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Charlie Banana…

Being a complete novice at cloth diapering means I can truthfully tell it how it really is… And I really don’t know what all the fuss is about, I’m loving cloth diapering, it’s not rocket science, today with these fancy diapers! I bought 4 cloth all in one cloth diapers, one Bumgenius and a pack of 3 Charlie Banana ones, so far the Charlie Banana ones win hands down, the poppers are so much nicer to use, the pads are soft and wash well and the fit is perfect for my 3 month old baby boy and we have tried them on his 3 year old sister and they fit perfectly too!

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Now I know I only have 4 diapers at the moment to wash but it’s so easy to get into a routine, once the diapers are used I pull them apart, rinse them if they need it then place in a bucket, every other day I spray the stained ones with a stain remover, now I know you are not meant to do this and my plan is to mix up a vinegar and water stain spray, but for now I’ve been using resolve and I only spray them a tiny bit, I place them in my super new washer with a couple of towels to balance out the load, set my machine on delay wash, to be ready for when I get up, I only use the laundry detergent, and I only use a free and clear, safe for the environment detergent, no softener, I set the washer on a long cycle and extra rinse and they come out perfect! I tumble dry the inserts, again no dryer sheets just two dryer blasts to help fluff and separate the load, on a low heat and hang the outer parts out to dry!

Again I know I only have 4 diapers but I don’t understand the problem with stuffing the diapers, so far I have stuffed them as I need them, it doesn’t take long, about as long as opening a disposable! It is true that my little boy needs changing more often, I haven’t taken him out in a cloth diaper just yet, or let him sleep through the night, but I do use them throughout the day when we are at home! My plan is to buy the box of six Charlie Banana diapers and I would like to try to pre-folds and covers, I bought all of my cloth diapers so far from Buy Buy Baby using my 20% off coupon! I tried Babies r us, but their cloth diapers consist of trainer pants and a pack of flat terry diapers old style, a waste of time, Amazon seems like a good place to get all things cloth diapering and from my research there seem to be some good websites out there! Etsy have some cute handmade diapers that I have been looking at, so I have plenty of options for my next purchase, but this is definitely an ongoing project… So far I have reduced my consumption of disposable diapers to half, so I am a little bit greener than I used to be, but cost wise I’m not quite breaking even just yet as I have had the outlay of the diapers to take into consideration, but so far so good… I am loving my little boy in his tiny cloth diapers!

Now onto the subject of disposable diapers, if you are like me and hate the thought of all the chemicals that go into each disposable diaper then the more natural made diapers are the way to go, I have tried babyganics, seventh generation and the Honest Company… I have to say my two favorites are Seventh generation and The Honest Company, but now the Honest Company Diapers just got better, they are now sold in Target and the best thing about Target is that they are $2 cheaper per pack than anywhere else… Yay, this made me very excited! I also like the Honest Company shampoo and body wash, this is sold in Costco, two large bottles are $14, but if you wait a while there is usually a coupon, so I purchased two bottles for $11… A bargain price!

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A blatant plug for Florrie’s Attic on Etsy!

My house is so unorganized at the moment, I hate it, but with my lack of energy all I’ve managed to do is crochet and sleep… Adding to the chaos are so many doctors appointments, it’s just crazy, appointments for iron infusions, appointments with my OB and appointments for ultrasounds, in between my own appointments there has been Florrie’s checkups and vaccinations with the pediatrician… Just madness, but in the last week we have gone from a three car family, with 5 people scrambling to share 2 cars to a very comfortable 5 car family, less taxi’ing around for this tired momma!

On the subject of crochet, I have been concentrating on my Etsy shop and trying to add new products in the hope I can attract some new customers, I would love it if you could help me out and share my shop to others also my Facebook page… I would be very grateful if you could help me out!

Here are some of my new products…

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All of these newborn hats are just $10 each and ready to ship!

I have several new items I am working on, another baby blanket with the crochet edge, I am totally in love with these, they are perfect for the warmer weather of spring and then into summer, I love that they are very different, so with that in mind I am going to make some burp cloths, I love different looks that are not generic like shopping in Target, so I wanted to create an unique look for these… Watch this space!

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This is a newborn baby blanket, made with a very soft shirting fabric, it has a crochet edge… It is $18 ready to ship!

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Inspiration…
I am officially 32 weeks pregnant today, but I will leave you all with a belly shot from 29 weeks!

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Snow Day…

It’s cold and it’s snowing on this Saturday in December, due to children needing our cars today, we have no cars on our drive, so no getting out and about for us today… SNOW DAY! Luckily I planned ahead, my cupboards are stocked with food and I’m prepared for a warm winters day worth of comfort foods… On the menu today for dinner is another flat apple pie and a easy caramel sauce courtesy of the Pioneer woman, a cheesy fondue from Trader Joes and my favorite bread of theirs too, ciabatta together with a wholefoods recipe of pumpkin chili, converted to slowly cook in my crockpot!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for us, not only is Christmas approaching too fast and presents need buying, organizing and then wrapping, my parents have arrived to stay with us, the older boys have all had final exams for this semester and have been working extra long hours due to the festive busy season in retail… Life has been chaotic, busy and just plain exhausting recently! Coughs, colds and sneezes are currently circulating our house, so we have not only had pregnancy doctor visits but doctors appointments to check on the coughs too, thankfully just winter colds, but still not very nice to have… I am not a fan of pumping drugs into my children or myself until I’ve tried more natural remedies, and thankfully my children’s pediatrician agrees with me, so my remedy healthy eating and lots of fluids… Fingers crossed for a germ free Christmas Day!

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Now for a shameless plug for my Etsy Shop Florrie’s Attic, In between all the chaos of the run up to the festive season, I have been crocheting for my shop… Please stop by and take a look Florrie’s Attic on Etsy

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This is a crochet hat and scarf it is made in a size that would fit any 8 to 12 year old girl, it is made in a charcoal gray yarn with a beautiful cream flower attached to the scarf! Although this item is ready to ship it can be made in a variety of colors and in three sizes, toddler, girls and ladies, please message me for details! Also these items can be shipped anywhere again message me for a shipping price!

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Trying to stretch a dollar or two…

This year has certainly been financially difficult for us, we have had several car accidents costing us a lot of money not only with paying the first $1000 but also with insurance rates increasing dramatically. We also had a chimney fire and parts of our roof were damaged with the hurricane that came last year… All in all 2013 has been a little bit of a struggle in many ways… But on the positive side, we still have each other and I firmly believe that positive thoughts breed positive behavior!

With that said with things the way they are at the moment I am all in for trying to save a little bit of money, I particularly love this time of year food wise, you can really make your dollar stretch with hearty, healthy meals, soups and stews are perfect fall money saving meals, lots of root cheaper veggies fill out all those fall meals, last night I made a delicious potato, green bean and chicken soup, served together with a rustic sausage, apple and sage stuffing bake, I estimate the cost to feed a family of 6, and I say 6 as that is how many people ate this dinner was $2.65 per person… Hearty, warming, yummy and very cheap! With this in mind, I am challenging myself to make healthy fall meals for less than $15 a night… Can it be done? Who knows but I am going to try, I love a bargain and I do love a challenge!

Very quick chicken and potato soup… I found this recipe on the whole foods App, I did tweak it a bit, so no link…. I love this app for healthy recipes, I use it a lot!

2/3 packet of frozen hash brown potatoes ( a trick I got from the Pioneer woman, when you just don’t want to peel and grate potatoes or just do not have time)
1 finely chopped onion
1 stick of celery chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons of paprika
4 cups of chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
6 ready cooked chicken tenderloins ( these are another of my short cuts, Costco have a large bag for $14, and are perfect for very quick healthy meals)
2/3 bag of frozen green beans ( the recipe actually said frozen peas and although I love peas my children do not, and as I wanted them to eat it, I changed to something we would all eat)

Place all of the ingredients into the pot, placing your chicken tenderloins on top, cover, bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes, then take off the chicken and chop or shred the meat, place to one side whilst you blend the contents in your pot, add in your green beans, top up with a little bit more water if you think the soup is too thick, bring back to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes then add your shredded chicken and simmer for a further 5 minutes… Time to serve… Delicious!
(Of course this recipe would also work well in your crock pot, I would place all the ingredients as stated in the slow cooker and cook on high for two hours, then follow the instructions for adding shredded chicken and beans but this time together, switch to a low setting and cook for a further hour).

I have always been a fan of repurposing things, I love Antique shops, thrift stores and flea markets, you can find so many hidden treasures… I don’t get to go nearly as much as I would like to these days. There was a time not so long ago when we used to spend Sunday afternoons in a little town called Lewis, near Brighton browsing the antique shops then drinking coffee in the quaint little coffee shops, of course this was when my boys were much younger and we just seemed to have far more time on our hands… Oh how I hunger for those lazy Sundays right now! I really think in this economy many people have turned to making and repurposing things within their homes… In the days of Margaret Thatcher, life became about the money and the possessions you had… Keeping up with the jones’ was the phrase of the day, and for some this is still very much the way things still are… I have never been like that, my style is shabby chic, I don’t care if something is designer and expensive or cheap and second hand… If I like it, that is all that counts! All this is a very fortunate trait , as right now I am very keen on making, creating and repurposing to create things I love for those that I love!

On a side note… Florrie’s Attic has taken a back seat in the last few months, due to the dreadful first trimester sickness, it was as much as I could do to get out of bed and cope with my family let alone think about my beloved Florrie’s Attic… But now 16 weeks later I think I am finally feeling a little bit better and my head is buzzing with all things Florrie’s Attic… First I have to complete some projects I had already started and post them up, then I will be moving on… Look out little boys things will be being added very soon… Some things are just meant to be!

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My shop is now open…come on in and take a look around!

After months of thinking, saying and procrastinating over opening an Etsy online shop, I have finally taken one giant leap for this craft loving mommy and actually opened, announced and advertised my shop, I’ve created a page linked to this blog and another one on Facebook… Florrie’s Attic is now open… It may work, or it may not, who knows but it is officially open selling sun hats at the moment!
Please take a look and see what you think, say hi, or stay a while and browse around, everyone is welcome at Florrie’s Attic

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If you also have time come along and join me at my new Florrie’s Attic facebook page and if you love my page please click like and join me along on my new adventures!

My plan is to follow Gordon Ramsey’s advice, I know he is a chef, but his theory for a menu in a restaurant, is to keep it simple, I am thinking this applies to opening a shop too, a few key products to sell in different designs, simple and fun! I have opened my doors with my beloved sun hats, I love creating them and hope that all though there seems to be a lot of competition out there, my hats will stand out for design and quality among others!

My doors are always open… So come on in!

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Soap box moment…

In this struggling economy we are supposed to feel ‘grateful’ we have our jobs, but the cold, stark reality is that companies are just using it as an excuse to use and abuse their employees… In years gone past loyalty and hard work, commitment and knowledge were all things that were rewarded, but in these times we live in now they are not only disregarded but reasons to take away money and moral from hard working employees… We are no longer people but numbers to gain more and more money in a never ending cycle of greed…

… And this is why I am putting into place my idea of creating my own company on Etsy for my handmade creations… This idea has been around for well over a year now, I don’t want to go back into the working world and be a slave to companies that no longer care about individuals, I want to be my own boss, I am so in love with making handmade items, and I really need a challenge in my life too, that this is so perfect for me to try right now, it may not have a racing start or generate a huge income, but it is something that I can incorporate into my life with my children and give me something to do that isn’t just housework! I have a plan in mind to keep my stock minimal to start with, simple and then just see how it goes… Wish me luck! Watch this space for more details on Florrie’s Attic…

Yesterday I did one of my favorite things visited Jo-Ann’s Fabric store, this one was brand new, sparkly and just so full of everything the avid crafter could think of and more, this is where my idea of my new Etsy company began to emerge again, as I wandered through the aisle upon aisle of colorful fabric and then onto the overstocked yarn department, I knew this was a deep passion in my life that had to be released into the world… I could spend hours just looking at fabrics, I could spend hours choosing yarn for new projects so now it is time to learn, perfect and create… The first one is that scarf I knitted a few weeks ago, I had an idea whilst out shopping with my children, the idea has changed the scarfs identity into a different concept, lets hope it works and it can be my first item for sale!

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