MOMentarily Distracted has MOVED!

I know it’s been almost a YEAR since I posted anything here on WordPress and that’s because I have MOVED my blog to another platform.

Please come find me over at http://www.momentarilydistracted.com!

I’ve been updating that page with lots of yummy recipes, funny stories, parenting tips (like potty training), some AMAZING blogger opportunities, product reviews and GIVEAWAYS and much much MORE!

I can’t wait to see you there!

Ginny (MOMentarily Distracted)

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Being Sick Sucks!

Ok, so do you remember just a few short days ago when I was so excited to have a long weekend with the hubby home? Well, that excitement was short-lived – I’m uber sick. I have a sinus infection that unfortunately moved down into my chest. I’m having trouble breathing and have a croup-like cough if I take too deep of a breath.

Of course this happens on a long weekend when the hubby is home AND the weather is nice!

I have one word for this – BLAH!

I’ll try to post again later if I’m feeling up to it, but for now, I need to rest.

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Dear Uncle Sam #1 (the good)

Dear Uncle Sam,

On days like today, I happen to LIKE you (but just a little bit – don’t go getting an inflated ego, ok?).

Last night, the hubby had 24 hour duty so that means he gets today off of work. Although he will spend most of said “day off” catching up on sleep, I still prefer having him home with us.

Add on to that an upcoming 4-day weekend due to the Presidents’ Day holiday and I’m almost in LOVE (again – ALMOST – don’t get too excited).

So, in thanks for the time I’m getting with my husband this “long weekend”, I’m going to TRY to remember how I am feeling right now the next time you decide to screw us over.

Until then, I remain,

Your humble servant (by marriage),

Me

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Family & Friends

Today I want to give thanks to my family & friends. You each play a very special role in my life. Every day you impact who I am, in a positive way, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

You are there to support me when things are rough. When the Army does things I hate, when I’m extra stressed because the hubby is having a bad day, when the kids are driving me crazy, when I’m terribly homesick or when I’m just feeling down on myself.

But, that’s not all – you are also there in the GOOD times. The births of children, the joys of their “firsts”, you share in hubby’s successes with me (his college classes, his military schools, his promoton boards) and you share in my personal successes.

So, this is my “official” thank you – to each and every one of you – for being there for me through the good, the bad and the ugly moments of my life. I love you all!

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Cloth Diapering – “Doing the Dirty”

Ok, so cloth diapering isn’t quite as simple as disposables – especially when there is POOP involved! But did you know that even the manufacturers of disposable diapers suggest you flush the poop before you throw away the diaper??? I bet you didn’t!!!

So if you want to switch to cloth you have to “decide” how you will handle the inevitable poopie butts. For exclusively breastfed babies it’s simple – their poop is 100% biodegradable and will simply WASH out of the dipes! Pretty neat huh? For older babies there are different methods – you can “plop”, “dunk & swish”, “scrape” or “spray”. I have done all of the above except for spray – someday I will buy a diaper sprayer just to try it out.

They are all pretty much just like they sound. Plop – solid poo just plops off the dipe into the toilet and you flush. Dunk & swish – you dunk the more “sticky poo” dipe in the toilet & swish it around then remove dipe & flush. Scrape is for the “worst of the worst” poo – this is common when you try new foods with infants or if a child is sick. You can have a spatula dedicated to the bathroom (hooked onto the side of the toilet) for scraping the poo off – then you flush. Spray is pretty neat which is why I’m looking forward to trying it out – you buy a “sprayer” which works just like the sprayer on a kitchen sink! You attach it to the water line of the toilet (following the package instructions) then when you need to use it, you turn it on, spray the poo into the toilet & flush. Easy peasy right?

Now I know what you’re thinking – none of the above gets 100% of the poo off the diaper – and you are 100% correct. You still have to wash the rest off. Hot water breaks it down & sterilizes the dipes. Are you grossed out by washing dipes in your washing machine? Do you think it’s disgusting? If I told you I wash mine in the SAME washer I wash my clothes in would you think I am disgusting too?

If you answered YES to any of the above questions, ask yourself the following questions (and answer them HONESTLY):

1. What would/do you do when a potty training child poos in their underwear?  Do you throw them away or WASH them?

2. What would/do you do when a child wearing a disposable diaper has a “blow out”? What about the clothes they were wearing and the ones YOU were wearing when you held them during said “blow out”?  Do you throw them away or WASH them?

3. What about puke? What do you do with the clothing that has gotten thrown up on and those towels you used to clean it up?  Do you throw them away or WASH them? 

4. This one is JUST for the ladies – ever had a HEAVY period? Or one come EARLY and catch you completely UN-prepared? What do you do with your underwear / pants in a situation like that? Do you throw them away or WASH them?

5. This one is for the men (and maybe the ladies who are being REALLY honest) – ever been sick and had the “runs” or run out of toilet paper in a public restroom? What do you do with those “streaky” underwear? Do you throw them away or WASH them?

Most people (those who don’t have a money tree in their yard or a trust fund they can cash in) will answer all of the above questions with “I would WASH them”. So why not wash cloth diapers?

If you ask 100 cloth diapering moms how to wash cloth diapers, you will likely get 100 different responses, but most would say some variation of: cold rinse / hot wash / cold rinse.

NOTE: My washer has 3 load size settings and I do all of the below steps on “Super” because in MY opinion, there is no such thing as “too much” water when washing diapers!

I know you didn’t ask how I do it, but I’m going to tell you anyway! I do a cold rinse too but mine is more of a cold wash (without soap). This cold rinse gets the MAJORITY of the poo/pee out of the dipes and inserts and using cold water saves energy in the long run over doing multiple hot washes.

I then wash in HOT water (before you do this, check the diapers you are using to be sure they can “handle” hot water – you don’t want to ruin the waterproof layer!). In the hot wash I use 1/2 the amount of laundry detergent as a normal load of wash. The hot water will break down the remaining poo and pee in the dipes/inserts.

Although  my washer automatically does a cold rinse following the hot wash, I do a second cold rinse (an actual rinse cycle this time – not another cold wash without soap). This second rinse esures the detergent is all gone from the dipes/inserts.

NOTE: It is very easy to use TOO much soap in the hot wash and that soap, if not rinsed out properly, will stay in the dipes and inserts causing build up. That build up can make your dipes less absorbant and lead to “the stinkies” (if this happens you will smell a VERY strong ammonia odor IMMEDIATELY after your child pees in a dipe). If you get “the stinkies” you will need to strip your diapers – which I will talk about in another post.

After your dipes are all clean, you will sort them out into piles – AIO’s/covers/pockets in one pile, inserts/prefolds in another. If you are like me, you will SNIFF each item before you sort it. Yes, I know how silly that sounds, but there is nothing quite like the smell of CLEAN fluff!

The inserts/prefolds can be dried in the dryer but DO NOT use dryer sheets (they will make a film on the inserts and they will be less absorbant and even REPELL the pee!). If you use wool dryer balls, they will dry twice as fast and fluff up nicely. Anything with waterproof material in it should be hung up on a drying rack or clothes line. If there are any faint poo stains, hang those dipes in the sun (even hanging inside by a window will work. Yes, the stains will “disappear” with just a little sunshine – it’s like MAGIC).

One final note about “doing the dirty” – my own personal secret to minimizing the poo stains on my dipes: buy some microfleece (it is UBER cheap. Just make sure you get MICRO fleece and NOT polar fleece – this is VERY important!), wash it and cut rectangles to fit your dipes. Before you put a dipe on your baby, line it with a rectangle of the micro fleece (this will be the layer closest to the baby’s bottom). The pee will go thru the fleece and into the insert (fleece does not absorb) but the poo will be caught on the fleece rectangle. This makes any of the poo disposal methods much simpler because it’s on a “liner” and not the whole dipe. If the fleece gets stained (which can happen – even if you “sun” it) you can just toss that out instead of “ruining” a dipe!

Congratulations! Now you know how to “Do the Dirty” with your cloth diapers! 🙂

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Operation FLUFF – the intro

So when many people think of cloth diapering, they think of a piece of cloth folded around a baby’s bottom and pinned then covered with plastic pants. Maybe when we were children, that’s how it “worked”, but today there are many kinds of MODERN cloth diapers.

Of course, there are still flats / prefolds that you fold around the baby. But no more PINS (unless you WANT to use them). Now there are cute things called Snappis that hold the folded diaper in place. Then you can use a fashionable cover with a cute design that will either velcro or snap onto the baby! How neat right? But it gets even better!

There are all-in-one diapers that have the cover and absorbant material all sewn together! These work just like a disposable diaper – you just fasten them on with the velcro or snaps and that’s IT! These take longer to dry however because they are thick.

Then you have “hybrid” diapers where you get cloth covers and can use cotton/hemp OR disposable inserts with them. Of course this system, when used with disposable inserts, still has a recurring expense.

Now we get to my favorite kind of cloth diaper – the POCKET. It’s exactly how it sounds. It’s a diaper with a pocket that you stuff with inserts of whatever variety you want – cotton, bamboo, special ones designed JUST for that diaper or even prefolds! I love this kind of diaper because I can toss the inserts into the dryer to dry faster and hang the pocket portion on a drying rack (air drying makes the waterproof material last longer).

I will say I wasn’t sure at all about using cloth diapers, but I was determined to save us even MORE money than I was with using my coupons. Disposable diapers are expensive – there is NO doubt about that – and I don’t think anyone will argue with me on that point. If you want to start cloth diapering, there of course is the up front cost of buying them, but at least there isn’t a recurring expense every week/month to get more (unless you become addicted – hey – it can happen to the best of us).

I have spent approximately $500 on cloth diapers for 2 kids. Ok maybe $600 (shhh don’t tell my husband). But they are worth every penny! On top of being “earth friendly” by reusing cloth instead of tossing diapers in a landfill, they are softer / gentler on my childens’ bottoms! They also come in uber adorable colors and prints! I have gotten MANY compliments on how cute my dipes are! If I had stuck with disposables I would EASILY have spent more than $600 on those in the 7 months since I made the switch (and I’d be spending even more going forward).

My favorite kind of pocket dipes are ONE size – meaning they have multiple adjustments to change the length and width of the diapers to fit any size of baby – from birth to potty training! The diapers in my “stash” can be used on either Junior (22 months old and 34 lbs) or Isabelle (2 1/2 months old and 12 lbs)! Talk about making the diaper bag SIMPLE to pack! I toss in pockets & inserts and just adjust the snaps and stuff the necessary inserts for whichever one needs a diaper while we’re out!

Now that we’ve talked about the goodness of cloth, next up I’ll discuss “Doing the Dirty”!

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It’s the Small Things…

As you may have noticed, I took a few days “off” from blogging. I needed to get some errands and random things around the house done.

During my “down time”, I have been reflecting on the past few months and what a roller coaster they have been. With the stress of re-adjusting to life after deployment, every day seems to be its own mini roller coaster and the last couple of weeks in particular have been mostly downhill.

I found myself focusing so much on the low spots of the roller coaster, that I had forgotten to enjoy the high points when they appeared. It wasn’t until today, when I knew it would be a “Thankful Thursday” blog post I was going to write, that I truly began to think about the high points of the past week.

Junior has been trying to do the sign of the cross when we say prayers before meals. When I see him trying to do that and holding his hands in prayer while I say the words, my heart swells with pride. Isabelle has been smiling and cooing a lot and has many more alert moments during the day. Junior is so good with his little sister – protective of her and helpful with getting things (her binky when she spits it out, a blankey that has fallen to the floor).

Hubby has been stressed a lot with work and the upcoming “downsizing” of the military. He has taken steps to try to avoid being “let go” but only time will tell whether those precautions pan out for us. But even amid that stress, he has had a few bright moments this past week as well. He has been hanging out with another guy from his company and they are starting to become true friends. I am very thankful for this because he has appeared lost ever since we got here to Kentucky. He has been needing that “male bonding” experience to de-stress and I’m sure vent/complain about me & the kids. I’m looking forward to meeting his new “buddy” when we have him over for dinner at some point in the near future.

Speaking of “new friends”, I was able to go to a local coupon swap yesterday where I met some wonderful, like-minded ladies. It was great for me to get out of the house during the day and talk to other “grown ups”. I hope to participate in more local events to meet more people and emerge from my shell.

Finally, tonight was my big heart-warming moment of the week – it happened with Junior when we were eating dinner. Earlier tonight we were at the Post Exchange (for the non-military folks, it’s like a department store on post). Junior had been behaving so well all day and he saw a Lightning McQueen spoon and fork set on the shelf . He pointed to it and asked “Can I have that please?” (which of course came out more like “I ha dat peas?”) With an adorable little smile on his face, and him signing “please”, how could I resist? We let him hold it until we checked out, when it went into the bag until we got home.

Before we set the table, the fork from the set got washed so he could use it at dinner. We said our prayers and started to eat. After a few moments, Junior held up his fork and said “I got a new fork because I said please.” (which came out as “I got new ork cuz I say peas.”) I was nearly in tears with pride! His vocabulary is really growing and he is beginning to understand cause and effect!

Topping off my night was watching hubby setup the Kinect we bought and trying it out with the Elmo “Once Upon A Monster” game! But the best part of him setting it up was him trying over and over again to get the tray to open by saying “XBox Eject Disc” (which made the XBox show search results for “jack disc”). He was relentless, trying “Xbox Open Tray” and other useless commands, which only made me laugh until I cried!

That laughter was much-needed and definitely the perfect ending to a wonderful day!

On that note, I will wish you a good night!

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Couponing 101 – Part 2

In Part 1, we talked about the 1st step in couponing – deciding to do it and plan what to do with the savings.

Now, Part 2 continues with 10 ways to find coupons.

1. BUY SUNDAY NEWSPAPERS!
In general, there are 3 types of inserts that regularly appear – SmartSource, RedPlum and Proctor & Gamble (P&G) – although occasionally there are also other inserts (like General Mills this past weekend). Many weeks of the year there are both SS & RP inserts and P&G comes out the 1st Sunday of each month. Also, on holiday weekends (Memorial Day, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years) there aren’t any inserts at all. Just knowing this will save you money by not buying unnecessary papers!

2. ASK FRIENDS & FAMILY!
Most people like saving money (especially in this economy), but many do not want to be bothered with clipping and organizing coupons let alone planning their shopping trips by searching ads and matching coupons! Ask your family, friends, neighbors, parent groups at school / after-school activities, fellow church-goers, etc for their coupon inserts! If you know the owners or employees of local stores that sell newspapers, you can ask them to save any extra ones for you.

3. COUPON WEBSITES!
There are MANY websites dedicated specifically for coupons! Searching through the 1,000’s of sites that come up when you do a search for “coupons” can be confusing, so here are just a few basic links you can go to each week to find great coupons:

Smart Source
Red Plum
Coupons.com
Coupon Suzy

NOTE: Yes, some of these links have coupons that can also be found in the paper, but you should STILL buy the paper because not ALL newspaper insert coupons can be found online and vice versa.

4. FACEBOOK!
Find your favorite brands’ Facebook pages and “Like” them! Many companies offer coupons just for their Facebook fans.

5. BRAND WEBSITES!
Find the website for your favorite brands as well! Sign up for their newsletter(s)! Companies WANT you to buy their products, so they offer coupons to get you to “try” their items so you will start buying them even when you don’t have a coupon for it!

6. CALL / EMAIL!
If you can’t find coupons on the brand’s Facebook or website, CALL their customer service number! You would be surprised how a simple, pleasant conversation with one of their customer service reps can get you coupons for your favorite things!

NOTE: Calling also goes for ANY item you have an issue with! For example, I recently bought some Ziploc “slider” bags that didn’t function properly (after you moved the “slider” over to close the back, the seal didn’t hold). I called Ziploc and they sent me a coupon for a FREE box of bags to replace the defective box I had purchased along with a few other coupons for money off other boxes of their product!

7. COUPON SWAPS!
Search online (Facebook especially) for couponing groups in your local area! If you can’t find a local group, consider creating one just among your immediate family/friends to swap coupons you may not use! This means you will spend more time clipping ALL the coupons from the Sunday inserts and NOT just the ones you will use yourself. Clip the cat treat coupons even if you don’t have a cat. You might be able to trade them with someone to get coupons for your favorite cereal or shampoo!

8. STORE COUPONS!
Target, Walgreen’s, Publix and many other stores offer coupons. These can generally be paired with manufacturer’s coupons for even greater savings! For example, you might have a store coupon along with a manufacturer’s coupon for a specific brand of toilet paper, you can use them together and increase your savings. Sometimes these store coupons are printable and sometimes you can “load” them onto your discount card from the store’s website. Walgreen’s and other drug stores have a monthly coupon book that they put out in stores at the beginning of each month (these tend to disappear fast).

9. COUPON FAIRIES!
I am a “coupon fairy”. When I have coupons that I haven’t traded that are nearing their expiration date, I like to put them on the shelf with the product they are for in the hope that someone who needs that product can benefit from them. I have also “found” coupons for items on my shopping list from other “coupon fairies”. It’s sort of like the convenience store “give-a-penny, take-a-penny” jar by the register.

NOTE: If you find yourself with coupons that have expired, do NOT throw them away! Did you know that military families living overseas can use coupons up to 6 months after their expiration date? Visit Coupons for Military Overseas on Facebook to be matched with a military family to send your expired coupons to!

10. FREE SAMPLES!
Sign up for free samples! P&G has a quarterly sampler package available from their website. General Mills has a program called Pssst where you can get new products before they come out to “try” them. In many cases, these FREE samples come with coupons for the full size product so, if you like it, you can go buy it in the store!

JUST FOR THE MILITARY!
So, not everyone can shop at the military commissaries, but if you can, you should because there are coupons that are specifically for military stores (BX/PX & Commissaries). Go to the local Commissary on the 1st Saturday of the month to get these special inserts when they hand them out. Sometimes they go fast, but if you don’t get one on “hand out day” that month, go about a week later (half way between paydays) and there should be a nice stack at the entrance.

Now you know where to find them, so go get some & cut them out!

Stay tuned for Part 3, where I will discuss organizing your coupons to easily find the ones you need when planning your shopping!

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Couponing 101 – Part 1

As I was clipping my weekly coupon inserts tonight, I was thinking about the friends that have asked me to “teach” them how to coupon. So, I’ve decided to dedicate a portion of my blog to saving money – and more specifically – using coupons.

This first couponing post will just cover the basics. I’ll delve further into the how to REALLY save significantly later on.

Let me start by saying I am NOT an “extreme” couponer. I do not go to the store expecting to get hundreds of dollars of groceries / household items for FREE. If I can save at least 50% off my bill, I am happy. Of course I’d LOVE to get everything for FREE, but in REAL life stores have line & scan limits on their register computers, limit the number of “like” coupons in a single transaction and do NOT let you clear shelves. Many stores have changed their coupon policies to no longer allow for “overage” (where the coupon is for more than the cost of the item and you would get money “back” to put towards other items in your order).

I guess if you were really “extreme” about couponing (like those people on the TV show), you could plan multiple transactions within the stores coupon policy and register limits, but honestly that would take many hours per week to plan and execute those trips to the store. Do you really want to make couponing a full time job? If you do, then go for it! But, before you decide, PLEASE consider the value of your time! Time that could be spent with your husband, your children, or alone doing something you ENJOY. Personally, I choose to spend just a few hours a week to save an average of 50 to 60% off my bill.

Along with deciding how much time you are going to dedicate to couponing, you need to decide what to do with your “savings”. Many people simply end up spending all of their coupon savings on other shopping or bills each month. My suggestion, especially if you are new to couponing, is to pick a percentage of your “savings” that you will ACTUALLY save! What a novel concept, right? Think of it this way – you are already used to spending a certain amount per week or month on groceries – so that money is already essentially budgeted as “spent”, right? If it won’t be missed, why not take half (or more) of the savings and put it into a savings account for emergencies? For example, if you spend $750 a month on groceries normally and can cut your bill in half by using coupons, that’s a savings of $375 a month. Putting only half of that savings away in an emergency fund will give you $2,250 after just one year! You can then use the other half of your savings to pay off debt (which I highly encourage) or as “fun” money!

So, have you thought about how much time you want to dedicate to couponing and what you are going to do with your “savings”? If so, you have learned the #1 “Secret” to saving money using coupons – START DOING IT! Yes, it is truly THAT simple!

Stay tuned for Part 2, where I’m going to talk about where to find coupons!

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Food & Commercials

So, every woman knows that the 2 most important parts of the Super Bowl (outside of those tight pants on the field) are the food and the commercials! I guess somewhere in there is the half-time show as well, but they only thing I’m going to say about this year’s half-time show was that I LOVE LMFAO so much AND did you see Madonna’s boots? TO DIE FOR!

Ok, now back to the topic(s) at hand. As far as the food went, we (and by “we” I mean mostly hubby with a little bit of my help in between feeding the baby and dealing with an ornery toddler) made some pepperoni dip and kick-butt nachos (consisting of seasoned beef, refried beans, white queso and homemade guacamole)!

Now on to the commercials! I will admit that I was quite disappointed in this year’s batch. There were very few that I enjoyed watching and even fewer that I even want to talk about. So, here are my ‘top 5’ which I considered the ‘only 5’ worth watching.

5. Doritos “Baby Launch”. This one was uber cute and I could totally see one of my children tormenting a younger sibling with a snack/treat!
4. Chevy “Apocalypse”. My hubby and I are big Chevy fans so this one was especially funny for us to watch. It also made me hungry for Twinkies! I have decided that if sh*t does hit the fan at the end of this world, I need to have a lifetime supply of Twinkies to help us survive since you know those things never age! Hubby and I were just reviewing the commercials and were commenting how there wasn’t a Ford commercial during the entire show! I’m not sure if it’s because they don’t survive the Apocalypse or if they couldn’t afFORD it! 😉
3. M&Ms “Naked”. This one literally made me laugh out loud! I love the LMFAO music with lil red dancing!
2. Toyota “Reinvented”. I could do without the Lionel Richie playing blender and the reinvented couches, police officers and DMV, but I am VERY interested in the reinvented baby that doesn’t poop and the reinvented rain that makes you skinny!

And my #1 favorite Super Bowl commercial this year was the THOUGHT-PROVOKING, AMERICAN-PRIDE-INDUCING Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep commercial featuring Clint Eastwood! Talk about being moved and motivated! If you missed out on it during half time (perhaps you were taking a potty break), I HIGHLY recommend finding it online to watch! My favorite line from the end of the clip: “If we can’t find a way, then we’ll make one. All that matters is what’s ahead. It’s half time America and our second half is about to begin.”

I will leave you with those words of wisdom! Good Night!

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