Thursday, April 03, 2008

Lazy Blogger!

Well I haven't been good about keeping up my blog, but hubby has started his own personal finance blog and I have a couple of guest posts you can check out...

Main page
Don't Feed the Alligators

Cloth Diapers

Frugal Scrapping

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Every pregnant girl needs the following...

These are things that I found very helpful. They might not work for everyone, but here they are:

Maternity pant suspenders. I saw these things in a pregnancy magazine and they basically attach to your pants and your bra like mini suspenders. Of course they were charging $12, I found something similar for $5 at Joanns. Since the new maternity pants are low rise, these things are great. No more saggy pants!!

Motion sickness bands. I didn't need these (thankfully), but I did use them on a flying trip. Again, I'm not sure if they worked, but I didn't get sick and another friend has used them successfully.

Snoogle Body Pillow. I bought this one (snoogle at baby age). What a great invention. I didn't think I needed one at first, but then after starting to use about 4 pillows to get comfy, I made the investment. It's awesome!!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Hacker’s Diet & my weight loss secrets and successes

Back around November I starting thinking about getting “in shape” for pregnancy. I was not at my ideal weight and I wanted to concentrate on healthy eating. My theory was it would be easier to encourage healthy eating if mom and dad were leading by example. But I wanted to start before the baby arrived, so it would be a normal part of our routine, so I got a head start.

So my quest to have a healthy pregancy began, pre-conception. I started small. I tried to cut out things that contained high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and it’s in Everything! (mind you, now that I’m pregnant and my calories needs have increased, I do have HFCS back in my life, but in moderation!) But at the same time I started shopping smarter, avoiding the dangerous middle aisles of the store, sticking with the outskirts (produce, fish, meat, dairy). And thanks to my friend Karen, I have a handy dandy shopping list and on the back, when I print my list, I also make my meal plan for the week. I don't always come up with original meal ideas, but I have a list of tried and true things and they are tasty, quick and healthy. I find that if I plan out 3 meals a day for about a week, I shop better and don’t tend to buy food that sits in the fridge and goes bad. This way if I have fajitas with avocado on the menu, I buy and use the avocado (although those never go to waste in my house!!) At about the same time, I found a great website called The World’s Healthiest Foods. which is great for letting you know which foods have the highest nutritional value, how to buy and store them and easy, quick recipes. It’s a great resource.

I also found a website called Fitday that allows me to track calories. But more importantly it also tracks, carbs, protein, calcium, vitamins etc so I can check that I’m getting the nutrients I need. I also started taking a prenatal vitamin (I highly recommend the CVS brand if you’re in the market, easy to swallow and has never made me sick). So I would record my data each day to see that I was hitting my targets. I started at to get my calorie needs, this site also gives calorie needs for pregnant woman in particular, which was very helpful. So I kept track and I ate 1500 calories a day (which if my normal needs are 2200 would mean I would have an over 3500 cal/wk deficit which translates into 1 lb). And the weight started coming off. About a 1 to 1 ½ lbs a week, but I was able to maintain that amount of calories and didn’t feel deprived. (It's good to keep little snacks like funsize chocolates, so if you have some extra calories leftover you can have a little treat! But remember, moderation is the key) I also recommend which is a great resource for calorie counts and you can upload data directly into fitday.

After a few months my husband started noticing my weight loss and got interested in how he could do the same (some people get the "freshman 15", for us it was the "1st 5 years of marriage 20"!) He figured we were basically eating the same thing, except I was losing and he wasn't! He found this website, The Hackers Diet and started reading. It reads like an engineer's guide to dieting (not unlike, for engagement rings, but that's an entry for a different day!) The basic gist is that if you track your weight every day you can establish a trend line. The ups and downs of the scale are what discourage most dieters, but with a trend you can neutralize the ups and downs into a realistic trend. Thus began our daily weigh-ins. We bought a new scale ( and were on our way.

I was about 5 lbs off my goal when I found out I was pregnant the 1st of May (but hey we were on vacation so it was a pretty good time to not have to totally worry about calorie counting!). At that time I gradually increased my calorie intake by about 200 cals a week until I was back to my normal caloric need. After the first trimester I increased to an additional 300 calories in order to start gaining 1 lb/wk. My husband is also well on his way to his goal (we should pass each other next week!) and is losing about 1 1/2/wk. He's pretty lucky, I send him to work on most days with breakfast and lunch and let him know the calorie counts, I'm his own personal nutritionist! Then he can determine how he wants to spend the extra on snacks. He has also started working out (I was too lazy for that!) I do try to keep active, but between living on the 2nd floor, laundry in the basement and parking far from the entrance at work I'm sure I'm doing fine and every now and then the hubby convinces me to go for a walk!

If you are interested in any of this, I hope you find these resources helpful. I found that the diffierent websites were a great way to start eating healthy and feeling better. No guarantees, but feel free to post with questions. If you don't like the computer (what would you be doing reading a blog though!) The Calorie King has a great book that is compact and portable and makes it really easy to count calories. So take any of this information and use it as you see fit. Good luck and here's to happy, healthy eating!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Meet Rosie and Jeeves

Rosie and Jeeves are our pet names for our new housekeepers. You see, we have two huge dogs, and although they don’t have a lot of hair, they do tend to make huge messes! So we had some extra money in the budget this month and bought two of the coolest electronic inventions after TIVO and our fabulous harmony remote control by Logitech

(which is called that because it creates harmony and has probably saved ours and at least 1 other marriage that I know of!).

Rosie is a scooba. She cleans the kitchen floor and she does a great job. In 45 minutes she zips around and goes under the furniture and bounces off the walls. And I think the solution smells wonderful.

Jeeves arrived the other day. He was delayed in transit because he choose to take the train to get to us (Free pony express shipping from Amazon). Jeeves is the Roomba Red. He is a more rugged, all-terrain robot that zips over rugs and thresholds and gets into all kinds of dusty, cob-webbed corners (and even under the beds to rid the house of pesky bunnies!)

I’m sure we’ll still use our vacuum now and again, but with a new little one on the way, this is just a nice way to stay on top of the cleaning and create a somewhat sanitized environment (haha!! Even with Rosie and Jeeves we will never be a germ free house, but a wise man once said you need to eat a pound of dirt before you die!) Rosie and Jeeves will just prevent our kids from exceeding their RDA!

Sewing prowess, thrifty or just cheap??

Either way it worked like a charm!

I just wanted to share my handy tips for creating cheap maternity wear. I recently lost weight, prior to getting pregnant, and have a lot of clothes that I have piled in a corner for goodwill. Fortunately, since I have been too lazy to take them to the drop off I have been able to use some of the items to make new and improved recycled items. I did hold on to a pair of black Dockers that were large and took me through my 4th month, but I knew come post pregnancy I wouldn’t wear them. So I figured if I could find a clever way, I could make them into maternity pants. Here are the instructions. The photo shown is similar to what I did, but not my handy work, I'll try to take a photo and post for comparison!

2” Elastic (sized for your waist)
Stretchy material (black) (I used an old tankini swim top that was in the good will pile)
Old pants (black) (standard rise waist)
Misc. Notions

So I cut the stretchy fabric so that it was about 2 ½ times the elastic width and finished the two edges (that is the benefit of using the premade top, one side is done already). I then made a tube for the elastic by sewing the stretchy fabric in 2” (or just slightly more than the elastic). I then cut the top off the pants. Right under the belt loops (right through the zipper which you should close and discard the pull tab). I then hemmed the pants so I had a finished edge. Nothing fancy (I’m not that good of a sewer!), just a small hem. Then I took my covered elastic and sewed it to the pants. Voila, low rise maternity pants with full elastic! They came out great. I was very proud of myself and I saved $30! Here is what I would have bought at Old Navy.

Friday, August 18, 2006

If it is even neccessary to establish some sense of direction...

With all the people out there blogging about this and that, I'm not sure why my blog needs any direction at all. But alas, I owe it to you the reader (and that may be just you at this point, Michelle) to let you know where I'm going. Thus, giving you a reason to actually come and read my blog.

I've been doing a lot of research into all kinds of interesting things these days. I've discovered the local library and have been reading, reading, reading. I've been told that this is a luxury that will soon to come to an end, being 5 months pregnant and all! So in the past year I have learned a lot about things you all may or may not care about, but I am here to share.

Some topics you can look forward to in the near term are...
-book reviews (mostly pregnancy books thus far, but I've read a couple of main stream books for my book club as well)
-nutrition tips and websites I have found
-cloth diaper info (I'll let you know how that works out after the baby arrives, hopefully as well)
-dog training and baby intergration
-the DVORAK keyboard and why I dumped QWERTY
-my new maid "Rosy"
-why I'm a Jethro Tull fan


and then maybe just some other misc things as I think of them.

Hopefully someone will find this information useful.. and if not.. isn't that the whole point of a blog!

Happy Blogging

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Is there anybody out there...

Just wanted to send out the first post of my blog to see how it all works and what it will look like on the main page. Stay tuned for the real first installment of Stephanie Says... possibly tomorrow... if you're lucky...