Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Schedule

It has been on my mind to write a post regarding our schedule. I don't really know why, but the urge to do so has been nagging on me for a while now and I'm just going to start it. Mind you, this schedule changes as my children have grown and changed and also based on what the Lord is doing in our lives at the time. When it was just three of us and we were more involved with CRU on campus, for instance, bedtime looked more like 9pm and Lydia would wake up closer to 8am to adjust to the college group's late night events. With two kids, life changes, and new sleep routines... well this is where we're at right now and this is what we do to keep things going in a home of  four.

5:30-6:30am- Our day starts. The kids have a tiny breakfast/snack and then Lydia will watch a movie as we prepare our day. The kids only wake up this early because they want to see their daddy off so they are still pretty sleepy and grumpy at this point.(I always thought I'd be the anti-tv type of mom, but I'm more of a limit-tv type of mom now... there really are some great educational tv shows for the kids! Lydia learned a lot of sign language, animal names, songs, and spanish phrases from shows like Baby Einstein and Dora the Explorer! )

8:00am - This is when I've officially had my coffee by, the kids are really awake, and I make a bigger breakfast. As they're eating I try and get the laundry rotated and started, the house and their rooms picked up,  and the vacuuming and sweeping done. It's easier to do all of those things when they are stationary!

I won't give a specific time because it varies day to day, but I make sure to clean up after breakfast, rotate the laundry and put laundry away, play with the kids, and get them dressed and ready for the day.

9:00am/10am -(depending on when he wakes up) Grayson goes down for his first nap. Once he goes down it's a mad dash to spray down and clean the bathroom, put away clothes in my room (it's a pain to do when he's awake!), and pick up whatever needs picking up. If I don't pick up the toys then they just slowly pile up through the day, I get more irritable, the kids actually play with them less, and someone ends up hurt on something. I know it's redundant picking up the same things a couple of times a day, but it works for us and helps everything function better in our day as a whole. Since Graybee is now sleeping, Lydia and I try to have a special 'Lydia only' activity. Usually a craft, or cooking something, or a game. Nothing big, but something to engage her mind so she doesn't get bored. Being stuck in the house most of the winter months leaves her super antsy and she's more likely to be a grouch and get into trouble if 1. she's not getting enough one-on-one attention  2. She doesn't have something to engage her mind or 3. She doesn't get enough physical activity.

11:00/11:30am- Gray wakes up and the kids get a small snack. They play, use their imaginations, pull out toys, push each other in the little stroller, ride bikes....etc. If it's sunny outside we take a walk or play outside. I try to get out of the house anytime it's sunny enough (more like no rain/snow enough because the sun just doesn't want to come out lately!) or we will do our shopping around this time. 

1:30- Lunch time!

2:00pm- Lydia gets her quiet time. She is put into her room and must stay on her bed. She has books that she reads (that read to her). If she's tired then she'll fall asleep, but if not... she'll just read a while. Grayson just putts around playing with me or on his own.

3:00pm- Grayson goes down for his second nap! If Lydia fell asleep then I rush to either finish a project, take a nap, or deep clean something that I otherwise can't do while they're both awake.

4:00pm- start dinner, kids wake up, I give them a tiny snack to hold them over until dad gets home.

5:30/6:30pm- Dinner time

7:00/7:30pm- Bedtime!

Key things I make sure to do every day:
-Start at least one load of laundry in the morning and have it put away by the end of the day and put a new load in before bed in the evening. I often get more than that done, but 1 is my goal. 
- Vacuuming, sweeping, swiffer mopping.... I do it at LEAST once a day. If my floors and tables are clean then food and junk doesn't get stuck to anything else in my house. It's a win win. 
-Dust- I wipe down our furniture in the living and dining rooms every day. I don't have the best vacuum so it gets pretty dusty after everything settles after vacuuming and if you add my black furniture to the equation... well it's a necessity. I feel better after doing it just knowing that we aren't breathing it all in and being that I'm allergic to our puppy it helps keep the dander down.
- spray out puppy's house... She's a pretty clean puppy, but I try to spray out her little house each day.
-Spray vinegar over shower after we're all done showering for the day. I do it anytime after a bath or shower and it keeps the mold and build up away.
-Wash inside of the windows

Weekly chores:
-Washing puppy bedding and changing it out
-deep cleaning: I choose something new each week. If you haven't ever had a 'plan' on cleaning your house there's a lot of great iphone apps to get you started. I used 'Home Routine' and it gave me a routine to keep my house clean that I've continued to use. I don't need the App anymore as it's kind of programmed into my mind now, but it was a great $4.99 spent!

- I try to change out our bedding every other week... sometimes I lag in this area
(I know there's more here, but that fits into the whole choosing something to deep clean different each week!)

- wash the washing machine (I know silly concept right?) 
- write a meal plan for the month and shop accordingly 
- outside of windows (yes I should do this more often, but honestly when do I get the time to go outside without the kids?! I don't have a moniter!)

Organizing... It's been my new kick lately.
If you have an organized home, you have an easy to keep clean, easy to manage home. I've been de-cluttering our home like a crazy woman. I don't know why it took me so long to learn this, but less clothes=less laundry, Less dishes= less dishes, less anything=less work. Monumental huh?! Minimalism. Keeping things simple.. it's the key! Clothes that are just in the closet for 'when nothing else is clean days' got sent away to goodwill. Whatever the kids didn't need or I simply didn't like found a new home and whatever was in the kitchen that I don't use also got sent to goodwill this pretty much happened all over our house. I narrowed down the amount of dishes in the cupboards and placed the left overs into our hutch in the dining room. It's all still accessible for when we have company over, but we've made a commitment not to just grab an extra dish out of there when all the rest are dirty. Less dishes= less dishes to clean so we never get this huge overwhelming pile of dishes to clean. If you know ANYTHING about me then you know I HATE doing the dishes more than anything else. I have since birth. I was born this way. As a kid I legitimately would start gagging just at the thought of touching a dirty food laden dish and although I've gotten better.... I'm still not a fan. I sent off books that I know would never be re-read or shared. Toys that neither of my kids liked were purged and I narrowed down to only what they loved. Everything has a place now in my home and although I still have a trillion plans up my sleeve (thanks for that pinterest!) on how to better organize my home... we're at the best it can be for right now, or until I can afford to put in new shelving and buy the furniture or containers I need. I don't want to ever get to the point of "I need to buy more this and that to fill so I can keep adding more junk to my life", but I do want to have a place for things that we NEED. My craft closet may not be a need, I understand that, but I did narrow down to only the fabric and supplies that I plan on actually using for a project instead of holding onto the 'maybe someday' stuff. 
Anyway... enough about that. You get the idea. Go through each room/space/closet/drawer and narrow down to the things you love, the things you need, and only what you plan on using in the nearest future. Simple is better, less is more. I can tell you now that it has completely changed our life!

Cleaners we use?: Natural is the way to go... for the most part. I'm not a green freak. If I'm honest with myself... It's more about what my kids are breathing in and crawling around that bug me more than taking care of the planet. I can't believe how nice and clean things get with just the same stuff my great grandparents probably used. The whole need for a different cleaner for each part of the house is just a marketing ploy in my opinion! I have started using a vinegar solution for just about everything in my house. It's made by just soaking citrus peels in vinegar. I add 1/4 or less of the vinegar solution to the bottom of my spray container and then just fill it up with water, shake, and go! It cuts through just about anything, smells amazing (not leaving that nasty vinegar scent I hate), doesn't leave a film like a lot of products, and the citrus helps to repel ants! We were having a horrible ant issue recently and after I started using this cleaner.... they just don't want to stick around anymore! Yay!!!  When something is harder to scrub (like in the bathroom... I won't go into details ;), I just make a paste with some baking soda and it'll scrub it right out. I do like to use bleach every now and then, but it's a pretty rare thing. I still love how well resolve cleans my carpet too, but I'm definitely going to try some of the new recipes I've found on pinterest. I could link all of my cleaning recipes on here and go further into detail, but I don't think it's necessary. If you're following me on pinterest then I'm sure you can see what I'm using from my 'Helpful ideas for around the house' board. It's all there.

                                                          Miracle orange vinegar cleaner!!

So I'm sure there's a lot more that I could write on here, but Lydia is in her quiet time early today so that leaves Grayson alone and wanting to play.... so I better get off here :)

*when in list form.. this looks like a lot, but mind you I'm only cleaning for about an hour or two (or less!) a day... and that's counting laundry. When you clean the same rooms daily... it never gets built up grime so it's a quick wiping to clean.
* I clean things dry to get a better clean in less time. (I learned this from pinterest too). that means even drying the whole shower before cleaning it. try it... you'll be amazed. Ever wonder how hotels are cleaned in record amounts of time without a hair left in the bathroom? No water cleaning!

Have any questions about our schedule? Don't have pinterest and want recipes for a cleaner home/links to what works for us? Are you a new mom and want to know what a schedule looks like for your little one? Looking at the task of cleaning your home with no sleep and feeling overwhelmed? I've learned a lot in the last few years and although I'm not perfect (obviously) I have some great resources. Just ask!

Lydia turns three!

It's just another morning in the Balint house... We were all up before the sun and said goodbye to daddy as he headed to work. I offered the kids breakfast until they couldn't eat another bite, cleaned up the house, did some laundry, made myself some breakfast, and then they sat on me and finish off my breakfast too. My cup of coffee is next to me now 2 hours cold, the dog is finally in her kennel after terrorizing the house and kids, Lydia's reading books, and Grayson is down for his first nap. We made it! I always feel like I can sit down and breathe at this point in the day. I'm on the couch looking out the window right now at the beautiful snow. I love the snow, but this time it just feels bittersweet. My legs are antsy for a run... I've been thinking about it constantly. As the stress builds up to our great trek to the last frontier I find myself needing the release. The cold just isn't helping! Just five minutes breathing in the cold outside will drive my sinuses into a brain-freeze-like headache and my joints in my hands start creaking in this strange dull pain. I've tried ear muffs, scarves, multiple hats, gloves, etc, and nothing seems to work well enough to shield me from it... so I'm sitting here staring at it. So beautiful, so untouchable... It's like buttercream frosting. (an analogy that may only work for those of you that are also dairy free). Mmm... now I just want to eat frosting! Well for Lydia's sake I hope we'll get to enjoy this snow and play outside for a little while today, but for my sake I hope the sun comes up, melts it away, heats up our valley, and we can officially enjoy some spring!!! We have just 37 days left until our little family heads to AK and I would really like some beautiful warm spring weather before we go!
So what have we been up to? Well my baby girl turned 3 years old! Can you believe it?! I can't. It all happened way too fast! We had a play date with her best friend, Jack Jack, on her birthday and then we opened a couple special presents from her grandma and grandpa and us later in the day. Jacob took a day off work to spend with us and it was wonderful! Nana threw Lydia a beautiful party the following weekend with all of our family and we all had a great time! Lydia informed her Nana that she wanted a princess Dora tea party with a Pink pink pink princess dora cake and Nana more than delivered! Lydia loved everything about her party and her cake and is still talking about it! Everyone came dressed up for the party and had a great time. Lydia was spoiled with love from all of her grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I'm glad we were able to get some great photos to keep forever! She came home with multiple Dora dolls of different shapes and sizes that she loves, new pretty dress ups, and a big 'two wheeler' that we've gotten to take out a few times already. She has been riding it around the house since it's been too cold and snowy to take out lately. I know when we leave to AK she'll be missing her bike a lot! Well the sun is coming out right now (YAY!) so I better put this girl into her snow clothes and send her out before it melts (yay!) or grayson wakes up and decides he wants out there too (which means I have to go :p). Here's a few photos from the party :)

Auntie Sandy, Grandma Peggy, and Lydia all dressed up!

Lydia and her princess Dora castle cake! She was SO pleased!

Opening her presents!

My beautiful, sweet, amazing little 3 year old girl

Lydia on her new bicycle!

No fear! She just hopped right on and went!

Mom and I dressed up in our fun tea party dresses! The one I'm wearing was my grandma's that my sister wore to her 8th grade graduation! I didn't last too long in it, though. I couldn't lift my arms in those sleeves!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spiced Applesauce Bread: GF, DF, EF

I'm out of eggs, any type of prepared snacks, and there are two little tummies (well three counting me!) in need of a snack! So... I adapted a recipe for Spiced Applesauce Bread to fit our needs! We're a 'clean eating' dinosaur/paleo diet kind of family... with some exceptions! I make just about everything from scratch and try to remove anything unnecessary to our health from the foods I make and rather incorporate healthier ingredients for a well rounded diet! I'm, as most of you know, gluten, dairy, whey, and casein free. I also try to stay clear of unnecessary sugar to keep my joint pain down and my gut in check! I don't like to miss out on yummy things like cookies and bread, though, so sometimes it takes a little creativity! I also don't like to compromise on taste, so if I'm posting it here it's because it's good enough to sneak to friends without them knowing it's 'healthy'! teehee! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did :)


  • 1 1/4 cups applesauce (I used out chunky unsweetend home canned! mmmm! the chunks make it!)
  • 1 cup white sugar (coconut sugar!!)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs (2 tablespoons flax seed meal + 6 tablespoons of water)
  • 3 tablespoons milk (I used soy, but any alternative would work)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used namaste foods 'perfect flour blend' it's gluten, wheat, soy, corn, potato, peanut, tree nut, dairy, sugar free, and casein free and has a great taste for breads)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or cinnamon chips (optional: we opted out since the kids hate nuts in things!)
*I also added 1/2 teaspoon of xanthum gum. It helps hold everything together really well and gives a great consistency to gluten free baked goods.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the applesauce, sugar, oil, 'eggs' and 'milk'; beat well. Sift in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt; stir until smooth. Fold in the pecans (if you want!) Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean.

Friday, March 2, 2012

I'm SEW crazy!

My organizing craze has hit a few walls. I thought I finished all of our rooms... then the kids decided to bump up a size in clothes. Lydia is just starting to head into 4t and Grayson is going into 18m. That means going through the totes, purging, reorganizing, giving away, and placing the keepers back into their designated totes in the attic. They don't normally hit a change in size at the same time so it's a bit overwhelming thinking about it. I'm thankful all of the clothes that are the next size up are already in totes in their closet.... that'll definitely help.
My room is still always needing a lot of attention. I need to get rid of our ginormous dresser that's taking up all of our closet space in a not so helpful way, the side tables that collect random things, and the desk that really is just a giant junk drawer that never gets used. That all can't really happen until I buy furniture better suited for our needs.... so its all on hold.
I started working on the closet in my living room. I think it's going to be a bit of an ongoing project. It's full of random crafty sewing stuff haphazardly stacked all on top of each other in such a way that I feel like i'm losing a game of Jenga whenever I go in there. I've definitely made progress, though, and I hope to eventually build some shelves in there when I'm through. Maybe it'll even get used as a coat closet again!
So... this is where all of my sewing and crafty things are ending up:

It's an old hutch that I found at goodwill and fell in love with! I have hopes of repainting it some wonderful, vibrant, new color eventually. Until then it will get some use!

It's currently stacked super full of fabric, but eventually I will have done so many projects that it'll be dwindled down enough to look a little more like this (my original inspiration!!) :

My only fear was that the space behind the sewing machine wouldn't be big enough for large projects... but I just made a quilt top without any issues and plenty of room to spare! My kitchen table is right in front of the hutch so I use that for all of my cutting and my ironing board is right next to that. It's like an instant sewing room whenever my dining room isn't in use for a meal! The clean up is super easy & I can even sew  something really quick when the kids are awake if I need to! My dining room looks pretty cluttered now, but my heart is too happy to really mind!

Seeing all of the fabrics laid out and so accessible has really inspired me to start sewing again! I've re-found the joy in it that I seem to have lost in all of the work it took to unload an entire closet to find something or to pull out the machine. Now I'm seeing endless projects that I want to do and I really feel like I can do them! It's a wonderful thing! Here's a few things I've made just this past week!

A skirt for Lydia... I made it so that it should fit her until 5t and I left some extra elastic in the band to let it out in the waist if I ever need to.

This is the top of Lydia's quilt I pieced together this week. I think I'll still make another boarder or so around it to make it a true twin size, but I LOVE how it turned out. Every picture I've tried to take makes it look a bit strange and like the colors don't match, but if you saw it in person... it's a whole other story! I just picked up the batting today, the binding is already cut, and I have the back piece all ready to go! 

This is a little crib size quilt I put together a LONG time ago. Back before I understood ANYTHING about quilting. It's horribly pieced together and bunched everywhere because I had to 'fix' so many mistakes. I didn't have the heart to throw it out, though, so I started finishing it up instead. I added some flannel to the back, some polyester batting I had around the house in between, and then I quickly 'stitch in the ditch' quilted it with my machine and quilted some flowers/hearts/stars in the large squares to help it look a little nicer. All I have to do is bind it now and it'll be done! It's not perfect, but I'm still glad I took a chance on keeping it around. It'll make a nice little quilt to take to the park without a care if it gets a stain or two.

I made this little dress for Lydia with some jersey knit fabric I found whilst going through the closet. It was a quick sew, but I found that I hate sewing jersey! My machine thinks it needs to eat it. Not so awesome.
I got the idea from pinterest and just altered the tutorial to fit my needs. Here's the link: 
Dolman style shirt
I went shopping today at Joanns & I let Lydia pick out a few things to sew with. We agreed on some pink pom pom edging for something (I'm thinking a dress!), cupcake shaped buttons that look good enough to eat, and spools and spools of lace trim I found for only $1/each! There was plenty of fabric I was dying to buy, but nothing I felt I couldn't live without. It's hard to buy more fabric when I have so much still waiting to be used at home. I have to be reasonable despite my crazy urge to run out of the store with arms full of lace, taffeta, and sequins! I did justify one purchase of fabric though...Before I had left the house to go to Joann's I was planning on buying some cute swim material to make Lydia's summer suit, but when I got there... they were all solids. Super lame. I guess if we want polka dots and cute vintage inspired prints then we'll be looking online! So no fabric was bought today! phew! I did make some unnecessary purchases if you want to call them that? Lydia left the store with two paint-able bird houses, two 'color your own' wind chimes, and a stack of stickers that we found in the $1 section. I always buy an extra so we can invite a friend. Why not if they're only $1? Such an easy insta-activity for a rainy day play date.
Here's what I did with a little bit of the lace trim we bought today:

It's a little 'puffy' skirt I made out of some yellow gingham. It's lined with muslin, gathered on the sides, and has 4 layers of purple, pink, and white lace on the bottom. It's a tiny bit wonky (it was hard to tell until it was on her), but with a few pins and stitches it will be just right! I was inspired by some cute 'southern bell' dresses I saw online the other day. It's very Easter-y and I hope I can find a little white shirt & dress it up to go with it for the big family Easter egg hunt! 

I'm not sure what I will do next... maybe a dress? I keep walking over to my desk intending on making a dress and always walk away with something different so who knows!

....and last but not least... ME! I took this super long- not so wonderful- never going to be worn- red scarf and tore it apart, sewed it, and made myself an infinity scarf! The striped shirt I found at goodwill, but it's one of those 'petite' style shirts & I'm a long wasted kind of girl... so I altered it to fit before I left the house today. I might as well add that the jeans and belt were also goodwill finds and the cardigan was an upcycle I did a while back too! I'm loving how 'acceptable' it is to be upcycling things now. My wallet is also very thankful :) I'll try to find the tutorial I used for the cardi, but it's really just cut down the middle & stitch!

I should probably apologize that all of my photos are horrible, yellow, and blurry because they were taken with an iphone...but it is just easier to grab than the nikon so you all will have to forgive me!