My Mommy Salary

After I had my first spawn and was out of work for maternity leave, I started writing down all the things I had become. I originally planned to go back to work after my leave was up, but life plans changed and we ended moving several states away. As women, we are naturally programmed to feel unsecured when it comes to finances. At least for me, money is the highest on my list for brining about small panics attacks at bill time. So when I found out maternity leave was paid- panic attacks stopped; for a while anyways. But it gave me time to think about all the new jobs I was starting. Chef, banker, taxi driver, tax accountant, nanny, butler, maid, and the list can keep going. I thought I’d be rich if I was actually paid for those jobs that are now collectively called being a parent. And then I thought how awesome it would be for my own personal knowledge to know a salary. Since I wasn’t working I felt less of a adult and less of a contributing member of our family. So to give myself a much needed pat on my back, I researched what my salary would be as all those things. And wouldn’t you know; apparently I’m not the only one needing some self satisfaction. Below is a generalization for most moms.

So here you go- a calculator to figure out what you would make if you actually got paid for all the jobs you do as a parent.

Chocolate minute mug cake

choclate cake mug with blog

Yummy recipe alert!

Who hasn’t had a day where all you want to do is unwind with some chocolate?  Or, maybe share a yummy chocolate treat with that someone special while you watch a movie?  Maybe you get a hankering for some chocolate cake but don’t want to make a whole one because then you will eat a whole one?  Here’s the solution!  A yummy chocolate cake recipe that you make in a coffee mug, in the microwave, with stuff you probably already have!  You’re welcome!


1 coffee mug

4 T. flour (not self-rising)

4 T. sugar

2 T. baking cocoa

1 egg

3 T. milk

3 T. oil

3 T. chocolate chips (optional)

small splash of vanilla

Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well.  Add egg and mix thoroughly.  Pour in milk and oil, mix well.  Add chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla, mix.  Put mug in the microwave and cook on high 3 minutes.  Cake will rise over the mug, don’t be alarmed!  Allow to cool, tip onto plate if desired.  Can serve two if you want to share 🙂


Moleskine Notebook Planner Hack

I need organization in my life; like plants need the sun. It is always void. I am always losing my keys, my wallet, forgetting appointments and I count my kids continuously  On our recent vacation Hubs kept having minor panic attacks thinking we left one behind somewhere. 1…2…Where’s the third?! OF course they were always in the stroller we were pushing; nevertheless no matter how much I try I am always misplacing something. So I am forever on the lookout for a planner that suits all my needs to keep me organized.

I am a great googler. I pride myself on my skills for being able to locate things on the internet. I am great with coming up with the key words to use to search. So I started looking at making my own planner. I was tired of having to wait until the fall for school to start and new planners and products to come out. I would often find in about January the need for a new organizer. But since most planners start in Aug/Sept, I was already a few months into a brand new planner and still paying full price.

There are a few products I will always buy no matter the price. I used to believe that cheap was good and cheap was what I could afford. But after I grew up a little I realized that sometimes quality is better than cheap; and cheap often equals poor quality. And buying something over and over again because the quality would not hold up equals no longer cheap. It’s the little things that make you feel more grown up and in control.

One of the products I will continue to purchase is Moleskine. The quality of the paper and binding lends it for a long lasting use. For this project I choose the Classic Soft Cover 3.5×5.5 size ruled. Its size was small enough to fit in numerous purse sizes, diaper bags and pockets. There are enough pages for a entire year and spare pages for notes and phone numbers.


Classic Soft Cover Ruled 3.5×5.5 Moleskine notebook


Washi tape or another other craft supplies for decorating

Sample Paint Chips

moleskine hack

I took two pages for a month over view. On the left side I listed what holidays (legal and school) there were. This way I could quickly look and see what was coming up. On the right side I took a paint chip from my collection and attached it to the page. I layered a calendar on top and wrote in the days. I kept it very simple and clean for easy and quick reading. And if you haven’t already, I suggest you go to your local home improvement store, or even big box store in their home improvement department, and start stalking up on their FREE paint chip card samples. I always feel so guilty, but I off set the guilt by picking up what I need off my shopping list. These paint chip samples come in handy for a variety of projects and because of the cost I can’t pass them up. And they are so pretty in  my clear acrylic storage box; like a bucket of rainbows in my craft room.

For the weeks I divided each week between two facing pages. There are 23 lines for writing so I broke each day into 7 lines and three days per page.Start two lines down and draw a line for Monday,(7 lines down) Tuesday and (7 lines down ) Wednesday on the left side. Count down two lines again and list Thursday and (7 lines down) Friday on the right side; for the weekend, I took the remaining slot across from Wednesday and split it into two sections for Saturday and Sunday.

inside of Moleskine hack

Once I got all my months and weeks straightened out, I went back and started making tabs on my “months” in order for easy location when I was trying to make a appointment.

Done and Done. only took a few days because with Hubs being gone and alone with three kids I don’t have much leisure time. And when I do; I like to shower.

My “Bible” – Erin Condren Planners

I admit, and it is probably no surprise to some with similar personalities, I have a slight obsession with office supplies and journals. I have a million ideas buzzing around my head at a given time, and usually no where to write them all down. Let alone the time it would take to make them into a reality. So with all the copious amounts of spare time I don’t have, I try to be as OCD organized as I can. And with three kids, a husband with a wonky work schedule and my own personal life (or me pretending to have one) I need somewhere to write down everyone’s everything’s.

I have spent hours in office supply stores, bookstores and online “googling” planners/organizers. I have the failures of several that never lived up to my expectations left scattered like debris on a battlefield all over my office. Not one seemed to have all the space or areas I needed. They were all to ineffective for my purposes.

Finally, I realized; in all my brainstorming and ideas I had thought of making my own. I’m all about saving a penny, up-cycling and using what I already have. I had a awesome stock of washi tape and knew it would make some cool pages. So I found a hack for a moleskine journal and set off to work. You can see my finished project with directions here. But after a few months of it working pretty good, a friend posted a photo of her new, gorgeously packaged Erin Condren Life Planner. I had to find out more about it and the creator. After doing research and seeing if it would indeed fit my needs, I got my own.

Life Planner

Pros are that no longer do you have to wait until aug/sept to look for a new planner. I always found this was the only time a year you could find new products due to school resuming. When you order they customize it so the months start in that month or whatever month you’d prefer. You can also add in personalized stickers* that are colored coded. You can assign a color to a family member in order to help keep your, and their appointments more organized. They have one zip lock type pocket where I keep a small pair of sewing scissors, a white out pen, and lose business cards. In the extra file pocket I keep my color coded label and any paper receipts. And for $1.50 more you can buy the awesome day keeper. It snaps into your planner for easy access to the current day.

planner zip pocketplanner pocket

Also, included in the life planner are already pre-made color labels. Some feature doctor/dentist appointment reminders, party reminders  field trips and birthdays to mention a few. There are also a page of blank colored labels.

planner stickers

Additionally, I love how there is a monthly view and then each month is broken down into weeks. Months are separated by laminated tabs for easy planning. Days are broken down into columns on each page, with three separate areas: morning, day and night. I typically put anything past 11am in “day” and anything after 4pm in “night”. But of course this planning is all up to you.

monthly view

*Life planner hack – I admit I am a very cost effective person. I love this planner and in order to help afford it, I made a few simple hacks based on some of the amazing ideas she has. For the color coded stickers that you can purchase extra, I used plain white mailing labels. I have three kids with numerous appointments and activities  I would have gone through those color stickers of hers in a week. So instead I took the white mailing labels and my obsessive stash of sharpies and assigned each kid a color. I am able to fit two activities/appt reminders on one label. I cut them length ways and trim a smidgen off the ends to fit perfectly in the say column. You can see my finished product on the weekly view.

Each colored sticker represents one of my spawn.

Each colored sticker represents one of my spawn.

Cons are limited, but with any product they are there. The most visible is the weight and size. This baby is heavy! But that is only because of the heavy weight paper used to keep the pages from tearing. The cover and tabs are laminated for added durability. The size also might limit what purses/bags it is used in. Luckily I have a amazing purse that can accommodation its size. However, with the added weight I often feel my shoulder and hand tingling when I carry my purse and planner due to poor blood circulation. I mentioned about the day keeper (which lets you place it on the current week). This is a great value, but poor planning. It stays in but rarely. It it continuously popping out. I have emailed them regarding the issues and seen where other owners have commented about the same issue. Hopefully with the new planner she added some new and updated products.

Nevertheless, this is a amazing planner with some great features that lends it self to be adaptable to most users.

Making your own pearl


So the last year or so of my life has been crazy.  A husband deployed for 12 months, my youngest diagnosed with ASD ( autism spectrum disorder), my older son who was already diagnosed with ASD and his full load of therapy appointments, doctors, school, etc…Looking back on the last year, after taking a breath and counting my blessings I can only say…WHEW!  It has been overwhelming a lot of the times, okay, most of the time.  There has been a lot of tears and gritted teeth, both mine and my kids’.  There were a lot of moments that I didn’t think I could persevere for one more second.  But I did, we did, and we are a stronger family because of it.

I grew up having an awesome auntie (who when I was seven found out wasn’t even related to us, she was just one of those people in life who become like family).  She has such an amazing heart and attitude, and one of her things is that you always have to find the “pearl” in life’s tough situations.  When you think about how a pearl is formed in an oyster, it comes from sand, something the oyster doesn’t like and finds irritating.  From that negative thing the pearl is formed.  So when life puts things in your path that you don’t like, that are hard, you can choose to make your own pearl.

One of the pearls of having gone through this deployment has definitely been a friendship that I have been able to cultivate.  She was my sounding board, my shoulder to cry on, the person who could bring me back to reality, and a constant source of support.  It was during one of our weekly meals/ rant sessions (much like the one where came up with the idea for this blog), that we came up with the idea for our Girls’ Day Out upon our husbands’ return from deployment.

We wanted to go to the mall.  By ourselves.  We wanted to eat wherever we wanted, not just where the most kid-friendly fare was served.  We wanted to go into stores where we didn’t have to worry about being able to navigate a stroller.  Where we could just relax.  Shop.  Oh and throw in a mani and a pedi please  🙂

Our husbands were on board right from the beginning and I am so thankful for that.  When our big day finally came, we met at a mall near our homes that has more dining and food options than you could ever need.  Both of our husbands dropped us off and we meet up outside of a Starbucks.  We kind of cautiously greeted each other and then realized we had several hours in front of us to do whatever we wanted!

We started with margaritas, bottomless tortilla soup, and salad.  We talked and laughed and enjoyed eating without hurrying.  We made appointments to get our nails done and went to check out some cool cosmetic and beauty stores.  The exact kind of store you would normally have to avoid if you were with your kids.  Awesome.  I got some awesome new make-up at Bare Minerals, and checked out some awesome new products at LUSH.  I will report back on the bath bombs that I bought there.  It was so fun to try different make up on, and smell yummy products that had nothing to do with anything except pampering myself.  We got awesome mani/ pedis (fun glitter accent nail included!) where we got to relax and feel pretty.  We got picked up by our husbands and went home.  All in all, it was exactly what I needed.  A perfect way to celebrate getting through the hard year together.  We did it and we made a pearl 🙂

*NOTE:  Now my husband’s account of the day was much different.  All I can say is that his version is called Dirty Water Pt. II, and will be making an appearance here soon!

If you haven’t yet, you can read The original Dirty Water story here!  Like many of the great parenting tales, it’s gross but funny!  Just click the link below, copy and paste the link, or meander back through our archives…