Valentine’s Day Heart Suncatchers

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I have seen things floating around Pinterest using Borax to make crystals, so I thought I’d try it myself. This activity was super easy and the results were great! The kids really enjoy looking at them hanging in the kitchen window. One word of caution, do the pouring of the Borax yourself, I’m not sure if it’s safe for the kids to touch!!

I started with 4 mason jars filled with very hot water, a box of borax, and some pipe cleaners. I had the twins “help” me form the pipe cleaners into heart shapes, then added a pipe cleaner so they would fit across the glass jars. I added 3 tbsp. of borax per cup of water (for this size jar it was 6 tbsp. total), and added the pipe cleaner heart. Make sure to stir it well so the borax dissolves.

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Be careful not to let any part of the heart touch the side and make sure it is completely submerged in the water. I let mine sit overnight and it was plenty of time to really crystallize. I have read that you can re-dip them by reheating the water, but I found mine plenty crystallized.

This is how they turned out!

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They look even better hanging in the window!

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I found that disposing of the borax was the most difficult part, as I didn’t want to dump it down the sink. I dumped the water in a jug I was throwing away anyway, then pounded on the borax with a fork until the rest came out:)

You could really make any shape out of these, snowflakes, hearts, suns, etc. Have fun and enjoy!

Until our next adventure,

Moving Mommy

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Grandma’s Meatloaf

One of my favorite things that my grandmother used to make was her meatloaf. It was leaps and bounds better than any other meatloaf I have ever had, and still is. I’ve made a few adjustments to her original recipe in order to avoid heavily processed things, but it’s still almost the same. I hope that you enjoy it as much as my family does!!

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Grandma’s Meatloaf

Meat Mix

  • 2 lbs Ground Beef or Turkey (preferably grass-fed beef)
  • 1 cup organic quick oats
  • 1 medium onion- chopped
  • 2 celery stalks- chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Sauce

  • 1 cup organic ketchup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp. vinegar (I use apple cider, but plain white vinegar works as well)
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire
  • 1 tsp. horseradish

Preheat oven to 325*. Begin by mixing the oats, onion, egg, celery, salt, and pepper.

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Make the sauce. Add 1/2 the sauce (approximately 3/4 cup) and the meat to the oat mixture and mix thoroughly.

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Grease a bread pan and form the meat mixture into a loaf. Bake at 325* for 45 minutes. Remove and top with remainder of the sauce. Bake for another 45 minutes at 325* or until a meat thermometer reads 160 (beef) or 165 (turkey).

 

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Enjoy!!

Moving Mommy

5 Money Saving Tips for New Moms

I have a very good friend who is pregnant right now with her first child. That had me thinking how completely clueless I was when I had Luke. I spent a fortune on things I didn’t need to, and didn’t have things that I now couldn’t imagine living without. So this post is for the new moms and expectant moms, maybe you’ll save a little money (and sanity)!

Diapers- Whatever you do, do not buy the regular size packs from Target or CVS. You’ll end up spending twice as much to diaper your one child as I did diapering twins. Consider using Luvs, they are seriously the best diapers on the market and are also cheaper. Buy them through Amazon’s subscribe and save and you’ll be able to diaper and wipe your baby for $20 per month. It cost us about $38 per month for the twins. They also sell the very large boxes at BJs for around the same price as Amazon, I’m sure Costco and Sam’s have similar deals.

Don’t be afraid of hand-me-downs- I registered for a brand new everything with Luke, it seemed like the right thing to do. As he grew, I realized that he only used all of those things for a few months at most and it was a giant waste of money! He had a brand new bouncer that he didn’t like and only used once. If people have baby stuff that they are willing to give you, take it!! Even if you plan on having more kids, the stuff will last just fine:)

Breastfeed- Not only is it so much better for your baby than chemical-laden formula, but it will save you $1500- $2500 in the first year, depending on the type of formula that you use.  I realize it’s not for everyone and that it’s a very personal decision. I’m a huge supporter of breastfeeding, but that’s for another post.

Make your own baby food- Again, it’s much better for baby and all you really need is a blender and some small jars. They also make baby food processors, but I just used a blender and it was fine. There are tons of recipes and resources out there as well!

Coupon- I know, couponing can be time-consuming and annoying. It works though. I typically don’t use coupons every week because there aren’t many real food coupons out there, but I do still use them for our personal care stuff. Even Tom’s has coupons for their natural toothpaste and deodorant. I generally look for the sales on the things I use at CVS and buy a paper the week they are on sale. The sales are usually the same week that the coupons are in the paper and I can buy shampoo, toothpaste, body wash, etc. for little or no cost.  If you have a BJ’s near  you, consider a membership. They have high value store coupon books that are sent out every month, along with in-store weekly coupons. They are also the only warehouse club that takes manufacturers coupons.

Those are my top five tips, and how we survived financially with the twins! What are your favorite money-saving tips? Stay tuned for the next post “Things I Never Knew I Couldn’t Live Without… Until I Had Kids!”.

Until our next adventure,

Moving Mommy

Flu Shot

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*Disclaimer: I know that this is a hot button topic and I ask everyone to please be respectful of other people’s views in the comments. I am not writing this post to upset anyone, I am looking for honest opinions and advice*

Do you get your kids the flu shot? I have always been skeptical of it, and my kids have never had it. I am not anti-vaccine, all of my kids are vaccinated. I understand the risks of all types of vaccines and after a lot of research, we decided that the benefits outweigh the risks for us. Except for the flu shot. It seemed to me in the past that my kids are healthy and have healthy immune systems, so it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they got the flu. This year I’m a little concerned, as it is at epidemic levels here in New Jersey and I read an article that 20 children have died this year from the flu.

The article didn’t give specifics, like the overall health of the children affected, but that’s scary folks. When the twins were babies, I asked my pediatrician about the vaccine when he offered it. He asked me if my kids went to daycare and I said no. He told me that honestly, none of his kids had the flu shot until they were old enough to have the nasal one. That pretty much sealed the deal for me, I mean if my doctor didn’t think it necessary than why would I inject something unnecessary into my child?? The nasal version does not contain Thimerosal (mercury), while the injection does. No other vaccine approved for children under 6 contains Thimerosal, and that has been my main reason for not getting it before. Toxic substances and my children’s blood stream just don’t mix. But now I’m concerned that maybe I’m not doing the right thing.

The twins have a doctor’s appointment next Monday and I have to make a decision before then. I’m not sure if they offer the nasal version at their office. If they do, I will probably get it. If not, I’m still unsure…

Any advice from my wonderful readers???

Thanks!

Moving Mommy

 

Red Sunshine Juice

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A week or two ago I tried to do a juice detox. It didn’t go very well, but I’ll be trying again soon:) Something about not eating made me a little crazy and by dinner I couldn’t take it any more. What I did find was that I wasn’t exactly hungry, I just felt the need to eat. It probably has something to do with a  sugar addiction or something. Anyhow, I did create some great juice recipes and continue to juice for breakfast to change things up from my typical smoothie. I find that juicing gives me an extra boost of energy in the morning! Drinking juice on an empty stomach means all of those vitamins and minerals are going straight to our bodies because they do not need to be heavily digested.

I would say this recipe is for “beginning juicers”, as it’s pretty sweet. The idea is to start with 2 or 3 sweet vegetables, and as you become accustomed to the taste cut them down to maybe 1. Even the twins love this one!!

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Red Sunshine Juice- Yields one 16oz serving

  • 1 cup of organic greens (I rotate the greens that I use each week; spinach, kale, swiss chard, collard greens, etc.)
  • 1 beet
  • 2 carrots or a handful of baby carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1/2 of a seedless cucumber
  • 1 apple

I typically juice them in the above order, but I’m not sure that it really matters. I refrigerate it for about 30 minutes after juicing so that it is nice and cold! It will last about 12 hours before some of the enzymes start to die off, so drink up!

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Enjoy!

Moving Mommy

Child Care

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I was reading an article the other day about the cost of child care, and while I remember it being expensive, I didn’t realize just how expensive. Before the twins were born I worked full-time, and Luke was in daycare. We spent about $9,000 per year, which is a lot, but I thought it was reasonable because we only had one child at the time. I still made enough to bring home a decent salary after child care. Then came the twins. We decided as soon as we found out that I wouldn’t be able to work. I mean, $27,000 per year? Can anyone afford that? That’s more than the majority of Americans pay for their mortgage or rent.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think that child care providers deserve every penny that they make, but how much of that do they really see? Considering the BLS shows the average child care workers’ salary is $19,510 per year and preschool teachers’ salary is $27,130, I would say not much. Can there really be $130,000 of overhead per classroom per year? I’m not sure, I guess it’s possible, especially in small centers. It doesn’t change the fact that child care is becoming more and more unattainable for the majority of Americans. I have a master’s degree and can’t afford to work. Seems crazy right?

In 2/3 of the US, child care for one year is more expensive than college at a public university. As parents, we are spending more money to get through the preschool years than we will spend to ship them off to college. Child care costs are rising faster than incomes. What are families supposed to do? Are we stepping back in time to a place where women will no longer be able to have a career and children?

I realize that these costs vary wildly by state and that some states are actually affordable. Most of them aren’t. The county where we live averages $12,000- $14,000 per child, per year. Full-time preschool is around $20,000 per child and doesn’t include summers.

What are your thoughts on child care costs? I would love to hear opinions from child care providers and those who work!!!!

Until our next adventure,

Moving Mommy

Sources:

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Childcare Costs Continue to Rise

New Year’s Resolutions

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Did you know that only approximately 8% of people actually keep their new year’s resolutions? Sounds about right:) I think I’ve made a million of them throughout my lifetime and only kept a few. This year instead of making resolutions, I decided that I would make some goals for the year and try to make them realities. I also figured that if I put those goals out there for everyone to see, I’d be much more likely to work toward them! So, here they are!

1. Run a half-marathon- The current plan is to run either the New Jersey half-marathon or the North Face Endurance Challenge in May, but I’m unsure if I’ll be ready by then. I’m starting to train now and I’ll do my best!

2. Finish the CPA exam- This isn’t a goal, it is a must! I have three more sections to take, and I would like to have them done by the beginning of July. That means lots of studying between now and then!

3. Become a better blogger- October and November were great months for the blog, but I have so many other ideas to implement! I need to dedicate more time to writing and take the time to move to a self-hosted site.

4. Reduce my reliance on electronics- This is a hard one for me. It seems that half of my life is spent on the computer or iPad. I need to spend more time playing with the kids and enjoying the outdoors. So, basically the exact opposite of goal #3:)

Those are my biggest ones for the year! Do you make new year’s resolutions? If so, what are yours for this year? I’d love to hear them!!

Until our next adventure,
Moving Mommy