Headed towards back to the basics living.


One “Tiny” and Wonderful Reason to Give Thanks

Well it’s November! Yay for Thanksgiving! (Yay for the coming Christmas holiday season too!)

And what better way for me to jump back in to the blogging world than to start  the Thanksgiving season with what I am most thankful for this year, my daughter.I must apologize for taking so long to post this announcement of her. If you don’t know me offline then you were probably wondering what in the world happened to me. Well…a newborn baby complicated by an emergency c-section happened. It was all so very whirlwind and unexpected. I went for a doctors appointment on the Monday after my due date expecting to be induced in 3 days. But my midwife became a bit concerned after I said I noticed just a little bit of less movement.

So she hooked me up to the stress monitor-just in case.

Not liking what she saw she sent me to triage across the hospital for monitoring-just in case. Triage hooked me up the monitors.

And they gave me an IV start-just in case.

Then c-section procedures were explained-just in case.

And then…just like that, a decision was made and my daughter was coming into the world. In less than 2 hours from the start of my doctor’s appointment here she was and I was being whirled into recovery with my head still mentally back at triage.  I’ve been living in survival mode and of the moment ever since.

My days are a blur of feedings, sleeping, eating when I get a moment and just trying to pay bills. I have a new found respect for moms everywhere that manage to find time to do fun things. Blogging once a week seems like a huge goal to me, but that’s what I’m aiming for. Don’t get me wrong I have a lot of time to watch TV and read while nursing. But the actual DOING of things, well, I’m still trying to figure out how in the world I’m going to come up with a routine. Any tips you might have a much appreciated-seriously!

"She's a maniac, maniac out on the floor. And she's dancin' like she's never danced before..."

And in case you’re wondering what this little baby girl looks like that has changed my life so much-here she is, Teddi Anne Martinez. She weighed 7.9 and was 20 and 1/4″ long. She’s 5 weeks in this picture. And I just have this feeling that she’s going to be musically inclined. Ask me why sometime…but I warn you..I’m a pretty proud mama and could talk about her for hours and hours…lol.


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Waiting on Baby

September 20th. My baby’s due date. It has come…and gone. And since I’ve been MIA the last few days I’m sure some of you wondered if my little girl finally made her appearance into the world. Nope. She’s still all snuggly and warm in her personal human incubator (i.e. ME). And so  DH and I are here just waiting and trying to keep ourselves busy. Not too exciting really.

Now don’t get me wrong-there are still dishes and clothes to wash and put away. But  there are those moments-the ones where you think ” I need something to do”-after all I thought I would be knee deep in new baby land and made no plans for this week-and yet I’m not motivated to start any sewing or crafty projects. I just know I’m gonna start one and then go into serious labor and not finish it for 6 months. If ever. I’m one of those people that needs energy from a new idea to get projects completed. So….what does one do while waiting for a baby that so obviously is not in a hurry to join the rest of us in the world?

I love the idea of this magnetic fridge calendar. Would have to modify it a bit for my lifestyle. But love the concept.

Well, I have been blog hopping and surfing the web and in the process I’ve came across a few ideas-just little projects mind you-that I’ve  tried out and thought you might be interested in-you know, in case you ever need something to distract yourself and still try and feel productive.


Project: Reusing Glass Jars

Not that this is a new idea to some of you. But I’m a procrastinator when it comes to actually getting those food/product labels off so that the jar actually looks pretty. So I’ve been saving them all up in a cabinet waiting for the perfect time to get them all spruced up. Thursday was that day.

Some tips I picked up:

  • For gummy type labels try holding your glass jar in your lap with a towel and then using your blowdryer to heat up the label and slowly peel the label off. Usually this will get the label off in less than five minutes and in one piece with no sticky residue left behind. So awesome!
  • For the other types of labels-you know the ones that must have been attached with never to be removed, hard as cement glue, try soaking the jar in soapy hot water for 15 minutes  then use a  heavy-duty scrubbing sponge and some serious elbow grease to remove the label. This will take a few minutes I’m not gonna lie but the results are nice.
  • If you still have some sticky residue left after either method, try putting a thick coat of peanut butter over the sticky residue and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then come back with a heavy-duty sponge and scrub away the stickiness. (Kind of the same concept as Goo Gone minus the petroleum-yay!)
  • If you want to take things a step further and really make your jars pretty try following this tutorial from Design*Sponge. Talk about pretty lids-see the picture above!

Project: Super efficient and Organized plastic bag storage

I know plastic bags are so not earth friendly. But no matter how hard I try I still seem to end up with more than I need. And they keep trying to take over my laundry room. So when I ran across this technique for folding them at A Lil Bird Told Me, well, my OCD tendencies came out and I my heart skipped a small beat. Seriously. If you must have some plastic bags why not store them neatly and make them that much more portable. Right??? I mean I’ve already thought of a couple of good uses for them. In my purse/bag so if I make a run to the store but don’t have my reusable shopping bags I at least won’t be using MORE  plastic bags. And then what about the glove compartment as trash bags for the car or as hair covers when it rains and you forget your umbrella. This is crucial for me as I am blessed with super frizzy hair and constantly fight the “I stuck my hand in an electric socket” look. Hehe!

Project:Organize the freezer or fridge, and then since you’re on a roll why not organize your pantry too!

Lately I’ve been making and freezing meals in preparation for the baby girl to arrive-and then just sticking them  in the freezer wherever they fit. A recipe for frost-bitten lasagna if I ever heard of one, but that was my method. So last Thursday after cleaning jars and folding plastic bags I tackled the freezer and fridge. Gave them a good wipe down and then did some serious sorting. Next, I’m off to do the pantry. I was totally inspired by this pantry redo over at House of Smiths. I thought I was organized before I saw this redo.

Not even close.

There’s also a really nice redo over at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia. And check out this slide show of cute pantries from Country Living magazine.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. Hopefully next time I’ll have a sweet little baby girl to show off. She’s going to get here eventually (=


The Nest, Part 3-It’s Finished!

Paper sack door wreath. Total Cost: $3. Oh Dollar Tree, how I love thee!

Aaaaahhhhh! (Sweet sigh of contentment.) I have finished the baby bird’s nest-finally! It seemed that every time I thought I was done-I would find one more little thing to do-and then another! But, I think-this time, it’s really done! Just in time too since I’m due in a little under a week. Not that it actually means something mind you. I haven’t seen any sign that this little girl is planning on making an appearance anytime soon. My only comfort is that my midwife has promised the latest I would give birth would be October 3rd. Sounds far away but at least I know by Christmas I will have a new little one to coo over anyways.So without further ado let me show you around her newly completed nest.

The paper sack wreath is really easy-but really time consuming.  If you like keeping your hands busy while you watch TV then this could be the project for you,, While I love the results, it takes a LONG time to do! Want the full how to? Check out this great tutorial over at Maryjanes and Galoshes.


Desk turned changing table. Makes for tons of storage and lots of longevity!

Any guesses on her name??? Please play fair, if you  already know it  don’t give it away-we’re excited to announce it ourselves (= Want to see how I made the subway art? Click here. Interested in a closeup of her clothes hamper? Go here.

Future nursing station. Books & burpcloths.

Talk about easy nursery decor. The picture frame art is just made scrapbooking supplies and the nesting doll was a gift from my aunt & uncle when they lived in Ukraine. The poetry book is a copy of the book my mom had when I was little-I used to love reading it in junior high.


Crib skirt and pillows sewn from Riley Blake fabric. All of the baby girl’s fitted sheets are organic cotton. Yay for no chemicals!

Isn’t this  hand sewn sock monkey awesome?! He was a gift from my cousin Cher-xoxo!

Fabric Rosettes to embellish a pillow.

Quick & Easy Pillow dress-up made from leftover ribbon from another project.

This rocking chair is one of my favorite pieces. I was rocked to sleep in this by my own mother. Now it’s been repainted by DH and I made some coordinating fabric cushions for it.

The nursing stool. You know how much I love words so of course I had to use some good ol’ mod podge to embellish this nursing stool with flower names.

DH sanded, stripped, painted and slaved over this now beautiful chest of drawers. He did such a great job! Love you honey!


And of course her room would not be complete without SEVERAL butterflies! Does this collage look familiar? I blogged about making one of these after I saw this tutorial.


Well I hope you enjoyed the tour! It seemed like it took forever to do but now I think that might be a good thing because at this point…..all we can do is wait…..


xoxo, Rachel


Weekly Menu Board & Whole Wheat Banana Bread

I’m still continuing with my pre-baby baking and have really been trying to figure out ways to make those first couple of months with a new baby a smooth one. So, I decided to make a Weekly Menu board inspired by this one I saw over at A Girl and a Glue Gun recently. Her version is quite a bit fancier than mine-its really  cute. I was going for simple and effective so I decided to do a week at a time and use dry erase markers on a picture frame. It erases like a dream on glass!   We’ve already started using it. So far so good. It really seems to help me remember to take meat out of the freezer to thaw for the next day and if there is an ingredient that we are wanting to use up we can write down the next meal using that ingredient for the next couple of days.

It’s also useful to use as a baking schedule like I’m doing this week. Today is Whole Wheat Banana Bread day . I use this recipe from I found it a few months ago and haven’t gone back to my old recipe since. I love that it uses whole wheat (Yay for stable blood sugar!) and you can make it even healthier by using unsweetened applesauce in place of the oil and egg whites instead of whole eggs. I haven’t tried the eggs but have had good success using the applesauce instead of the oil last time I made it when I ran out of oil (eek!).

And did you know you can freeze whole bananas in their skins to use later?! It was a tip I read on and tried it this last time when I was going through what I call my “junk phase” of pregnancy. You know Taco Bell, ramen, ice cream, chips. I’ve really tried so hard to keep eating healthy thru my pregnancy but sometimes those cravings have just won out. So anyways, I wasn’t eating my nanners so I just threw them in the freezer skins and all. They thaw enough to use in about 10 -15 minutes. I pull them out whenever I preheat the oven and they are ready to go when I put the recipe together. So easy and a great way to avoid tossing too ripe bananas but you’re not quite ready to use them yet!
Got any unusual baking tips you care to share????


Apple Date Bars

It’s apple season!

Red Delicious, McIntosh, Braeburns, Gala, Granny Smith, and Gold Delicious….mmm! (Kinda makes me wanna make some more subway art!) And I know for some of you it’s also back to school time too. When I wake up in the mornings it’s actually a little cool and I can almost feel Fall in the air. It’s also time for me to start my pre-baby baking. So I figured I would start with these yummy Apple Date Bars. I found the recipe last year at Whole Foods while I was shopping their apple sale. It’s apple-y, cinnamon-y, and oh so tasty! I modified the original recipe by switching to whole wheat flour and baking it in an 8×11 sized pan. So while you can use regular all-purpose flour, I think it tastes WAY better with the whole wheat. It just adds something.

***These babies freeze exceptionally well for up to two months. So I would definitely recommend doubling or even tripling the recipe and getting “your money’s worth” so to speak.


The Goods

  • 5 Tbs. butter (I prefer unsalted)
  • 2/3 C. Brown Sugar
  • 3 Tbs. 2% Milk
  • 3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1-1/3 C. All Purpose Flour (try whole wheat for a little extra flavor)
  • 1/2 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Tsp. Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 Tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/2 C. Walnut Pieces
  • 1/2 C. Dried Dates Pitted and Chopped
  • 1/2 c. Apples peeled and chopped
  • 1 Large Egg

The Grind

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×11 inch pan.
  2. Cream the butter and brown sugar. Mix in the egg and milk. Stir in the apples.
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, mix thoroughly. Stir in the nuts and dates.
  4. Spread dough into greased pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting into 2-inch square bars.

Nutritional Info (based on all-purpose flour, whole wheat would probably help some with this): Total calories 104; Calories from Fat 30; Total Fat 3g; Saturated Fat 0g; Cholesterol 11 mg; Sodium 47 mg; Carbohydrates 18g; Sugar 10 g; Protein 1g.


Subway Art for The Nest

Well, the nest is about 95% complete. I have 2 more small projects and then it will be done! Woohoo! I’ve been so anxious to share some of the things we’ve been working on for it, but it seems that we had so many irons in the fire but none of them we’re 100% ready-until now. So I thought I’d start with one of my favorite projects: subway art. I’ve seen it everywhere in the blog world these days. And I’ve got this crazy obsession with words. It’s a match made in Heaven…or something like that. Someday I’m going to do a whole wall-top to bottom- of words. A quote or Bible verse or something. But for now, here’s my own little version of the fabulous subway art I’ve seen out there.

Did I mention that it’s really pretty easy to do?

  • 1. Start with a piece of wood, whatever size you like or have on hand.
  • 2.Paint the whole thing a solid color, or whatever suits your fancy.
  • 3. Then, find a category or theme that you want to go with. As you can see we went with types of birds to go with the theme in DD’s room. If you want some more ideas, check out this great Subway Art party from a couple of weeks ago over at Tatertots and Jello.
  • 4. Finally, you just have to decide if you want to paint the words on, cut them out with a craft cutter, or purchase the letters from a craft or teacher supply store. Ours was made using a Silhouette Craft Cutter. I considered cutting the words from Vinyl but have been having some trouble getting the vinyl to stick to the paint I’ve been using from Lowe’s. Vinyl only seems to stick really well with an extremely smooth surface. So we went with using scrapbook cardstock and Mod Podge. Is there any project that a little Mod Podge can’t help with? I’m considering carrying a little Trial Size  in my purse-you know, just in case. Just kidding, about that last part, but I sure do love the stuff.

    Anyways, if you’re curious what the rest of the nest turned out like, stay tuned. Pictures and posts are going to come at a faster pace now that it’s ready to go. Now if we could just get DD ready to come out and meet the world as easily as 1,2,3….


    Thoughts on Breastfeeding

    Okay, so I’m coming in just barely under the wire here since August is almost over, but did you know that August is breastfeeding awareness month?


    And I bet you’re thinking I’m going to give you the spill about how great breastfeeding is and all the wonderful benefits of breastfeeding to baby and mom.


    While there ARE many benefits to breastfeeding, I bet you’ve heard them all before like me. I’m currently reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, and it says that about 70% of moms start out trying to breastfeed, so obviously women are aware of how the great potential with breastfeeding is. So no need to go there, IMO.

    I guess the real reason I bring up the whole breastfeeding topic is because I’m going to breastfeed and it’s a topic frequently on my mind these days. Note that I said I’m GOING to breastfeed, not that I’m going to TRY and breastfeed. My midwife pointed that out to me the other day. And just how powerful words are and to be positive and confident.

    Anyways, the whole thing still seems a bit intimidating to me and the authors of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding discuss just how important support networks are to successful outcomes. I realized that in some ways this blog and everyone who reads it have been a great support to me throughout the last few months and I just wanted to say thanks! Thanks for all the love and interest-it’s so great just knowing that we are not alone out there-whether its discussing the environment (I’m a treehugger and proud of it!) or just about ways to save money while still trying to eat healthy and deliciously and not douse ourselves with unnecessary chemicals. Thanks for just being you and sharing of yourselves, your experiences and opinions! My cup runneth over, y’all!

    So on that positive note, I wanted to let you know that if you ARE in the market for nursing supplies, whether for yourself or someone else, Babies R Us has a sale on a bunch of their nursing supplies that runs ‘til the end of August in honor or Breastfeeding awareness month. Yay! I love good deals, don’t you? Sadly, I procrastinated and missed the 20% off sale at Bebe Au Lait organic nursing covers (sigh), but then again, out of necessity and frugality, I did something I probably wouldn’t have otherwise actually done. I made myself a nursing cover. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and then when I missed the great sale at Bebe Au Lait, I decided that I was just going do it. It’s not perfect, but I’m doing my best to get started breastfeeding off to a positive start. Surrounding myself and my baby girl in a beautiful fabric seems like a nice idea.  Here it is….

    For the how-to, I followed this great tutorial over at Prudent Baby.

    Tell me, do you have any tips or thoughts on how to successfully breastfeed? Something that just really made a difference for you in the positive or negative? (Would love to hear, if you’re willing to share I realize it’s personal experience for everyone.) Or maybe just a tip that someone shared with you about mommyhood in general or an experience that you wished everyone knew to save them some trouble…. (yes, I know I’m opening myself up to all kinds of comments but I’m feeling a bit brave today!)

    Love to you all-xoxo!