Friday, September 28, 2012

Week 34 Pregnancy Update

Note: Looks like I am sticking to my bathroom mirror shots that I am sure you've all become accustomed to. Luke and I just haven't been able to get timing right for him to take the photos instead



On my way to my Doctors Appointment (this is a maternity dress I bought from Target on clearance but I like it much better as a shirt)


 

I'm in love with Maxi-Dresses at the moment, although I need a belt to cinch the top or I run the risk of looking like a potato..true story.
Weeks: From the 21/09- 27/09 was week 34 of pregnancy.  I compiled a more detailed shopping list of what we still needed prior to baby arriving, and went about sourcing the best places to purchase said items. I really enjoy having the knowledge from my first pregnancy and knowing what items he wont need straight away and those that he will. We went last week to simply look at some of the products Ive been drooling over online, which makes me feel 100 times better about now purchasing them online.

Bump: I now have to sit miles (I may be exaggerating) away from any type of table/ bench surface as my bump just pokes into it, making it rather uncomfortable to eat breakfast in the morning. Also I am now down to wearing strictly maternity shirts/ pants (with the exception of my $5 Kmart elasticated waist jeans) as my bump has 'dropped' and also rounded itself quite largely within the last 2-3 weeks.


Weight gain:  My current weight is 67.2 kilos, with my pre-pregnancy weight at 52-53 I have put on an average of 14 kilos which my doctor seems really happy about :) Also my tummy is measuring at 35cms which is right on par with where I should be. All in all, in this department, we are doing fine.

Belly Button:  I can officially let you all know, it's now an outtie!! At first I thought it was popping out purely because I had just eaten (which it generally did) but the next morning I woke up still with an outtie so either my food has still not digested days later OR it's finally 'popped'. 

 

Movement:  Lots of movement again this week! I'm not sure if he is turning around but sometimes the movements have been quite uncomfortable, they've certainly come along way from being around the 17 week mark and feeling 'butterfly' movements.

Stretch Marks: I found two little marks on my left hip this week, I have had stretch marks in that area before which are now almost invisible white lines but you can see two little dark pink lines amongst them. Tiny like the size of a thumb nail. As I said to Luke, they are certainly nothing to complain about in the grand scheme of things.

Symptoms: 
Same symptoms as last week, however also a bonus of increased lack of breath which as my Doctor says, is to be expected when your lungs and other organs are now fighting for space with my uterus...yay.... I need to note that I have had to take off my engagement ring, as my left hand (and only my left hand) has been swelling up late at night and making it really uncomfortable to keep the ring on. This didn't happen with Lily, the only swelling I had was the day before I went into labor and my foot (just one) swelled up like a balloon...wasn't a fun time.

Baby Buys: We finalized our layby this week :) so all major furniture has been purchased, and is  now just needing to be delivered. I purchased them through a company called COTS4TOTS, all the reviews I have read have been really positive and once I receive the items I will do my own, honest review of them also.

I also purchased a Delivery Gownie from Due Soon this week, which unlike most sites that didn't ship direct to Australia, this is an Australian site :) and delivery was just $9. I have seen a few reviews on YouTube from overseas on personal delivery gowns (rather than the hospital ones) and they've all said it was a great comfort to have their own gown and it's a nice little pick-me-up.


Image from Due Soon Website


Cravings: I'm going to be boring and say no cravings this week. My appetite has gone down considerably, and I am back to eating regular small meals (how average of me I know). Since the weather is warming up lately, I have been wanting more fruit, but I am from the humid tropics so I have always loved fresh fruit...except Mangoes..I think I'm over Mangoes for 3-4 lifetimes.

Mood: Bit of a grumpy bum (yep, I admit that.) I think I am just at the point where I want to just be holding my son already, and the little gritty sides of needing to go to the bathroom every 3 minutes or just randomly feeling upset are getting rather...old. In saying that I think waking up to use the bathroom 3-4 times a night is life's way of getting me ready for my broken sleep ha!

Highlight of the week: Paying off the layby :) I felt so accomplished ha ha! I wanted to run into the streets and say: YEAH THAT'S RIGHT IT'S ALL PAID! Then avoid seeing the neighbors ever again. Also planning what could be our last shopping trip before baby arrives as a family of 3 has been exciting. We are all ready to meet the baby. Lily is beyond excited to hold ' the little chubba' and wants to teach him to walk (we've informed her she will have to wait a while, but I don't think she's listening)

It's scary to think that next month we could have our little baby :) very exciting times!!

Until Next Time,

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Skinny Budget: Budget Tips #1

I didn't start this blog with the hopes of being rich, nor did I hope to become famous, but I DID start this blog with the intention to connect with other people and to inspire myself onwards, at a time when I am on a Skinny Budget but I still want to do all the things on my life list.

Along the way through paying credit card interest or a car loan (or 2) I have discovered a few ways to budget and as a result cut back costs where necessary. I wanted to start off by sharing a few of the more simpler ways our family cuts these costs and even share with you some of my future goals for us in upcoming posts :)

Tip 1: Home Haircuts.
Yep, I cut our hair. I'm not a qualified professional, nor do I think I am, but my lovable fiance Luke was silly brave enough to ask me 4.5 years ago to cut his hair, and I have done it ever since :) I have maintained Lily's fringe all her life (a whole 3.5 years) and as for myself, I haven't been to a hairdresser for a haircut in around 2 years, I just trim my split ends/ layers myself.  I take my time with each hair cut, Google the heck out of pictures, and most of the time I sit and watch YouTube videos until I feel confident to pick up my scissors and start snipping.



(left) DIY haircut, (right) DIY hair trim..FREE!

This has saved us, just in the last 2 years alone an average of: $1,500 in haircuts (for all 3 of us in total)

Tip 2: Curb the Itunes/Apps Habit.
I didn't even realize I had a 'habit' with Itunes or purchasing Apps on my Iphone, until I was reviewing our bank statement one day and saw a few debits from the Itunes store. I realized then that I was impulsively buying music and not noticing how all those little $2-$3 costs were quickly adding up.

It doesn't have to be an Itunes habit, you may buy coffee everyday, twice a day. At $3.50 (average) a cup, that's $1277.50 a year! Just on that cup of coffee.

Tip 3: Make Luke's Lunch Everyday.
I honestly like doing this. It saves SO much money, you're eating better because of it (obviously depending on what you're putting in that lunch box!) and overall you have more time in your day not queuing for food.

I always do this the night before so in the mornings I am able to have my sleep, knowing that he is all set and ready for that day.

Tip 4: Eat at home 6/7 nights a week.
As a family of 3 (almost 4) eating out is getting costly. I do a menu plan each time before I go grocery shopping to map out the next 7 meals that we are going to have, however there are just those days where we would LOVE some take out. If we get pizza, we always do so on a Tuesday when most companies have the 'Cheap Tuesday' specials. We also tend to go pick up the take away to save on delivery charges.

You can check out my:
Chicken Fried Rice Recipe here
Crunchy Crispy Chicken here
Chicken Schnitzel Recipe here
Banana & Pear Muffins here




Tip 5: SALE Shop!
This doesn't mean we chase sales like paps chase celebrities, what this translates to is we try to shop smart. Know what we need, know what our budget is, know when to walk away. There can be a very fine line between affordability and durability in clothes (especially in kids clothing!) however this doesn't mean you can't find affordable kids/ adults clothing that will last you, you just need to shop around and once again:
- know what you need
- know your budget
- and know when to walk away!


Tip 6: Pay Bills Online.
With online banking, I am able to budget a head of time and therefore pay my bills earlier in order for the money to go through when needed. It also saves me a $2 fee from the majority of companies that now charge you for receiving paper bills. I am able to see my billing/ payment history and set up payment plans that I would usually have to call a company (and then sit on hold for 15-20 minutes waiting on hold) in order to do.

Tip 7: DIY at least 1 task.
My DIY home haircuts could even count as this, but we also clean our own cars to save some money when we can and since I love getting crafty, I like to DIY a lot of my organization tools. You can check out my DIY accessories storage post by clicking here.

Feel Free to comment below if you have any other home budgeting tips you'd like to add :) Next week I will go a little more into detail about what my budget goals are, they may just help you :)

Until Next time,



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What's In My Baby's Hospital Bag

I have seen this type of post on numerous pregnancy/ mummy type blogs/YouTube channels and while it's not every one's cup of tea, I found them very interesting and useful, so I thought I'd put my own up :)

Obviously it depends on where you live and the hospital you are going to, as to what you will need to bring with you. I am taking extras regardless, just so I feel more at ease with being prepared.

 I will be taking 2 bags (both compact in size); this one of course for baby, and one for labor/post-delivery. If you'd like me to do a what's in my hospital bag, just comment below :) 

The Bag:
It's a Babygear Weekender Nursery Bag that I actually purchased 4 years ago when I was pregnant with Lily.  It cost around $80-100 from Big W and while it may not seem as glamorous as some of the other bags out right now, it's the perfect baby bag (IMO) with all its different compartments, easy to clean material and its ability to fold flat down and be stored away :)


The front compartment is perfect for me to stash my:
- keys
- wallet
-Palmer's paw paw ointment
- phone
- and of course snacks


It also features two side (both insulated for bottles) compartments, each with meshing to hold your baby's feeding supplies in place, while keeping them perfectly insulated :)


Here's What's In My Baby's Hospital Bag 

Note: There are 3 items that I am taking that are not shown in this post, these are; 
- nail clippers
- going home outfit, and
- baby blanket (which we will be keeping in his car seat until he arrives)

The Toiletries:
 Curash Wet Wipes
30 Newborn size Huggies Nappies
Sudocrem
Bepanthen Nappy Rash Cream  
Palmer's Cocoa Ointment for Stretch Marks (I will be taking another one in my own bag)


The Basics:
5 Newborn Singlets (0000)
3 Short Sleeve Onesies
2 Terry Coveralls
2 Short Sleeve Rompers
 3 Spit Up Cloths
4 Bibs
2 Cotton Beanies
3pk Mittens
4 pairs of Newborns socks
3x cotton interlock wraps



Even when it's full of all baby's hospital items, its still easy for me to carry :)

Note: I don't get paid to rave about this bag, I just genuinely love it and would recommend it. I should also note this bag did come with a long shoulder strap but between last year and this year moving house and states...I seem to have lost it :(


I hope this was helpful to you or at the very least interesting :) remember if you want to see what I am packing in my hospital bag, just comment below and let me know :)

Until next time,
















Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Chicken Fried Rice: Tasty Tuesday

Last week it was Tasty Thursday with the easy to make Chicken Schnitzel, this week it's Tasty Tuesday with Chicken Fried Rice. A very simple and equally as tasty as it is affordable dish to 'whip' up whether you're at beginner level in the kitchen or heading onto pro.


There are so many variations to this dish, I am going to show you how I do mine and hopefully you love it just as much as my family and I do :)




Here's what you'll need:



Chicken (I am using the left over from our roast :)
1-2 cups of rice (depending on how many people you are cooking for)
2x eggs (again this is a preference)
Milk
Soy Sauce
Worcestershire Sauce
Bacon Pieces

Method:

Whether you are using a rice cooker or just cooking it in a pot, put your rice on to cook now.

While your rice is cooking, dice your chicken meat so that it's around the desired size you would have it on your fork. If you're using bacon pieces, I like to add a little oil to a frying pan and brown them now. Then lower the heat to medium and add your diced chicken pieces.



I like to add at this point my Worcestershire sauce to the meat, just to give it that little bit of kick. I use a few dashes (approx. 2 tablespoons, depending on the quantity of meat.)


Once you are happy that your bacon pieces are cooked (remember the chicken only needs to be warmed up if you are using left overs) it's now time for the egg mixture. Mix 3 tablespoons of milk with your eggs, season with salt and pepper (optional) and whisk gently.


Carefully pushing your bacon pieces and chicken to one side of the pan, add your egg mix and whisk them constantly (as not to stick to the pan) until they are scrambled and fluffy in texture.

Tip: You can always scramble your eggs in a separate pan, but I like to do it all in the one (yay for using less dishes too :)

Now combine the egg mixture with your meat, it may not look very glamorous at this point, but it will taste amazing!

It is also at this point you can add steamed/ fresh/ frozen veggies to your mix. I didn't on this particular time but I would generally add some peas and corn :)


Once your rice has finished cooking, don't be tempted to add it all at once to your meat/eggs. Use a large spoon and slowly add the rice whilst stirring it through the mixture. This will allow you to limit just how much rice to meat there will be.

Once you are happy with the amount of rice used, it's time for the soy sauce :) Remember this is a fairly salty meal, especially with the addition of the bacon, I like to use about 2-3 tablespoons of soy sauce, do a taste test and either add some more or finish up.

At this point, you're ready to plate up. You may notice that I don't fry the rice separate, which a lot of people tend to do in order to get that crunchy fried rice texture. It's just a personal preference, when I eat crunchy rice, I just feel like it's not cooked enough or over cooked, so that's why I leave mine with some moisture.


The great thing about fried rice is that it's not limited to being a side dish. By adding more quantities of the chicken (or any other meat) you can have it as it's own main meal. It's easy to make, quick to do and of course, great if you're on a budget :)

Until Next Time,




















Friday, September 21, 2012

Week 33 Pregnancy Update

Sorry everyone for the no-photo post :( I didn't get any good photos this week so I will be posting some extra ones in Week 34's post x

Weeks: From the 14/09- 20/09 was week 33 of pregnancy.  This week I found a new doctor (as we've just moved states) and I've also been registered with a hospital which is very exciting! It feels like such a HUGE weight has lifted and it's not something I have to fret about getting organized anymore :) YAY!

Bump: Whilst unpacking our bedroom and going through my closet, I really have noticed just how many clothes I have to put away in my 'post-pregnancy' pile now. I have a few trusty singlets that are still long enough at this point to cover my bump, however they are becoming scarce in numbers ha ha


Weight gain:  I'm not sure of my weight this week sadly. My belly is measuring perfectly on track and my weight (as of last week) was also right on track so for that I am really happy :) I really tried to take away what I learnt from pregnancy #1 and apply it to pregnancy #2 such as smaller/frequent meals, and avoiding too much sugar in my snacks, I've noticed if anything my skin has appreciated the extra care :)

Belly Button:  Still hasn't quite 'popped' out. 

Movement:  Tons and tons! Luke and I were watching a movie and all of a sudden baby started kicking into my ribs which started off feeling awkward, but after 10+ kicks I almost cried, it was so uncomfortable :( His movement to me, is a lot stronger than what I felt when pregnant with Lily.

Stretch Marks: Nothing new to report. Still using Cocoa Butter Formula in the Fragrance Free/ Sensitive Skin pump bottle.



Symptoms: 
Braxton Hicks contractions
Heart burn: Not nearly as horrible as last week thank gosh!
Major Baby Brain: Still feeling clumsy and forgetful

Baby Buys: We went out for lunch and checked out one of our local shopping centers, lo and behold we found a Kmart and I found the baby section ha ha. We bought him some cotton baby hats in a 2 pack and a 3 pack of baby mittens (also cotton). I have compiled a list of things I need to buy before he arrives so that I don't stock up on something I already have tons of at home etc. Very handy!

Cravings: I had the most random craving ever this week. I don't drink alcohol at all (even non-pregnant I rarely drink) but I felt like beer and potato wedges. I hate beer, always have, but I felt like some beer and crispy potato wedges ha ha. Apart from that random craving (which NO I didn't drink any beer) I haven't had any others this week.

Mood: Up and down this week. I read that it's normal to feel like your deep in the dumps or high as a kite this week (or both at the same time) with your emotions, and I have been feeling really..off this whole week. I think the whole move, and unpacking etc. has really put my neat/ tidy persona into a spin, add to that my 'nesting' symptom from pregnancy and you have a bit of a moody lady

Highlight of the week:  I'd definitely say it would be having organized a new doctor and being registered at the hospital, I just feel like that's a major list ticker that I don't have to stress about. Especially being so close to my due date now, it was a big thing for me to want to get organized.

Until Next Time,



Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chicken Schnitzel: Tasty Thursday

YUM! I grew up eating Chicken Schnitzel and since it's a super easy an affordable thing to whip up, I thought it belonged on this blog for you all to try :)

Here's what you'll need:

2x large chicken breasts
1x cup of plain flour (optional to season with salt and pepper)
1x egg (whisked) with 1 tbsp of water
2x cups of dry bread crumbs
500 ml Vegetable Oil (you may prefer sunflower, canola etc.)


Method:

Placing the chicken breast on your chopping board, use a sharp knife and slice evenly through the chicken breast to create (obviously depending on the thickness of the breast) 2 or more slices of chicken.



It is preferable for cooking time that the slices of chicken be even in thickness. To achieve this you can use (should you have one) a meat mallet or if you don't have one of these, something that will give you a similar result (I used the back of my potato masher...using the ol' initiative ;)

I then use 2 dinner plates: 1 for plain flour and 1 for bread crumbs, I also use a bowl for the egg mix.








The trick to not having both of your hands covered in crumbs and egg mix is to simply use one hand (audience gasp!) Dip your chicken slice lightly into the flour first, shaking off any excess very gently. 



Next dip the same slice into your egg mixture, again shaking off any excess, before lastly dipping into the bread crumbs. 


Using the hand you haven't been dipping in flour and egg, help sprinkle breadcrumbs into the little crevices of the chicken to make sure it is completely covered.







Do this with all your chicken slices. Then proceed to heat a deep frying pan with oil, and depending on the width of the pan, cook one or two schnitzels at a time. Turning them over, only once you can see the underside has become golden brown.



Whether I am cooking Schnitzel, Battered Fish or Banana Fritters, anything that heavily uses oil in it I prefer to drain before serving. Line a plate with paper towel, in order to drain any excess oil. This can be done before you place the very first slice of Schnitzel into the pan, so you have it all ready for all Schnitzel slices. 




Serving Suggestion:

Schnitzel goes perfectly with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, boiled potatoes and vegetables. However if you're more of a mash potato person or even a pasta lover, feel free to have them as your side choices. 


Very Simple Serving Suggestion :)

Schnitzel is very simple to make, very easy to eat as it's so delicious and very light on the food budget as it's cost effective. There's nothing like left over Schnitzel on a sandwich with some tomato sauce...Yummy!

Let me know in the comments below if you've tried this or are going to :) I'd love any feedback.

Until Next time,




















Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Insta-Week #2

This is technically a day late, but all the same, here's a round up of my Insta-Week

 All dressed for my doctors appointment

6:30 a.m... woken up by a cuddle monster

 My two loves!!

Home made chips with sour cream and tomato sauce..YUMMMM! 
 

 Bathroom selfie of the baby bump..not long to go!

Decided to straighten my hair for a video, have now decided it's gotten so long it needs a trim/ cut!

First time EVER doing online grocery shopping (with to the door delivery) SO much easier! Although I forgot to put a few things on my order...gah! baby brain.


My D.I.Y Accessories Organizer. You can watch the video for it here.

 Starting today I am aiming to take one photo every single day with my Instagram App. If you want to follow me on Instagram you can do so by searching: natasharainbow

Until Next Time,




Tuesday, September 18, 2012

DIY Accessories Organiser

After putting all my groceries away, I was left with about 10x plastic bags and 1x empty egg carton. I reuse the bags so I promptly put them away, however I haven't reused an egg carton since I was in Kindergarten and made a rainbow caterpillar at craft time.

I then remembered I needed a good way of storing my jewellery ever since I discarded my raggedy old jewellery box last year. This is what I came up with:



Things You will need:
1x egg carton
Fabric (I used an old T-Shirt)
Stapler (You can use a glue gun/ double sided tape)
Double Sided Tape
Ribbon (I used 2 types)


Here's what to do:
- Firstly I cut out the amount of fabric I needed to cover the egg carton. Since I used an old shirt for this, I really didn't consider before hand how much material I would need, so if you wanted to purchase material for this particular project, just make sure you have enough for the entire egg carton.

- I then stapled the fabric all the way around the egg carton, I would suggest using durable double sided tape or a glue gun instead (just be careful though) as depending on the type/ colour of your fabric, the staples may show up too much.

- I then went ahead and lined the outside edging of my fabric (that is now stapled to the egg carton) with ribbon to conceal where I had made the cuts to the fabric. This step also allows you to personalize the egg carton further, you don't have to use fabric, it can be wool/ felt etc.

Extra Dazzle:
- I didn't do this step but it wouldn't take much more effort or time to do: Using a needle and thread, why not sew some sequins/ buttons or beads into the middle of each egg holder for a little extra dazzle.

The great thing about using double sided tape for me was that I decided right at the end, I wasn't happy with the placement of the blue ribbon I'd chosen so I simply removed it, and placed it on the outer edging of the carton, just underneath the white ribbon. Remember it's YOUR DIY Project, so make sure YOU are happy with how it looks :)

For the full video and how to, click here.

Remember you can follow my blog (it's free I promise) or subscribe to my YouTube channel (again also free) to keep up with my DIY's and other tips and tricks for a Skinny Budget ;)

Until Next Time










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