on the south side of Des Moines, It's gotta be good, there are enough places to choose from that you will need a killer tenderloin. And they did just that!

The King Tenderloin which my husband and I split was the perfect portion, most of the time we order one for each of us, so we could have leftovers, next time we will be doing that.  our kids had kid-friendly food from their kid menu, corndog nuggets.

The atmosphere was fun and kid friendly, you walk in and there is a bar, and the hostess greeting you, I felt like Nick's was more like a diner feel than a pub, which I am grateful for (Nicks bought the old Tavern on the south side.)

Thank you, Nicks, for having such a great kid-friendly restaurant that is close to the zoo so families can enjoy an Iowa favorite, and relax after a couple amusing hours at the zoo. We will be back often!

The rope bridge at the Discovery Zone at the BPZ
My quick tip for kids and families that go to the Blank Park Zoo, go to the discovery center when it's cold or too hot, it's air conditioned and heated during those days you need a break. The Zoo is open year round and the Discovery center is perfect for winter days. Eat before you go to the zoo, they don't let you bring lunch into the zoo.

To find out why I love my Zoo pass go to this blog post

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

My top classes to take with BOGO Craftsy SALE!

Craftsy has a Buy One class get one Free, and there are some really good ones to take if you are looking to learn a new skill!

GO HERE for the last post on what classes I would pair up! there are some really good ones you might not want to miss, including watercolor cards, watercolor as an art, yummy and healthy FOOD, and CARD and STAMPING classes that I learned so much from! 

Go here for the Bagel class that I love!

My recent class I took was the Bagels and Pretzel class, totally worth it! the bagels I made were so inexpensive, and you didn't need any extra equipment! I figured for one batch of bagels (8-4oz bagels) cost only $1.50 in ingredients! totally worth it if you like to bake and save money like this girl does! (so totally worth the money to take this class!

My quick tip for saving money with Craftsy is: to buy classes when they are on sale, sometimes you can get a class for $10, but my favorite time to get classes is their BOGO event, because you get to choose what you want, and usually the classes are about $20, so you could get two classes for $20, It's totally worth it! The Craftsy community is awesome, I have learned so much from other students that I just really love being a part of the community! If you are part of the Craftsy community please feel free to follow me! 


Monday, March 27, 2017

Penny Black Peony's watercolor stamp

Watercolor stamping is very addictive! I love this stamp for all the simple reasons why I love watercolor, The art of it! each time I stamped and watercolored the stamp I got something unique every time. If you love to stamp but want a unique look to your cards this stamp set is the one. 

I found this stamp set at my local paper crafting store at Memory Bounds in Ankeny Iowa. I could have waited for a sale but it was calling my name and I had to have the stamp. 

Penny Black has a great line that works really well with "no line" stamping, and the Peony stamp didn't disappoint. 

I used Gansia Tambi light pink and Olive green for the flower, and then for the background, I used Cobalt Blue. I then used some Starry Colors that I mixed into the pink to make the watercolor shimmer.
Here's how I did it:
stamp your flower with some water activated ink (I used Tim Holtz worn lipstick and Pealed Paint) You want some ink that will work with the color of the Gansia Tambi watercolor that you will be using. 
then I mixed some Gansia Tambi light pink and Olive green with some starry color for the flower and stem. (I used more starry color than pigment at this point, and lots of water.) the ratio would be 80% water, 4% pigment and 6% Starry color  (Yellow Gold) The idea is to have the brush loaded with water, then with the paint mixture. I used a size 4 round brush for the painting of the stamped image.
To paint I would paint the peony as if I was painting it without the stamp, so I started in the middle and worked out. each pedal I would work from the darkest and then work out to the lighter part. I did this until the whole stamped looked like I painted it.  The key to this is to always have your brush full of the water pigment mixture. 

For the background, I used a wet on wet technique, and just added the cobalt blue water color to just the edge of the flower and worked out with just water to give it a dreamy look. 

I then stamped with Tim Holtz peeled Paint a Thank you sentiment. mounted it onto a card base. This stamp works well horizontal as well as vertical. 

If you are looking for a good watercolor card class, Craftsy has one that I love and recommend 
Go here for the class from Craftsy that will show you how to do this technique

If you are looking to just learn about watercolor I would head over to CreativeBug and look into Yao Cheng's beginner watercolor class, You will love her class!

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Watercolor poppies are the Spring Card of 2017

I LOVE PAINTING and STAMPING flowers cards, so When these poppies from Stampendous came out I had to have them.  I came across them at my local paper craft store at Memory Bounds and snatched them... I started early in the morning to stamp they ( I made about 10 cards) turned out amazing!

The fun was in the creating, and decision making, do I want to do a resist embossing or just a watercolor, or maybe I wanted to layer the flowers? What I absolutely loved about all the different ways to create with this stamp set was that it came with a stencil so I used the stencil as a mask to get some really neat effects! (coming later in a different post.)

Then after the stamping session the next morning I watercolored the cards, I used a small percent of pigment from my Gansai Tambi and Stary colors to color the flowers,

For the watercolor I mixed the starry color White gold in with the Gansai Tambi cobalt watercolor with lots of water, I wanted a light and dreamy feel to the flower. on the background, I also just painted the white gold for some added shimmer.

then I assembled the card with a bit of pop dots, this card turned into one of my favorite cards that I had given to a wife that has her husband in a hospital.

at the bottom I made a happy mistake and used some Washi Tape, I love how the washi tape anchored my card to make such a stunning finishing touched! (washi tape was found at Michaels in the best value recollection washi tape tube.)

On a side note about this stamp set, it came with a stencil for masking, I fussy cut the flowers and leaves out.

My quick Desing tip: I like to use Washi Tape that adds a design Element to the beauty of the card. I knew I didn't want floral WT. I wanted something that complements the card.
  To compliment a floral design add a geometric pattern.

If you are looking to add some watercolor to your card making I would suggest taking this class at Craftsy or Yao Chang's class at Creativebug, both are excellent recourses to help with your watercolor.

Here is a review for the watercolor card class from Craftsy I posted a little bit ago.

Some links contain affiliate links, when you make a purchase through one of these links you are supporting me and my blog.