Monday, June 29, 2015


I'm definitely one of those people that like facebook better than real interactions sometimes. I feel like this is not a popular opinion, but over the last year or two I've decided that I really am okay with it. While I get daily conversations with other in person friends, I have no guilt for hanging out at home and only talking to people through facebook.

Other than keeping in touch with real friends through my news feeds, here are some other ways I use facebook.

I use it to plan events.
Neighborhood playgroup? Meet up at the farmer's market? All happens through facebook.

I use it to get parenting advice.
I love this one. When I was a new mom, I joined many parenting groups that focused on different parenting styles. As I ran into problems, I could ask or just browse through the archives. My questions are usually answered within a few minutes. Now that Madeleine is a toddler I have one group that I mainly use that actually has a few of the leading experts in the group. It's nice getting answers from them.

I use it to learn hobbies
There are so many things I have learned thanks to facebook and youtube. Crocheting, doll making, sewing, cooking, just to name a few. When I start a new hobby, the first thing I do is look for a facebook group.

I use it for home education.
I wanted to teach Madeleine the colors a few months back. After asking a few questions in a group, I had a full month unit given to me of what books to check out, what questions to ask her, and different activities we could do. On a smaller day to day bases, I have literally hundreds of ideas at my finger tips and unlike pinterest, if I have a question, I can ask the person directly who I'm copying the activity from. My favorites are actually the waldorf groups right now since I like how they set routines and teach chores and cooking to toddlers (and many other things that are all fantastic).

I use it for finances.
There are several groups that I'm part of that help with money. There are some that effect us financially but are not directly related like minimalism groups and the Non-consumer advocate.  But then there are some that are very money oriented like my budgeting group and investing group. I don't participate much in these, but I learn a lot from just reading other people's posts.

I use it to decorate my house.
When we moved into our new apartment, I filmed my living room and asked for feed backs in one of my groups. I got it within minutes. Free interior design advice in minutes. Pretty sweet.

I use it for social issues.
I love all the discussions about social issues. I like that I can pick when I feel like discussing it on friends' pages or reading a certain article. I also like that I can then discuss this with my friends when I see them again. Matt and I have many discussions about race, poverty, class-issues, politicians etc. that began with something I saw on facebook.

I use it for news.
Believe it or not, at this point I usually have a friend close to where most major stories happen. I usually find out major stories before they are published. I feel like the news articles that my friends share are more well-rounded than what's on CNN.

I use it for religious discussions.
There is always religious discussions going on with friends. Again, I like the fact that I can choose to skip them when I don't feel like hearing about it and "eavesdrop" on conversations when I do. I like it because I feel like it is more civil, and when it gets hostile, I can skip it. 

I use it to achieve goals.
I have several groups ranging in size that help me achieve goals. We report what our goal is and where we are at, and people cheer or give encouragement. I like being passive on most of these, but one of my favorites is a small group of 20 women. We share what our plans for the day are and check in at the end of the night. I'm one of the youngest in the group, and I have received some great tips from these women.

I use it for shopping.
Most people I think are aware of the facebook yard sale for their areas, but there are so many other things you can buy off facebook. Like vintage dolls? There is a group for that. Homeschool materials? Dozens of groups for that. Anthropologie or Boden clothing? Places for that too. 

There are other things I use facebook for with my in person friends such as remembering birthdays and stuff but I feel those are more typical uses of facebook. 

You might be thinking that I could do all of this with people in real life, and it's true. But I like that I don't know these people usually. I like that I can ask and if they judge me, it won't effect my real life. I like that it won't ruin friendships or place labels on me that I don't necessarily identify with. I also like the people I meet and chat with. I like that I can bounce ideas off of them without telling people I know. I like that I see over and over people are in general good.

Anyway, what do you facebook for? Do you like or hate it?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Some going ons

One thing I've been learning is that life doesn't stop. Just because we moved doesn't mean that other things aren't going on, even though I kind of wish it was.

With the summer solstice passing that means summer officially begins. The fact that New Jersey schools for some reason didn't end until June 19th making the summer really feeling like it's kicking off. So far the last few weeks have been full of play dates 4-5 times a week, farmer's markets, and going to the beach. Honestly, I feel like this is a bit faster pace than I like. Our family rhythm is thrown off and I'm trying to rein it back in.

Here's a few things from the last two days.

 I started reading the book for July's book club. I actually haven't read this before, so I'm pretty excited.

 Madeleine at lunch with Junie B. This is one of my favorites, and sour grapes are a pretty big deal in this house too.

Matt asked me to do nothing for Father's Day, but then on actual Father's Day he was upset that I took it a bit too literally. We tried to make it up a bit by taking him to this cool little cheese shop in Downtown Princeton. They not only sell cheese but make gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. I'm not really sure what was on this sandwich but it was really good. The asiago cheese we got there too was some of the best I've had.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Welcome to Lakeside

As we were moving out of Butler, I sat down and read over a few blog post from when we moved there. Despite the fact that I felt relieved the first time I moved into it, I forgot how hard actually moving in was. In this blog post I said, "I always feel like when I move that I'm some type of cowgirl that has to break in and tame my house.Each room has its own challenges and getting the place to feel like home is even more frustrating. And they each seem to fight me too!"

That made me laugh. That's exactly how I feel like moving into this house was too. But this one came together a bit easier, despite our rocky beginning. I kept telling Matt,"Don't panic! Pinterest can fix everything!"

And it can! So far I have the living room/kitchen done and the bedrooms are pretty close. I'm still working on a few things though before I put some pictures up of the other rooms though.

So tada!

 1st half of room

Dinning room table! (We have a dinning room table again!)

 1940's Life and fashion magazine from the flee market.

Lights I made!!! I'm so overly proud of myself for this one. I couldn't find a light kit that would work so I made my own. Matt was a bit freaked about the whole thing, but it was so worth it in the end.
(Tutorial here:

 Word art Madeleine and I did last night. I don't suggest black paint with a toddler. :)

And the other half of the room

Weird kitchen

Spice rack that Matt put up even though he didn't want to 

Art by bathroom in the hall.

So that's it so far.

We like it. It likes us. I think we're doing pretty good.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Moving and a new place

And with a good-bye comes a hello.

Guys, I would totally be lying if I said I was thrilled about the new place when I first walked in.

When we moved in, I thought we were going to die or at least Madeleine. She figured out how to undo the deadlock and escape the house within an hour of getting here. Then we noticed that there were so many things that she could get in trouble with, like long window binds cords that she sucked on, no shelving that was out of her reach (we are in the handicap unit), and glass closet doors (she threw a chair at) just to name a few. Matt and I spent the next few days frantically trying to toddler proof. On top of that, even though this is a new complex, we had so many issues with hasty construction. At this point, 9 days out, we still have broken AC and don't have card access to our front door. 

But there is also a lot of good. The washer and dryer are amazing. With the help of them and the dishwasher, we have less than an hour of cleaning per day. I spent two hours a day doing dishes at Butler. I cannot believe how much extra time I have. The handicap unit means that there are more things at toddler level, which is nice for a few things. Madeleine was thrilled to run her own load of laundry a few days ago. We also have our own tiny back area. It's not fenced or anything but it does mean we have a place for outside toys. 

As for actual move , it was pretty easy. My mom and brother came out from Utah, and my brother helped Matt so much with the actual moving. People from church came and watched Madeleine while I packed since we were only given 42 hour notice that we were moving. The actual move took 6 hours and we spent two days packing and unpacking. By the end of the actual move day, we had everything more or less unpacked. It was amazing! The whole move cost us just under $64. Pretty sweet. :) I think I made most of my goals. Matt and I were able to go through every single thing before we packed them. I consider that a major win in itself.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bye Butler

We turned in the keys today to our Butler home today.

 We've been living at our new place for a week. 

We lived here for two years. As this blog can tell you, this was a great home to us. It gave us summer days on the back porch and a yard to make snowmen in. Madeleine learned to walk here and all of us enjoyed the shade of the oak tree in the backyard.

Matt had me do the final walk through. When I opened the door for the last time, the house echoed. It was strangely empty. 

I thought I would be more sad about leaving, but I don't know if it was the tick that fell on me when I opened the door or the fact I already know where we living next, but I was okay with shutting that door one last time.

Bye 222E Halsey St., you were a good home. I wish another family got to live there after us, instead of being knocked down.

Thursday, June 4, 2015


Guys we are moving between a week to two and half weeks. We still aren't sure the day and I'm feeling the stress. The actual moving thing isn't too stressful especially since it's only two blocks, but the expectations I'm putting myself are.

1) Minimalize as much as possible
2) Move for under $150
3) Keep it as zero-waste as possible
4) Pack, move, and unpack in 3 days

Matt and I snuck into new apartment earlier this week. Because there are a lot less windows it seems a lot more cramped. It has really motivated me get rid of more stuff and only bring the necessities. Also while I was in there, I saw my new washer and dryer. They are amazing. I'm so excited! (And I'm never excited about laundry)

Because we don't have a set move date, I don't have a firm timeline on moving so I feel a bit more disorganized. On top of that, Matt has a big presentation next week and is working on publishing his paper by the end of the month.

To do
1) Get rid of any excess paper floating around the house
2) Go through books
3) Go through my clothes (dreading this one) 
4) Sell TV
5) Get rid of rugs
6) Go through food
7) Go through toys
8) Madeleine' s clothes
9) Condense and reduce bathroom crap
10) Sell air conditioner
11) Get rid of extra furniture
12) Figure out a better way to organize sewing stuff

That's what I'll be up to for the next 8-20 days. I'll try to check in. :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

"Are you going to sell these on Etsy?"

I often get asked for a business card or if I'm selling when Madeleine is out and about in one of her dresses.

I always thank the person and tell them no, but for the few that push why not, here's why.

Let's look at an example.

Madeleine's little Star Wars dress

1 yard of material cost me $10 at Joann's
Button $0.50
Thread $2 for a spool

We are up to $12.50

It took me 45 minutes to make the pattern.
Then 10 minutes to cut it out.
And about an hour to sew it all together.
20 minutes to drive to the post office.

At $10 an hour that about $25 worth of labor.

The dress would currently be priced at $37.50.

You might be thinking "Eh, that's a little high, but I would still totally pay that much for a cool dress."

If I did this as a job (and I know since I technically have my own business), taxes would take close to 25%  (self employed people have to pay double social security and medicaid) of that. And etsy takes an additional 3.5%

That puts it at $48.18 and with shipping this dress would be around $50.

Most people don't want to pay $50 for a dress, even if it's a really cool Star Wars dress.

At $10 an hour, I'm getting paid around the same amount for a lot of unskilled labor. I want to remind people that sewing is a skill. It takes lots of practice and it's hard work. At $10 an hour, I could barely support my family on my own income, if I had enough sales to work full time. I should honestly be closer to $12-$15 based on my skill level. A master seamstress should be much higher than that.

The thing is many people don't see it that way. They see it as me ripping them off. Walmart and Old Navy sell dresses for less than $10 a dress. They think my prices should be closer to those stores. The truth is that those clothes are not made by people making a living wage. They are also people that are trying to live in America on American prices. They need $120 a month to live in a 3rd world country and they are not even being paid that.

I cannot live off of $120 a month. I cannot and will not try to compete with those wages. The things I make are not in the same class. They are unique, fair trade, and produced in a 1st word country. They are not mass produced, with unsafe, unpaid labor in a 3rd world country. To ask me to work at 3rd world country prices isn't worth my time. 

At the moment, I rather make milkshakes or work at Anthropologie.

The truth is homemade is no longer the "cheaper" option if you are not doing the work yourself.

Having a friend do it for you for a discounted rate is something you should be very grateful for and hopefully you realize just how much money they are saving you. It's the ultimate employee discount. The main reason it is cheaper is that you are getting free labor instead of very cheap labor plus a bit of a mark up. Free labor isn't free to the person that it doing this for you. Economic teach us that no matter what time is a limiting factor. That friend is giving the limited hours of their life to help you with a project for free or pretty close to it. Be grateful for it.

For more reading of other crafters on this subject, you can read here from a knitter (I actually really love this one)  and here about a doll maker.

Anyway, that's why in general I don't sell to people that I don't feel like crafting for. If you're my friend, you might one day find a message from me asking if I can send you something.  And if you don't receive that message, I would be more than happy to make something for you, just make sure you are willing to pay me a fair price.

**By the way, I fully aware that I could streamline the process of creating a dress. I just also realize that I would have other cost that I didn't factor in (like marketing, driving to the post office, buying another sewing machine etc.). The price would probably only go down a bit.**