16 September 2015

Low-Stress Dinners: Russian Chicken


This is a Baird family favorite. I like this recipe because there are just FOUR ingredients, and it requires very little time and effort to pull together. Give it a try and tell me what you think in the comments!

Russian Chicken

1 regular-sized bottle of Catalina dressing (if you are using family size, use about half)
1 package of onion soup mix
2/3 jar apricot jam
4-6 chicken breasts

Thaw the chicken in a microwave (if frozen), then cut the chicken into smaller pieces. Place the chicken in the bottom of a baking dish. Mix the other ingredients and pour over the chicken. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until done. Serve with rice.

That's it!

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15 September 2015

Less is More

"Less is more" seems to be a theme in my life as of late. This theme has also found its way into my clothing closet.

A while back, my sister sent me a link to a blog about capsule wardrobes. If you are unfamiliar with what a capsule wardrobe is, here is a definition for you:

-A collection of clothes and accessories that includes only items considered essential.
-A person’s basic collection of coordinating clothes that can be used to form the basis of outfits for all occasions.
-A set of clothing, normally around 24 items, which can be mixed and matched to create a wide variety of outfits. (Source)

I can't stand having things in my house I don't useeven if it is stuffed away in a closet where I can't see it. If things don't have a place and a purpose in my house, it goes on Cragslist or to the thrift store. I find that I am happier when I am not bogged down by clutter and lots of, well, stuff.

I don't have a capsule wardrobe yet, but I am in the process of figuring out my staple clothing pieces by putting my hangers backward on the items of clothing that I wear. Whenever I do the laundry, I make sure to put my used clothes backward on the hanger to signal what clothing items I wear. I am amazed to see that I wear the same items over and over and just let others sit for weeks on end.

Here are some things I am looking forward to with a capsule wardrobe:
  • Less laundry
  • Less time spent choosing an outfit
  • More closet space
This wardrobe isn't for everyone, but I think the idea behind it is a valuable one. Less is more! If this isn't for you, maybe there is another aspect of life that could use some de-cluttering. 

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17 June 2015

The Whisper Technique

I've discovered a new parenting technique (new to me, at least).

We are having issues at our house as of late with a certain little girl not listening. If I want Miranda to do something, I have to ask her a minimum of five times and then threaten time out before she even acknowledges what I'm saying. This gets pretty exhausting after a while.

Well, I've been sick this past week and woke up today with no voice. I can squeak out some sentences, but if I really need to say something, I have to whisper. When I got up in the morning, I was dreading the day a little bit because I was afraid Miranda would use my lack of voice to her advantage.

Surprisingly, the day turned out a lot different than I imagined. Here are some of the positive things that happened today:

  1. Since I had to whisper everything, Miranda had to pay careful attention whenever I talked. Sometimes, I think Miranda is so used to me ordering her around that she tunes me out a lot of the time and doesn't even hear me until I've asked her to do something five times. Then, there are the times where she just flat out doesn't listen because, hey, who wants to stop playing to get ready for bed? Miranda wasn't perfect with listening the first time the whole day, but I did see a big improvement.
  2. I really had to choose my battles today. Unless Miranda was doing something she really wasn't supposed to be doing, I just let her be. The less I talked, the better my throat felt. Choosing my battles made for less frustration and a happier day for both Miranda and I. 
  3. I was a better listener. At dinner time, Lorin and I will often talk away about our days, and we sometimes ignore Miranda's demands until she yells at us to stop talking and listen to her. Well, since I couldn't talk, We were able to listen to everything she had to say. She was a happy camper. 

Now, I'm not planning on becoming some creepy mom that hobbles around, whispering to her child all the time, but this experience did make me think about how I approach Miranda when I need her to listen to me. If I really need her to pay attention to what I'm saying, I'll try whispering.
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01 June 2015

Mommas Making Moola #7: Yoga Instructor

Mommas Making Moola is a new guest-blogger series about the non-traditional ways  moms can bring income into their home (outside of the 9-5 job). In this series, I will be joining forces with Swag On, Momma to feature the experiences of our guest bloggers. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, please contact me for more information.
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By Megan Jackson

Hello! My name is Megan. I am a stay-at-home mom. My husband and I have four children six and under. Life is crazy busy….in a fun way. I have WAY more ambition than a girl should be allowed, so I like to do as much as I can to help save money by making stuff at home (i.e. laundry soap, snacks, home cooked meals) and by doing things outside of the home on occasion (i.e. Etsy store, yoga classes, and Mary Kay). I am currently not running my Etsy shop or teaching yoga classes for money. Our goal in our family is to build a home in the next year with a yoga studio on the side that I will be able to teach out of. I will be renting out the space to dance teachers or other yoga teachers when I am not using it. I will be teaching an adult yoga class on Saturdays, when Daddy is home, and through the week I will be teaching Kid's Yoga. I started teaching kids when I realized I wasn't able to do yoga the way I was used to before kids. This way I am able to spend time with them and also share it with other children. To reach this goal, I have become a Mary Kay consultant to share my passion for good skin care while making a good profit to set aside for our soon-to-be home/yoga studio. I have a hard time missing anything with my kids, so these three things have helped me contribute financially and not miss out on the precious time with our children. I would love to introduce you to Mary Kay if you currently do not have a consultant! We have an amazing company. Check out my site at Mary Kay.
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27 May 2015

Momma Makin Moola #6: Kim the Craft Blogger


Mommas Making Moola is a new guest-blogger series about the non-traditional ways  moms can bring income into their home (outside of the 9-5 job). In this series, I will be joining forces with Swag On, Momma to feature the experiences of our guest bloggers. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, please contact me for more information.
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Ever wonder what it actually takes takes to make money blogging? I know I do! Click HERE and head on over to Swag On, Momma to read the newest Mommas Making Moola post. This was a great post from Kim from Girl and a Glue Gun where she talks about the realities of making blogging your career. Go and check it out!
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18 May 2015

Mommas Makin Moola #5: Mother and Writer

Mommas Making Moola is a new guest-blogger series about the non-traditional ways  moms can bring income into their home (outside of the 9-5 job). In this series, I will be joining forces with Swag On, Momma to feature the experiences of our guest bloggers. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, please contact me for more information.
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By Breanna Olaveson

I’m 27 years old and have been building two different careers since college. But I still don’t really know what I am.

I usually say I’m a stay-at-home mom. I stay home all day, where I snuggle babies and change diapers and clean bathrooms and make dinner and fold laundry like any other mommy. I have the stretchy pants. The SUV. The works.

But I still don’t completely fit in with many of my mommy friends, because I also write articles, meet deadlines, edit photos, send emails and answer to bosses. I am frequently published online and in magazines and I recently published my very first book.

I anticipate there will be more to come. More babies. More books. More laundry. More deadlines. More time spent balancing priorities, more early mornings and late nights spent working and more afternoon play dates.

I am two halves of a whole. I am a stay-at-home mother. I am a writer.

I am both.

Becoming a writer

I've tried to identify exactly when I chose this life, but I can’t. All I know is that I always wanted to be a writer and always wanted be a mother. Fortunately for me, the two are not mutually exclusive. (This work/home balance would be impossible if I were, say, an astronaut.)

I played “Publisher” as a child while my friends were playing “School,” but I also played “House” sometimes. I read voraciously and also loved to bake cookies. I practiced my signature for the inevitable book signings in my future. I also wrote down names for my future children.

So I naturally looked toward both as I built my foundation in college. At the end of every internship, I discussed working remotely in the future and learned how to submit my pieces as a freelancer.

When I met my husband, I shared my dreams with him. As the son of a mother/business owner, he was completely on board.

I closed no doors and burned no bridges. Every door and window was left wide open.  

Becoming a mother

Some girls are born nurturers. They love babysitting and usually grow up to own day cares or teach in elementary schools. I was never one of those girls.

Never, that is, until November 13, 2011.

My Lyla was born when I was 23 years old. I’d had five different writing jobs, been married for three years and endured one heartbreaking miscarriage. I wanted that baby, loved her, prayed for her and adored her. I became a baby person when I met mine.

As it turns out, babies sleep a lot. When Lyla was born, I had no job other than caring for her and our tiny apartment. She was a dream baby who took good naps and slept well at night. Vacuuming our entire place took about 15 minutes. Even with shopping and cooking and everything else, I had a lot of time on my hands. Even though I loved my new job as a homemaker, I found myself cranky and bored more often than I liked. I needed something more to do.

Becoming both

That’s when I dusted off my childhood dreams and got started on my first book. In between research sessions at the library, I wrote little blog pieces or news stories for people who hired freelancers. I sent emails to old contacts and took any writing job that paid. The extra couple hundred dollars every month or two helped with groceries and brought the thrill of the deadline back into my life. I became myself again—only better this time, because I was a mother as well. As both mommy and writer, I became a fuller, more complete, happier version of myself.

Every year since 2012, my freelance business has grown. Word of mouth and happy clients led to more jobs, which led to even more jobs. I spend a vast majority of my time caring for my two small children, my husband and our home. I also work on the side.

Admittedly, it isn't always an ideal situation. Every day I wonder if I spent enough time with my kids or enough time on my writing. Some days my husband plays with the girls at the park while I finish up a piece on a deadline. Sometimes I don’t touch my laptop for days, just because I need more mommy time.

True to his word, my husband has been my biggest support and best friend. He helps me care for the children some nights, and I help him supplement the family income. We both have our primary jobs, and we help each other in between.


I still don’t know what to say when people ask me if I stay at home or if I have a job. I guess I’ll just tell them the truth: I do both. 
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12 May 2015

Mommas Makin Moola #4: Abby the Mary Kay Queen


Mommas Making Moola is a new guest-blogger series about the non-traditional ways  moms can bring income into their home (outside of the 9-5 job). In this series, I am joining forces with Swag On, Momma to feature the experiences of our guest bloggers. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, please contact me for more information.
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Swag On, Momma has this week's post. Read this inspiring Q & A  about how Abby found a job that worked around being with her kids during the day. Along the way, she has earned a free car through Mary Kay and tripled her income. Amazing, right?

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