Wardrobe Refashioning

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There's a new craze out there. Well, new to ME anyway...I've never claimed to be "up" on the latest trends! I'm talking, my friends, about wardrobe refashioning. This is taking clothes you already have, or used clothes you have come across, and repurposing or "redesigning" them. It could be as simple as adding some trim or fabric paint to cover stains on a shirt, or as complex as taking apart a dress, making adjustments to it, and putting it back together to create a whole new look.

I love this idea, because as a large person, not only do I have a lot of clothes hanging around that are too small, but it is also very difficult to find clothing new (even if I had the money for it) that meet my standards. Anything I buy has to be feminine, modest, and not "loud". Modest means dresses or skirts only, nothing tight, no slits, everything covered from the base of the neck to mid-calf, and at least mid-upper-arm, if not longer. Oh yeah, and a 3X. Oh, and no straight styles, as I am very bottom-heavy after four c-sections. Needless to say, a trip to the dressing rooms in a store is not just an exercise in frustration, but enough to send me into a depression!

Wardrobe refashioning is an excellent choice for anyone who likes to recycle, who doesn't have a lot of money for new clothes, or has a lot of "useless" clothing items in their closet. One example I saw was a woman who had a dress she loved, but couldn't fit into. She took the side-seams apart on the lower part of the dress, and sewed in panels of complimentary fabric, and added some trim to the bottom. It looked really good! Another reason I like the idea, is because when I do find something that fits, it often looks very tent-like, especially on top. I don't want something tight, but neither do I want something that makes me look BIGGER than I already am!! Many projects I've seen are merely narrowing the waistline of a shirt so it's not so baggy and frumpy.

If you are interested in learning more about it, check out Wardrobe Refashion '06. You don't have to be an experienced sewer. Some ideas, like the t-shirt dress, are really easy. I don't know how to sew (I've only done one jumper so far, it was kind of funny, lol) but I'm trying to teach myself. I think refashioning what you have is a great way to to it. If it's something you never wear anyway, who cares if you mess it up?

I also think it's a great idea to re-use clothing for its material, buttons, etc. If you donate a stained item to a thrift store, they often throw it out anyway. This is a great way to re-use it, and save money too. Have you ever priced buttons? Yikes! Sewing your own clothes should be cheaper than buying them, but if you pay retail for supplies, it's more expensive. Refashioning is the way to go!

Carrots, Anyone?

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Last weekend I purchased a juicer. The Juiceman Jr. was on sale at Target for $39.99. I also picked up a 25# bag of organic carrots for $17.99 at the local health food store. They called them "juicing" carrots (aka broken or stubby carrots, lol). But they were a great deal.

Now, carrots are supposed to be refrigerated. Okay...what do I do with 25 POUNDS of carrots? I took some gallon ziploc bags and squeezed as many carrots as I could into them. It took 6 and 1/3 gallon size bags. My husband said "you need to juice every day to use these up!" LOL

The upside is: I finally found a way to get my younger son to "eat" carrots...he doesn't like to chew them, he's a lazy chewer! At least I can get in the nutrition of the carrots--I'm not worried about the fiber, they get plenty of fiber. The downside to carrot juice is that it stains, you have to be careful...oh, and the juicer makes a somewhat pulpy juice, so it can't be used in a sippy cup. Staining juice + sippy cup without the seal + one destructive kid = a disaster! Well, we haven't had one yet, because I sit with him while he drinks it. But I DO have four children, so the chances of me getting distracted and him pouring it everywhere is probably pretty high!

Meanwhile, I need to use up these carrots. Hmmm....carrot soup? Carrot cake? Carrots, anyone?

Vision Forum Contest at Life in a Shoe!

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Vision Forum is sponsoring a contest in connection with Life in a Shoe blog, for two prize packages of Vision Forum materials worth $700, plus a drawing for a couple of smaller prizes. Check it out. What homeschoolers couldn't use some free stuff from Vision Forum! I haven't gotten any Vision Forum stuff yet myself, as I just started homeschooling YESTERDAY, but I've seen some cool stuff there. They have a lot of things great for the whole family, not just for homeschooling. Check it out!

The Master Cleanse

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In my online browsing, I came upon something very interesting last week. It is called The Master Cleanse, also known as the lemonade diet. It's not really a diet, it is a cleanse, which is something you do that is meant to cleanse your system of toxins and impurities. There are different cleanses, done in different ways. Kevin Trudeau's book recommends several cleanses, especially if you need to lose weight. He mentions a colon cleanse, a liver/gallbladder cleanse, a Candida cleanse (I KNOW I need to do one of those), and a general cleanse. The Master Cleanse is the ultimate cleanse, it cleanses your whole body.

In a nutshell, you drink a lemonade mix that you make at home for at least ten days. Some people go 30-40 days, but it seems like they usually do that the second time around. During this time, you eat nothing. The lemonade mix is supposed to keep you from being hungry and give you the energy you need. You also do "salt water flushes" to help...um..."flush" you out, if you know what I mean. They also recommend senna tea, like the "Smoothe Move" brand, to help you along.

I've heard of juice fasting before, but not cleansing. I NEVER would have considered this before (heck, I can't even stay on a diet) until after I read the online journals of people who have done it. If done properly, they say you aren't hungry at all, and after a few days, you feel great, full of energy. The first few days, you are getting adjusted, and the worst of the toxins are working themselves out of your body. After day 3, your energy is supposed to kick in, and you feel alert and better than ever.

There are some "side-effects". Your tongue turns white, your breath isn't as fresh, and you might be cranky at first. You won't be hungry (as long as you keep drinking the lemonade), although you may have dreams about food, or dream you broke the fast, and you wake up upset. Usually you lose some weight, but not everyone. Some people lose a lot. It seems that the average I've been hearing on a ten day cleanse is 10-14 pounds. The most I've heard of so far is 61 pounds on a 34 day (so far) cleanse, and I think this guy was pretty overweight. Some people, in an effort to keep losing weight, continue to drink the lemonade after the fast, during the day, then eat a healthy meal at night. Kind of like a Slim-Fast diet without all the chemicals. Probably works better too, since the lemonade mix is supposed to help keep you from being hungry.

The ingredients for the drink are:

freshly-squeezed organic lemon juice
pure water
organic, formaldehyde-free, grade B maple syrup
cayenne pepper

The maple syrup add necessary nutrients and sweetness, the cayenne helps things "move along" inside you, and the lemon juice has many amazing properties. Helps keep hunger down, has excellent enzymes, helps break things up inside, etc. I was amazed when I found out all the benefits of lemon juice.

Here are more links for information:

The recipe
An online journal of one person's experience
A site with great info (same as link at beginning of post), cheapest source I've found for maple syrup
Another site to buy ingredients, get info
The Master Cleanse by Stanley Burroughs, if you're too cheap to buy the book
A juicer comparison chart, compares some brands, very informational, read it before you go running out and buying a juicer

I've heard wonderful things about how you feel after doing this cleanse. People who do them often repeat it a few times a year. A lot of people have reported having some medical conditions go away during the cleanse, and some smokers have been able to break their habit during it. It seems to "reset" the body. One young woman whose journal I read had a bad case of gout, and it was gone by the time she ended the cleanse.

Like I said, I normally wouldn't consider even thinking about this, normally. But I've done a great deal of research on it, and I am excited to try it. The bad thing is I'm home all day with my refrigerator, and I have a family to feed. I'd like my husband to do it, but there's one problem...this lemonade diet is EXPENSIVE!! I figured out that with all the supplies, it will probably cost $100-110 for only ten days on the Master Cleanse, and that's not including a juicer. You need a juicer, you get only half the juice if you do it by hand, and the most expensive part is the organic lemons. I figured almost $70 for the lemons, $28 plus shipping for the maple syrup, I have organic cayenne already, another $4-5 for jugs of purified water, and another $4-5 for the tea. The juicer, if I can't find one used, will be around $50...I plan on buying the Juiceman Jr. There are a few cheaper ones around at Target or Kmart, but I don't trust the brand names for those.

I'd love a Champion, because it's a masticating juicer, and it makes higher quality juice with less oxidation. BUT it's $230!

So I'll just be settling for a Juiceman Jr. It's only $50 at Target, and as a centrifugal juicer, it makes more juice.


I'm still trying to figure out if we can afford for me to do the cleanse. Unfortunately, being impulsive, I went out and bought two days' worth of lemons already. I'm such an idiot. Buy the lemons...THEN calculate the cost! Duh. But at some point I will do it, because I think it would be a great, healthy experience.

If you think about doing The Master Cleanse, first research it online, then buy and read the books. Everyone says you NEED to read the books. There is a yahoo group dedicated to the cleanse, but they ask you to read the book before asking questions.

If you're not interested in cleansing, look into juicing. I've been hearing great things about it, how energetic fresh juice makes you feel. The grocery store juices are "dead"...little vitamins, no enzymes, etc. I thought it would be too expensive, but there are options. My health food store carries organic "juicing" carrots, $18 for 25#. Pretty good price for organic. And many health food stores offer discounts when you buy in bulk.

Good luck, happy juicing!

Natural Cures book

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Lately I've been reading a really good book. It's called "More Natural 'Cures' Revealed" by Kevin Trudeau. It is meant as a sequel to his earlier book, "Natural Cures 'They' Don't Want You To Know About." I had his first book for a while. I read it and it was interesting, but didn't seem to have that many cures. Mostly it said to go to his website for more information. Of course, the website was members-only, and charged a monthly fee. I kind of blew it off after that. Then I checked out his second book after seeing the new infomercial (I admit it, I love infomercials, even the silly ones, I don't know why, but I do). The new one was really interesting. He names more specific products in his book. I think the problem with the first one was I just skimmed it, and missed a lot. They're meant to be read front to back.

When I went through the first book again, I realized there is a lot of good information in it, especially on weight loss. Some of it is stuff I've heard about before, some is new (to me). "More Natural 'Cures'Revealed" is good, but there are a few chapters of goofiness you have to wade through. For some reason he goes on and on about how he was in a "secret society" that controls the world, and even got to see the "aliens" at area 51. Seriously.

Now, I actually am a bit of a "conspiracy-theory" believer myself. But while I believe there are some conspiracies out there, I'm just not buying Kevin Trudeau as part of it. Mostly because his story isn't believable.

In fact, he loses a lot of credibility because of that, in my opinion. His point is to show you how bad Big Pharmaceuticals is, and how the FTC is out to get him. I think he realized that his last book talking about "them" really drew a crowd of buyers that were big into conspiracy theories, and so he thought it would sell more books if he put more of that stuff in there. And even if it were true, the first few chapters of the silly stuff is just going to turn off anyone not heavily into conspiracies, and make him lose credibility.

Aside from the secret society stuff, it's a good book with a lot of really good information now. And if you go to his website, he now gives a one week trial for free, so you can check out the website first. I haven't done it yet, it's not something we can afford right now (they count n people like me who forget to quit before the free trial is up), but I'd like to someday. I think the free trial was definitely a smart business move. I never buy memberships to websites, because you hear so often about sites that charge, only to find out there is other stuff on the web just like it for free. This way you can try before you buy.

A lot of the cures in his book are things that you can easily find on the web. But there is a lot of stuff that I don't think is commonly heard of. And it's nice to have all the information in just one place. If you buy the book, don't buy it from him or from Amazon. Get it at Sam's Club, it's ten dollars cheaper there. Or from Walmart, where it's slightly more. I think both books are worth the money.

I'll probably post some stuff from his books in the near future. I think everyone should be aware of how our food and environment are being poisoned by the food industry, agribusiness, and the government. (I'm definitely NOT an environmentalist, but I think God put us in charge down here, and we should keep a poison-free food and water supply.) Nothing is pure, as God intended it, anymore. The only way to make ourselves healthier is to avoid the fake stuff and the poisoned stuff, and eat organic food. "Natural Cures 'They' Don't Want You to Know About" and "More Natural Cures Revealed" will give you a lot of information on how to chose the right food and products.

Update on "Getting Back to Basics"

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Thanks to much pleading on the part of Stephanie's blog friends, she has graciously put her archives back up so we can print them out, if desired. Apparently she and her husband have been harassed by some crazy loons who don't like hearing the truth. These people seem to have pretty sad lives, because they have nothing better to do than harass good, honest people just because they don't like what they read on a blog.

**Just a note to the crazies out there...if you don't like someone's blog, there's a little thing called a "back" button. Use it. And if you just CAN'T, then go see a psychologist and figure out WHY you need to victimize someone just because they make use of free speech. You expect us to put up with your disgusting sites about s*x and all kinds of filth, but you can't take reading a post about wifely submission? It's America people. You want censorship, take a plane to China!

Better yet...get right with God, and learn how to love. Because you don't know how to love anyone, including yourself, if you have to spew hate to make yourself feel better. There's a lot of people whose blogs make my blood boil. When I stumble upon them, I leave, never to return. I just have too much to do, too much self-respect, and too much love for others to be wasting my time attacking people over different viewpoints. Being hurt in your life doesn't give you the right to hurt others.**


It's not easy to love liberals, but I sure do try! ;-)

Anyway, back to the program...I suggest all of you RUN (figuratively) over to Getting Back to Basics and copy or print out any posts you like, before they're gone. I love almost all of them, but my personal favorites are her posts on cooking/diet, marraige and family, and the ones where she really tells it like it is in the world today (probably what got her into trouble, but who cares--you go girl!).

I really appreciate blogs like hers, because they are so few and far between. Every time I think I've found one, I read further into it, and find some wacky pseudo-liberal ideas buried in there. I love blogs that talk about wifely submission, modesty, homemaking, cooking from scratch, natural living/mothering (without the wacky liberal slant, lol), homeschooling, etc. If anyone knows of other blogs out there like Getting Back to Basics, please leave a link for it!

Stephanie, If You're Reading This...

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NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

I'm just kidding!

For those of you who have visited Stephanie at her blog Getting Back to Basics, I have bad news: it looks like she will not be blogging anymore. I know, I know, I was terribly disappointed too. But I respect and admire her devotion to her family. Keeping up a good blog can take a bit of time (depending on how fast you think and type, lol). Stephanie, maybe you could still post an article or an update once a week...? A couple of times a month...? I'll take what I can get! ;-) Assuming your wonderful husband is agreeable, of course!

Truly, I understand the situation, I'm just selfish. Of all the blogs I visited, hers was my favorite, because her information was so useful and enjoyable to read. She never got full of herself as I've seen many other bloggers do. I learned a lot.

Well, Stephanie, if we don't hear from you anymore, I understand. But please, please, PLEASE leave your blog intact as it is, and don't erase it, because there are so many good things on there for other homemakers to learn from and enjoy! It is a great source of information, even if you don't post anymore. I am trying to take my journey in the same direction you did, in growing as a wife and mother, and your example was such a good one. It was nice to know there was someone out there who started off much like I did, and through prayer and effort of will, made great progress towards becoming a godly wife and mother.

Thanks for the inspiration! Drop by here and leave a comment anytime you like, and let me know how you're doing.

God bless!

Daily Family Schedule

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I've been trying to create a working schedule for myself and the family so I can stick to a routine (for once). I am basing it on a MOTH-type schedule (check out Managers of Their Homes--haven't read it, but gleaned some examples online from other blogs). I've re-done it a few times, and I think I've come up with one that is more realistic than the schedules I've done in the past. I'm always trying to come up with what I SHOULD be doing every day, instead of just what absolutely NEEDS to be done. Since all previous schedules were ridiculously unattainable, they went unused. This time I think it is more useable, so hopefully I can actually start USING it! LOL

I used Microsoft Spreadsheet (didn't like it, but it's all I've got) to create a color coded spreadsheet schedule. Most of the schedule is white, and the important events (meals, naptimes, baby feedings, etc.) are in color, so they stand out. I'll try to post a picture when (if) I get my camera charged up.

There is a column for each family member. Rather than list the schedule for each (especially since the kids' schedules are virtually the same and most of my husband's says WORK) I'll just give you an overview of mine.

7:00 Wake, pray, make bed, weigh myself, take vitamins
7:15 Spiritual reading, check Home Management Binder
7:30 Shower, dress, fix hair and makeup
8:00 Set table, load washing machine, start breakfast
8:15 Wake kids, supervise room tidying and bed making, change diapers
8:30 Breakfast
8:45 Wake/change/feed baby
9:00 Zone cleaning, unload dishwasher from previous night, declutter (5 minutes each)
9:15 Clean up after breakfast, load dishwasher, give kids an activity to work on
10:00 Prepare kids to go outside (with three children all under five, it takes a while)
10:15 Outside time, hang up any laundry if necessary, let dogs out
11:15 Inside, kids help unload dishwasher and "reboot" laundry
11:30 Feed baby, put her down for a nap, make lunch
NOON Lunch, read to the kids after I'm done eating, as they finish, do dinner prep work, if necessary, prepare naptime water cups
12:45 Brush kids' teeth
1:00 Put kids in bed, clean up after lunch, load dishwasher, fold/put away laundry
1:30 Project or take a nap
2:30 Computer time or take a nap
3:00 Wake/change/feed/play with baby
3:45 Make a snack for the kids
4:00 Wake kids, change diapers
4:15 Snack, do dinner preparations, if needed, clean "hot spots", do five minute "room rescue"
4:30 Clean up after snack
4:45 Fix hair and makeup, get exercise clothes/shoes ready
5:00 Watch to greet daddy when he comes home, then go exercise
5:45 Family rosary/feed baby
6:00 Dinner (put baby to sleep when she's ready)
6:45 Brush kids' teeth, put on kids' pajamas (daddy puts them to bed)
7:00 Make daddy's lunch to take to work tomorrow, clean kitchen/dining room, load/run dishwasher
7:30 Empty trash can, lay out family clothes, make morning cups for kids, set table, prepare for tomorrow's breakfast
8:00 Get ready for bed, check all door locks
8:15 Spend time together, talk, read
9:00 Sleep

Now, you'll notice that according to the schedule, I will have ten hours of sleep at night, plus possibly a two hour nap during the day. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! I don't think so. In reality, I'll go to bed with my husband, but probably get back up once he's asleep to work on something, or because I can't sleep. Then I'll go to bed at midnight or later, and get woken up before 7am, tell the boys to stop banging and play quietly in bed because they're up too early (we recently moved them in together, and it's NOT working, they're up much earlier now), and try to go back to sleep...but not actually fall asleep til shortly before the alarm or the boys wake me up at 8 am.

Basically, this is the schedule I am AIMING for. Right now it is nowhere near reality. But if I can do even half what I plan to do in this schedule, my family and my house will be in much better shape than they are now! Wish me luck!