Grocery Outlet Finds 7-14-14

grocery outlet 7-14

Here was yesterday’s grocery haul from Grocery Outlet. I love that store.

Pine Nut Hummus (Funny since I just made a HUGE batch a home, but the Pine Nut flavor is hubs favorite.)

All natural Immaculate brand biscuits. These are a treat since they are white flour and also SO spendy in the grocery store.

Almond Milk

Organic Sharp fancy white cheddar

Justin’s Honey Almond butter pouches. (I get these for hubs for fuel while running. They are cheaper than the ones marketed to runners.)

Hair clips

Organic starts for our garden beds

Cascadian Farms Hash Browns

Cascadian Farms Granola Bars

Potato Burger Buns

Kettle Chips

Clif Kid Organic Z Bars

Organic pasta


Pirates Booty

Also, most of these foods are definitely “treats”. The majority of our diet comes from fresh whole foods when possible, but I don’t usually love the produce a Grocery outlet. Grocery Outlet is great for picking up some special things that you might not be able to otherwise afford.

How we ate black beans for almost a week…and LIKED it.

A few days ago I made a HUGE pot of black beans. We ate them for 5ish dinners in a row, still had tons for the freezer, shared meals with friends and family twice, and enjoyed the food. Here is how I made them, and what we ate:

How to make your beans:

(Ingredients are listed in bold so you can easily make a shopping list.)

Spread out hard black beans on a cookie sheet or two. Sort through for rocks (I found 3). Dump them into a large stock pot and cover with plenty of water. I filled the pot about 65% full with beans. Add a splash of vinegar (any type) and let soak overnight (or all day). After soaking drain off the water, rinse, and then cover with water again. Cook on the stove for a few hours with a few cloves of garlic (not bulbs), salt, some dried onion/fresh diced onion/ or onion soup mix, and some chilli powder (1-2 teaspoons). I like to give them enough flavor to be yummy, but not a ton so that they are mild enough to work in different types of dishes.  Cook them until they are soft and tender, but not total mush. You want them to still stay relatively whole so that your dishes will have texture. Let them cool, and then put them in the fridge. If it looks like WAY more than your family will eat in the next few days portion them out and freeze them for future dishes. You can also blend them up a bit for something more like re-fried beans.

Meal 1) Beans and Rice Bowl

Put a few large spoonfuls of black beans over some yummy rice. For white we love the organic basmatti from Trader Joe’s. For brown we like organic jasmine from Azure Standard, or the sprouted brown rice from Azure Standard. We use a rice cooker, but you can make it without one as long as you make sure your rice is not over or under cooked.  Add some shredded cheese (we like sharp cheddar) and veggies of choice. If you have any ground beef or ham left over it would be great in it, but these beans have lots of protein and can totally stand alone to make a yummy dinner.

Meal 2) Bean and Cheese Burritos

Use a slotted spoon to scoop out just the beans from the container and warm on stove. Put in a warm tortilla (for organic we get them at Natural Grocers, or Grocery Outlet is a good source for non-organic tortillas). Add cheese, salsa, and whatever else you have in your fridge.

Meal 3) Nachos

We warmed up some beans on the stove and added in some sharp cheddar cheese to make them a bit creamier. You could also in some salsa to make them zesty. We then spread out organic tortilla chips (we used blue corn for fun) on our Silpat mat on top of a cookie sheet and and melted cheese over them in the oven. Next, we spooned beans on top along with other toppings and they were so good. None of us were missing the meat and were satisfied.

Meal 4) Enchiladas

I rolled up beans and and a bit of sour cream into tortillas. Next I mixed Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce with a bit of milk and some Trader Joe’s onion soup mix and poured over the top. Last I sprinkled some grated Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese over the top. We sometimes also add in some high quality shredded beef cooked in the Crock Pot. Watch for mark-downs and then stock your freezer!

Along with some fruit and veggies as sides you will be good to go for at least 5 dinners with only having leftovers once. Fruits that are good prices right now are grapes, peaches, and berries (step away from the apples). Also, if your budget is really tight and you have frozen veggies stashed away, use them! They can be virtually as healthy as fresh if you cook them lightly (not using too much water). P.S. Costco also has HUGE bags of frozen organic veggies for cheap.

While we prefer to have a bit more variety, we were well fed and enjoyed saving money. Most of all this mom loved having meals that were easy to whip up each night! Now, excuse me while I go order another 25lb bag of black beans.

TIP-If your hubby is not into meatless dishes cook up a bit of ground beef at the beginning of the week. Then, you can add it to his dishes throughout the week.





Current Natural and Organic Grocery Deal Round-up

There were enough good grocery deals right now that I thought I would make a little list. Here are a few deals for my local peeps.


Beeler’s Bacon. Nitrate free and yummy flavors. $3.99 (So good we went back for more for the freezer).

Organic Apples (Fuji I believe) for 99 cents/lb. Produce prices seem to change randomly based on availability. Jump on this sooner than later. About as good of a price as you will see in stores.

Helios Kefir $3.49 (I got coconut, but I am guessing that the regular was also this price.)


Natural Grocers

Organic Naval Oranges $1.39 per/lb.

Organic Yellow Onions 89 cents per/lb. (Great price)

Annie’s Mac and Cheese $1.49 and up

Cascadian Farms 10oz frozen Organic Berries. (Rasp, Straw, Blue, Mix, etc) $2.59. (Stock up price. Good through mid Dec.)

Terra Sweet Potato Chips (and more varieties). $2.25

Yogi Tea $2.79 (M’s new favorite thing is making tea.)

They also had quite a few marked down whole chickens if you are heading out today.

Lastly, super excited to find the best price I have seen on Synergy Kombucha drinks. $2.65

(Nothing too hot at Fred Meyer for organic/natural. Bob’s flour packs, Tillamook Ice Cream, and a sale on bulk spices might be worth checking out.)

Hope this helps!





Our Suppliment and Vitamin Routine

(Images and photos are not working currently. I will try to add them again soon.)

Lately, I have had a few friends ask what supplements we use at our house.  I will start out by saying that I am NOT an expert.  I am just a mama who has done quite a bit of research, and have some smart friends who have helped me along the way.

We believe that good nutrition, and a diet full of healthy (when possible) and (mostly) organic foods.  We also believe in traditional ideas about food and its preparation (check out the book Nourshing Tradations). Food is the foundation to a healthy body and immune system. We are most definitely not perfect. We do the best we can with the budget we are working with and the time we have. Some days we eat well, other days we don’t. You have to find a good groove in these areas. It has taken us years to get to this point and we still have a long ways to go.  By taking gradual steps it really has been so fun and not that hard. You will rarely regret the time you spent making a nourishing meal…or that your hubs spends making a nourishing meal. 🙂

With that being said, there are a few different supplements and vitamins we use at our house.

Here is what we are currently giving the children (and often ourselves too).

1) Probiotics. Most people don’t eat a lot of fermented foods, or good quality cultured foods with probiotics.  Many people eat yogurt, but it is often full of sugar which negates a lot of the benefits, or eats a variety that has few strains of the good stuff in it.  Over time we have also decided to limit our dairy consumption somewhat and this is why we supplement with a good probiotic. Why take probiotics? Because approximately 80% of our immune system is located in our digestive system. Having good gut health and flora is crucial to our health in so many ways. Check out this article for more information.

What to look for- Make sure that the probiotics you are buying in the store are refrigerated. Check to see how many “billion” cells per gram the brand has.  The higher the better. Also, the more strains the better  (lactobacillus casei, bifidobacterium breve, etc)

We use Udo’s Choice Infant’s Probiotics for the children right now. It is in a powder form and can be easily shook on top of something they are eating (like applesauce), or mixed with something like a spoonful of elderberry syrup.

Source-I take Udo’s Adult probiotics (about $15 for 60 count)…hubs is working on it. After he got hit hardest with a cold bug I think he is realizing the value even more. These can be purchased from Vitacost, or your local health food store. If ordering probiotics online make sure that they will be “cold shipped” to preserve the good stuff.

If you or a family member has taken antibiotics recently this will be hugely important for you. Get on a good probiotic as soon as possible with the highest “billion” number you can find. Your local health food store can help you with this.  If you are currently on an antibiotic you can start taking a probiotic, just be sure to not take them at the exact same time.  Take your antibiotic, and then a few hours later take your probiotic. Continue the probiotics after your prescription has ended as well.


2) Vitamin D- This is a biggie for feeling well and preventing the flu. After the twins were born I was feeling VERY run down and quite miserable. I went to a regular doctor and finally an endocrinologist that ran every test under the sun and took 14 viles of blood. What showed up? Nothing but a vitamin D deficiency (I was also suffering from serious lack of sleep that was contributing as well). People who have great vitamin D levels are FAR more likely to fend off the flu. “The risk of children suffering from flu can be reduced by 50% if they take vitamin D, doctors in Japan have found.”Read more from the source HERE.

Source/Dose-We use Genestra Brands or Biotics D-Mulsion 1000 for the whole family (You can purchase any drops, just modify the dose appropriately) . I give a drop or two to the children (1000-2000IU), and hubs and I take about 4-5 drops (4000-5000 IU). We purchase this at Vitacost. (New customers get $10 free to spend and shipping is free after a $49 dollar purchase.)


3) Fish Oil. We take Nordic Naturals Omega-3 fish oil or Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil. We prefer FCLO, but often use Nordic Naturals because is more easily sourced, is a well known brand and they take purity seriously.  When you are consuming fish products you want to make sure that you are being careful about things like mercury and other toxins.  I trust these brands and am willing to pay a bit more for the peace of mind.  We all use the Omega-3/FCLO and just give a smaller dose to the children.

Source-I purchase the Nordic Naturals at Vitacost for the best price 0r at our local health food store if I have a coupon. I purchase the FCLO through Azure Standard (a co-op).

Recently I ran out of the Nordic Naturals Omega-3 for awhile and I eventually noticed a huge difference. My excema flared up, a joint in my foot that hurt before I started taking fish oil started to hurt again after a long time, and my skin got more red and blotchy.  It turned into an interesting experiment I had not planned on doing. It was nice to know that these things actually are helping us.

Dose-Of the Omega-3 I take a teaspoon or more a day and give the kids about 1/2 a teaspoon. For the FCLO we just follow the directions on the bottle.

My naturopath said that omega 9 can be a bit inflammatory, and the omega 3 is the most important one for me to get the highest dose of. That is why I chose this version of fish oil.


4) Elderberry– We LOVE elderberry.  You can purchase it at the health food store, or easily make it a few different ways. We use it mainly for its amazing benefits for the immune system. Check our this post I wrote awhile back with more info on making Elderberry syrup which includes my sources and dose.


We also give the Littles a multi vitamin here and there, vitamin C when needed, things like honey mixed with apple cider vinegar (like Braggs brand), and garlic when it looks like they might be coming down with something.

Other good articles

How to Kick Strep Throat Faster and Better Without Antibiotics

Why You Shouldn’t Get The Flu Shot

 Once again, NOT an expert. Just a mama trying to care for her family.

Our Kindergarten Plan for the Twins

school dry erease

I am always curious to hear about what curriculum and tools other homeschooling families have chosen to use.  Now that there are so many curriculum options, it makes the choice a bit harder. When I was homeschooled as a child there were far fewer choices (although I am sure we all got by just fine).  Don’t let this list overwhelm you. It is really just a small stack of books and workbooks and one weekly activity outside the home. We are still deciding if we will do other classes or activities. This mama likes to keep it simple (especially with a new baby).

I really believe in play-based learning and lots of time for creativity. I don’t anticipate spending hours at the table each day, but pockets of time here and there to stay roughly on pace with our books. If they are not enjoying something, we will take a break from it and try something else for a little while.  I really want to instill a love for learning in the children and they have years ahead of them. These are very important early years.

I shopped around online and eventually made the trip to Exodus Books in the Portland area. I needed to get my hands on the books to compare the different options. I also really wanted the in-person advise from someone who has seen all the curriculum and knows what they are talking about. It was so valuable.  I went home and made my final choices and ordered through their website. They have great shipping rates and you can get an unlimited amount for only $5. The other thing that sold me on buying from them is that they have a huge selection of used books.  I was able to scour the internet for lists of books people loved and then go and look for them used on their site. It is hard to find an online resource for cheap used books where you don’t have to pay to have them shipped individually (which no longer makes them cheap or easy to order).  Also, supporting a local homeschooling family rocks too. I priced all our books at many sites. Some had a couple of them for lower prices, but with higher shipping it was a wash. I also wanted to order everything from one site and support the family that spent time helping me talk through the options.

Here is our plan for the year…

 school roller

We will attend Classical Conversations class again on Tuesdays this year. This will cover a good amount of science, geography, math, english grammar, Bible, timeline, Latin, and fine arts. I will use a tri-fold board with our memory work on it and some songs to help us memorize the new material each week.  We will supplement with a bit of additional Science in the form of casual nature studies and nature notebooking. We will also add in our regular math curriculum and continue to do “Family Worship” times (a family devotion) with Daddy at the end of the day for more Bible.


explode the code

Reading/PhonicsExplode the Code books A, B, and C- We did not get very far through these last year and will continue to use this series. We will move onto books 1, 2, and 3 after we finish these. (Purchased from Exodus Books)

70 Basic Phonograms Cards by Wanda Sanseri– These are pretty similar to the phonics in The Writing Road to Reading, but my book (which kinda overwhelms me anyway) was missing the cards. I am just going to follow the basic instructions and information that comes in the pack of cards to teach the sounds. I am hoping this will be what helps the twins gain the tools to learn to read. So far I really like this basic approach. (Purchased from Exodus Books)


singapore essential math


-Singapore “Essential Math” Kindergarten books A and B- We started these books awhile back after ordering their books for this school year and we are LOVING them. There are a few different versions of Singapore and this one was obviously the one I choose. It was a bit cheaper and I liked the simple format and the fact that I did not have to buy more than the book “A” and “B” to complete the system.   I spent a lot of time choosing a math cirriculm and looked through a good amount of the popular brands.  I felt like this was the “middle ground” between the ones I was interested in.  It is visually interesting, but it black and white which still allows for a lot of creativity. My daughter LOVES to color the pages after finishing the assignment (which helps my more anxious learner get excited). I am so thankful we choose this one. At the rate they seem to be moving through book A we might need to supplement with something else or move onto the first grade books when they finish both K level books. (Purchased from Exodus Books)

life of fred apples

Life of Fred “Apples” –This is a literary approach to math. It is a story you read and learn from. We are excited to try it out, but not ready to use it as a stand-along curriculum as some have said you can do. Daddy is helping us read through this book.  (Purchased from Exodus Books)


a reason for handwriting

Handwriting-A Reason For Handwriting book A- After looking through a few options I choose this for a few reasons. It is visually interesting but not overwhelming. It also follows the same simple style of letter formation that I have been teaching them already (and similar to Explode the Code). It also has them practice and copy Bible verses which I loved. In the back of the book is what they call “Scripture Border Sheets”. They are lined sheets with cute images along the side for the children to color after they write the weekly verse on “Day 5”.  This will give them a nice finished product to be proud of each week. This also happens to be the First Grade level. I preferred it over the Kindergarten for a few reasons and will be challenging, but not over their heads. If we continue this book into their first grade year, I am fine with that.  (Purchased from Exodus Books)


draw write now

Art-Draw Write Now Book One- This teaches drawing in a fun step-by-step way.  We have tried a similar book and the twins loved following along and creating things they would not be able to create on their own in the same way. It also includes some applicable copy work on each page which you could use for a lot of your handwriting practice if your children have already mastered forming all their letters.  (Purchased from Exodus Books)


Other books we will be using:

the nature connection

The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms. (Purchased used from Exodus Books)

pacon primary journal

Pacon brand Primary Journal “Picture Story” (A composition book that is empty on top for a drawing and then has regular and dotted lines on bottom to help young writers.) We will likely use this for our drawing and nature study. (Purchased from Learning Palace)

And also…
Sharing Nature With Children (Purchased used from Exodus Books)
Christian Liberty Nature Reader Book K (Purchased from Exodus Books)
A Hive of Busy Bees (Character development) (Purchased used from Exodus Books)
(I will add to this list as I find and remember more of our books we bought for the year).
Our newly 3 year old really likes to learn along with the bigger kids. She will do a lot of similar thing that I will modify when necessary.  When she gets bored or things are over her head she will be free to go off and play by herself (in the play area, with special toys, with the iPad, or on busy bags).
*Disclosure-If you purchase through the links in this post I may earn a small percentage and you will be helping to support this blog. Thank you!
Hope this helps someone. I am not an expert, but if you have any questions about the choices we made or have any great suggestions I would love to hear them! Comments make my day.



Life in Bullet Points #3


  • Attempting bread baking again. Started a loaf yesterday and exercised real patience to try and soak it for the first time.  My friend Sarah had a recipe that already had the soaking instructions incorporated and I could not help but soak it…although it was a little painful to wait even longer. Currently the dough is rising by the (gas) fireplace and I have high hopes. If it knows what is good for itself it will turn out. -Update-Bread fell a touch, but turned out yummy and with great soft texture.

  • Having one of those weeks where the children seem to need my constant direction, help, and training. Love those sweet ones, but looking forward to a time when they play together more peacefully and moods are a bit more even. Some weeks are good, some are hard. As I type this Little Lady just went in and woke sweet baby up trying to video tape her sleeping. WHAT? Guess we won’t be starting school yet this morning. We will get through and next week will be better. 🙂 But look at them…can you resist that?


  • Loving our new Berkey water filtration system (Royal size). After an unusual number of tragic rare cancer cases of the same type occurred in our area of town, I was feeling a bit helpless. Environmental causes are in the back of some peoples brains. We won’t know for quite some time if a cause is found, but at least I know we are drinking clean water.   On a recent night away Little Lady was drinking bottled water with a pretty label on it from a nice hotel and said, “This is nice, but I wish it was from our FRESH water at home.” Little man has all on his own declared it “Our BEST purchase ever!” I have really not made a huge deal about the filter so it makes me giggle that the tots are so passionate about it. (I also got the fluoride filters to get the fluoride out. To consume or not to consume fluoride should be a personal decision. Not sure why they think they need to make the choice for us and add it to our water supply…rant over.)
  • Saturday we pick up our first Bountiful Basket (we chose the organic option)! Can’t wait to see what is in it. Why do I get so excited about groceries? Seems like I spend a good chunk of time shopping for and feeding this family of mine. I am so thankful that hubs is a great cook and is so good in the kitchen. It really takes some pressure of that he often cooks for us. Love that man.

Life in Bullet Points #2

  • Yesterday I found the twinners cuddling like I have not seen for a LONG time. Melt me now.  I overheard her softly say to him, “I want to cuddle because I love you and it is so cozy.”

  • Yesterday I ordered the mother of all planners. My Erin Condren planner will be shipping “on or near Sept 14th.” I will be watching.

  • Yesterday was a happy mail day. I got another free $10 Kohls gift card (you gotta get on their mailing list), a free Starbucks drink coupon, a $40 Nordstrom Note (thank you double points), a $25 off a $50 purchase from Pottery Barn Kids, and my MuTu DVD to review for my blog (The Essential Foundations of a flatter Post-Baby Tummy)! I am so excited to have something else in my arsenal to help heal my Diastasis.

P.S. Did you know that tons of mamas have a diastasis and that any common exercise where you lift your shoulders off the ground (crunches and situps) make it WORSE….as well as anything with a cross over motion?  If you are a mama (others can suffer as well) and you have a weak core, or your tummy pooches out, your struggle to have good posture, have back pain, have bladder/pelvic floor struggles (tmi alert…luckily I don’t have this symptom), etc. you likely have a diastasis.

A diastasis is a vertical separation in the muscles of the abdominal wall.  Getting on most traditional workout plans will NOT help you heal your diastasis. In fact, it will probably make it worse. You might lost weight for awhile, but your tummy will never get flatter and your will likely be further separating the muscles.  Isn’t that a bad deal!? This is one huge area that the medical and fitness professionals are largely ignoring, or more likely are unaware of.  It is crazy that something that affects so many people is rarely discussed. Here is an awesome video to show you how to check for a diastasis. Here are also some great diastasis blog posts from Fit 2 B Studio (she is local too!).


  • Sunday we hung stuff on the walls that I had been wanting to get up for awhile. It feels so good!


  • Saturday we were blessed with club level tickets to a Duck game. We dressed the tots in all their gear and had a blast…never mind little sister decided not to nap on the way there and was a bit delusional by the end.  But, we got through the entire game melt down free. The children cheered, yelled, danced, ate popcorn, and loved every minute.  So did we. What an awesome family memory. Quote of the game was when Little Man said, “My ears are PLUGGED!!!” Yes, that would be because you are wearing ear plugs. P.S. The orange wax ones worked best of the two types we bought.


How to Make Your Own Elderberry Syrup

One of the supplements we give our children on a regular basis is Elderberry. It is fabulous for immune support.  The stuff is pretty spendy and I wondered if I could make my own.  We were initially paying about $13 for a 1oz bottle, and then started buying the 4oz bottle for a little over $40 when I realized that our store carried it. It would last us a little over a month, but it was worth it.

After going through a couple of the 1oz-ers and one of the 4oz bottles, it was time to jump in and try to make it myself.  I checked at our local health food store (LifeSource) and they did not carry Elderberries in their bulk department, but were happy to order them for me.  About a week later I had my 16 oz bag from Mountain Rose Herbs waiting for me at customer service.  With most regularly priced bulk special orders they give you 20% off. My bag came to $16.80.  After doing some research I decided that I could not find just the right type of recipe so I just looked at some of the ratios they used and then made up my own guess.


Here is the recipe I have used twice now with great success:

1/2 cup of dried Elderberries

2 cups of water

1 generous tablespoon of local raw honey


Odds and Ends Needed:

1 pot and lid

Measuring cups

Cheese cloth or metal strainer with very small holes

Spoon for string

Something to mash with

A bowl

A bottle or container for your finished product



Measure and pour 2 cups of warm water into a saucepan and then add 1/2 cup of the dried elderberries.  Let simmer gently with a lid on for about 25-35 minutes and stir occasionally.  After it is finished cooking use some sort of tool for mashing it up a bit to get the juice from the berries (I used our potato masher that has lots of surface area on the part that mashes). After it has cooled a bit strain through some cheese cloth (works best), or a very fine strainer.  If you use cheese cloth be sure to put a glove on before squeezing out the last of the the juice. Last time I made it I went to an ICAN (c-section support group) meeting at Bella Vie with one very purple hand.

After you strain it out and have it in a bowl stir in a tablespoon of honey (I used local raw) while it is still warm enough to mix in. This will help sweeten it a bit and is also supposed to act as a natural preservative.

The first time I made the recipe I cooked it a bit longer without a lid and ended up with about 7+ ounces. The second time I made it I got 11.5 ounces.  I am guessing my 16oz bag will be enough to make at least 5-6 batches.  Although the potency may not be quite as strong (I have no idea how to actually know), the value is incredible over the store bought Elderberry Syrup/Extract. We have been just as healthy, if not healthier that when we were using the Elderberry from the store.



Condensed directions-Simmer water and berries for 30ish minutes, mash up a bit, strain, add honey while elderberry is still warm, bottle and refrigerate. So simple!

*I give the children about 3/4ths of a tablespoon everyday by spoon or in their supplement mixture and they have no problem taking it.

*If you have a little one too young to have honey yet you can just leave it out. It might be a bit tart, but would still taste good. You could also mix it into something else if you are having trouble getting them to take it from a spoon or syringe.

Hope this is helpful to other families! Anything that saves money and contributes to good health is a “win” in my book.


Wainscoting Project Reveal

Our walls in our eating area were showing serious signs of wear.  The finger slime spots were a bit out of control and the chairs were leaving marks.  We decided that beadboard/wainscoting would be a cute solution.  My dad is a gem and did the bulk of the work.  He went with me to purchase the materials, installed the boards and trim, and helped with some of the staining.  My hubby did lots of painting late Saturday night and early Sunday morning and the best masking job I have ever seen. I chose the materials, look, color, and helped with a bit of the staining (which does not count for much of the actual work). Its a good thing I am surrounded by good men.  My projects would not get far.

We sprang for the packages of real (pine) wood panels that fit together rather than the large sheets of white press board.  The thinking was that the real wood might look more natural and wear better overtime.  The cost difference was only about $20 because we were able to cut the boards in half (from 8 ft. to 4 ft. tall) and did not have any waste.  Either would have probably worked fine and for a larger room we might have went the cheaper route.

We spent about $75 for 6 packages of the wainscoting panels, pine boards to run along the top (not actual trim), and Liquid Nails (glue to mount the boards…along with nailing them).

The paint was another $35.  Ouch! We wanted a low VOC paint and primer in one. We got the Behr brand from Home Depot.  The green was a bit bright (long ugly story) and so we used a glaze to soften it and give it a more antiqued look.  After that my dad put some varathane over the top to seal it and make it more “wipe-able”.

Basic DIY instructions-

1) Choose the type of wainscoting you are going to use and measure and purchase.

2) Measure and cut.

3) Remove outlet and switch covers.

4) Starting at one edge (not corner) start attaching one panel at a time (or sheet). Apply liquid nails with a calking gun and then nail into place (nail gun works the best). Dad used 3 nails in each panel.

5) Measure and cut to accommodate outlets and switches.

6) Finish with trim at top.

7) Calk edges.

8 ) Putty holes you do not like if using natural boards.

9) Mask edges with blue paint tape.

10) Paint a couple coats (and add glaze and/or varathane if you desire).

11) Put outlet and switch plates back on. We chose to replace the plastic ones with wood covers that we could paint to match. We found these at Home Depot.

Project length-1 weekend

Project cost-$105 including basic materials and paint. (This does not include calking, glaze, varathane, or new light/outlet plates.)

It has been a couple weeks since we finished the project and we LOVE it. It really perks up the area and adds a nice custom touch.  I think that it will add interest and continue to be a nice classic element long after we are living here.  The paint color would be very easy to change at any point to accommodate taste preferences.

Are you working on any large or small projects at your house?

Fitness With a New Baby

After all of the excitement of giving birth and the transition of settling in with a new baby has passed, many new moms begin to focus on losing the weight that they gained during pregnancy. Many mothers hope that this process will not be too difficult, while others who may have struggled with weight issues in the past dread trying to lose the pregnancy pounds. Mothers who breastfeed hope that nursing the baby will help them lose weight, but worry that their caloric needs will hamper their weight loss efforts.

Although carefully choosing healthy, nutritious foods is an important part of losing weight after giving birth, exercise is equally important. However, many mothers are sleep deprived and busier than ever. Sometimes this makes trying to find time for a consistent workout seem impossible.

Mothers of newborns should keep in mind these three things when starting an exercise routine in the first few months of a baby’s life.

1. Don’t start too early.

Moms should always wait for the “all clear” from their care provider before beginning an intensive exercise routine. Your doctor or midwife was likely an educator when it came to learning about delivery choices like pain management available, umbilical cord blood banking and circumcision; continue to learn from from them about the best way to transition back to your old body. During the first two weeks of the baby’s life, mothers should take it easy and spend as much time resting as possible. Between the two-week mark and the six-week post-partum exam mothers still need plenty of rest. However, moms may be able to stretch and do a few short walks each week if they have the energy for it.

Every mom is different. Each woman should listen to her own body. If dizziness occurs or anything hurts, mothers should immediately sit down and take it easy for a while. A mother may not have the energy for any form of exercise in the post-partum period and that is perfectly fine. The body goes through major changes in this time and needs plenty of rest to recover from childbirth.

2. Ease back into your routine.

In the final weeks of pregnancy, most women back off on their exercise routines. The growing abdomen, swollen hands and feet, clumsiness, and lack of energy in the last few weeks can make even the most dedicated athletes take a break.

When mothers finally begin to get some energy back in the first few weeks of the baby’s life, sometimes they forget that they should slowly work back up to their previous levels of fitness. It will take some time to get back the strength, flexibility, and stamina that they may have previously enjoyed. New mamas should be patient with their bodies as they begin to work out.

3. Figure out ways to fit it in.

Sometimes care for tiny infants can seem so intensive that mothers can struggle to stick to a consistent fitness regimen. Energy levels may fluctuate greatly. Making exercise a priority can be very hard during this time. Some moms may have better luck if they include the baby in their exercise. If possible, taking a mommy and baby exercise class at a local health club may be just the thing to help a mother get regular exercise. Other moms begin walking with the baby in a stroller or can wear baby in a carrier. Many infants are soothed by the movement and sleep while mom exercises. Mothers may want to break exercise into a couple 15-minute increments and do it several times throughout the day.

The most important thing to remember in the first few weeks of a baby’s life is to focus on priorities. If a mother is barely making things work with the needs of an infant, adding the pressure of an exercise routine will not be helpful. Moms should realize that this phase of a child’s life will pass quickly. In future months as babies get older, they will have more time and energy to work out and get fit.

This article was written and submitted by Katie Moore. Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26.