Two years ago, we decided to do a no-spend month. A third of the way into the month, God blessed me with a job opportunity, but that created a few challenges, since we had pledged to not spend any money, so I had to get creative with what I had. I made the two little ones some nap mats for school using fabric that we had, and these worked well for that school year.
Last summer, I sold one of the mats to a friend because my girls didn’t stay for rest time last school year. This year, they need nap mats again, so I took the girls to the fabric store, and Sissy picked out Frozen fabric. I had only planned to make one nap mat, since we still had one, but Little Sister got so excited about all the fabric that I couldn’t resist buying her some fabric too.
I used Jenny Garland’s nap mat tutorial for all of the nap mats. I always make just a few changes to her tutorial.
- If using fleece instead of minky fabric, I only use one yard and don’t sew the blanket, which saves me a lot of time.
- For the strap, I cut a strip of fabric the full width (usually 45″) and 5″ wide. I fold it in half with right sides together and stitch along the opening. After turning right side out, I sew a seam 1/4 inch along each side of the tube before inserting the elastic.
- I only use 36″ of Velcro because that is how much comes in a package. I go ahead and sew a 1/2 inch seam about 2″ long on the bottom and top of the open side. I start the Velcro above the seam at the bottom of the open side.
- I also do the Velcro step before filling the pillow because it’s easier for me to sew the seams without the pillow stuffed.
The girls are so excited about their new nap mats! They have been carrying them around the house and snuggling up with their blankets.
Now we have an extra nap mat (photo below) if anyone would like to buy it for $15. I can also make custom nap mats if you are interested. I charge $25 to make them plus the cost of the materials, which is usually around $25.
I can not believe it has been three weeks since my last post! Things have been more chaotic than usual around here with school starting and me teaching three different classes–Math 7 (seventh graders), Algebra II (tenth and eleventh graders), and Pre-AP Algebra II (tenth and eleventh graders). Even though I taught Pre-Algebra last year, I did not experience the first week of school as a teacher because I was hired in mid-October to fill an unexpected vacancy. I have not decorated a classroom, planned the start of a school year, or endured that grueling first week since before I had children. It is a completely different experience as a mom! I forgot to take first day of school photos of my children before we left the house. I almost forgot to take photos entirely! I snapped a couple of all of them together in my classroom just before we left to walk the little girls to their classroom.
I have been wanting to share a little about my weight loss journey, but I haven’t had time to blog. (This post has taken me three days to put together!) I lost 1.6 pounds before August started, but my goal remains to lose five pounds this month. With the stress and busyness of school starting, I haven’t lost much since the first week of August when I dropped another 1.6 pounds. Since August 8th, I have only lost 0.8 pounds. I’m just happy I haven’t gained anything because I have definitely been stress eating. As of August 22nd, I have lost an even four pounds, but I’m only down 2.4 pounds for August. I need to lose 2.6 pounds by the end of August to meet my goal. I’m determined to do it.
It has been difficult to find time for working out and taking enough steps. I have not taken the time to enter my food in my calorie counter, so I have just been guesstimating until yesterday and today when I decided I have to take time to track everything I eat. I have only started back with push-ups and crunches this week too. I’m struggling to fit it all in my day, and I’m working on things for school until almost midnight half the time, which makes it hard to wake up and work out in the mornings. Excuses, I know, but I want to be honest and let you know I don’t have it all together–not even close. Please let me know if you are struggling too, so we can encourage one another.
I love Snickers. I think they are the perfect combination of chewy, crunchy, gooey, chocolate-y deliciousness. I can’t buy the minis because I will eat too many, but the fun size bar is enough to satisfy my craving and only contains 80 calories. I bought a large bag of these yesterday and put them in the refrigerator because I like them cold and to keep them from being a constant temptation. I lowered my daily calorie goal and told myself that I could have one fun-sized Snickers each evening if, and only if, I have enough calories left. I ate one yesterday evening and another one tonight. I’m hoping to continue my reward streak and eat one every night. I have found that I won’t give in to cravings throughout the day if I have a Snickers to look forward to at the end of the day. What motivates you?
Wednesdays are very busy for us this semester. We stay at school later to allow the big kids time to do their homework (while I grade papers) because they have science and social studies with Grandmother on Tuesday and Thursday and also because the little girls are home on Tuesday and Thursday so I can’t help them as much. The little girls stay in childcare at school until the older two are finished with their assignments, and the twins finally stayed long enough today to take a nap on the nap mats I made for them. We came home for thirty minutes to eat a snack and let Big Sister change clothes. Big Sister has gymnastics from 4:00 to 5:00, and we have just enough time to go home and eat dinner before my husband takes Big Brother to his Bible study group. I’m exhausted by the end of the day. Well, more exhausted than usual. The girls had a bath and then had a little time to play before bed. Sissy likes to carry her baby doll on her hip like Mama does, and Little Sister likes to put 20 different clips in her hair. They are a mess!
- The kids and I took lunches to school. My husband ate breakfast at work and then snacked on leftovers and didn’t eat lunch today.
- I veered from our menu a little this week. I didn’t cook Sunday night, so I moved that to Monday, skipped the homemade pizzas entirely, changed tonight to my backup, family-favorites: popcorn shrimp, fish sticks, corn, plain spaghetti, fresh tomatoes, fresh cucumbers. I’ll make tonight’s scheduled meal tomorrow and move that one to Friday because it looks like our Friday night plans will be rained out. I love planning a menu, but I do so in pencil and change as needed. I try to schedule around meetings and such, but I don’t have everything on my calendar that everyone else does.
- We needed a few things from Costco, so my husband went while waiting for our son to finish his Bible study this evening. He took cash and spent $42.03 on groceries.
- I got paid yesterday for teaching for the month of October. We weren’t expecting a paycheck until next month because that’s how I got paid when I taught public school, but this is nice. We weren’t sure what to do with that money, since it isn’t regular income, but we are still in a no-spend month, and it will be considered regular income next month, so we are just leaving it in our account and not planning to spend it. We can use it if we have to, but I’m hoping we can make it 10 more days on what we have left.
Thank you for following us with this extreme experiment. Let me know if you have any questions or if you are planning to try a no-spend month or even a week. I’d love to hear from you!
The days are long, but the years are short. ~Gretchen Rubin
I know I’m not supposed to wish any stage away, but I’m really tired of the twins destroying things. I took them to meet their new teacher this morning after dropping off the big kids, and I found out they need nap mats for school next week. Yikes! That wasn’t in our budget for our no-spend month. No problem. I made several nap mats for friends a few years ago (before having twins–back when I had time to sew), and I have quite a stash of fabric and supplies (for projects I dream of doing), so we went through my stash and found two pieces of fabric big enough for their nap mats. I had even saved the remnants of the 1-inch thick foam that goes inside the mats. It’s a little shorter than what the pattern calls for, but I can make it work.
The girls were excited and laid on top of the foam pieces and covered up with their fabric choices. While they were happy, I loaded the dishwasher. When I finished, I realized they were too quiet. I found them in their room with the foam pieces, one of which was now in many pieces.
I wanted to cry, but I didn’t. I gathered all the pieces and spent every spare moment this afternoon and evening sewing the large pieces back together. It looks a little Frankenstein-ish, but it will be inside the nap mat, so only you and I will know. 😉
I’m hoping to finish at least one of the nap mats tomorrow. I’ll post photos when I’m finished.
- My husband attended the second day of his class today, so he needed to eat out for lunch again. He spent $3.88 on fast food on his way back to work this afternoon. I finished off the rest of our leftover roast, potatoes, carrots, and gravy. It was so good.
- Hubby also got his hair cut today, and he paid $15 cash for that.
- One of our larger items on our online garage sale finally sold today, so we made $45 on that.
- We had spaghetti and garlic knots for dinner tonight. Our son and his friend are camping with my in-laws this weekend, so I didn’t worry about preparing much. The main reason I made bread was so I could have some for breakfast the next few days.
- I sell Norwex and forgot about an online sale that provided me with a $30 commission, which was direct-deposited this week. That covers part of the girls’ doctor visit yesterday.