Thursday, July 30, 2009

and my list gets longer...

Oh how wonderful is the internet? There are tutorials for pretty much anything you'd want to make. I'll post if I get around to any of it. :)

93+ Maternity, Baby, Nursing, Toddler Tutorials

Make Baby Stuff!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The homestretch...

I have felt pretty crappy most of this pregnancy. The all-day-sickness was worse and lasted longer than my first. I never got that 2nd trimester bounce back this time either. Add in the anxiety of expecting after two losses. Yeah.

I try my hardest not to complain too much. I am thankful that this baby is healthy and and that I have been able to carry him/her this far. But I'm definitely not one of those "oh I love being pregnant" ladies. They generally make me want to punch them in the face.

Ah hormones.

However, now that I'm in the homestretch I'm feeling the best I have the whole time. What is up with that? I'm sure the Floradix is helping. Some days are still better than others. Yesterday I was exhausted, but last week I was feeling great. This morning things seem promising.

I'm sure it won't last until the end, but I am trying to take advantage of it while it lasts.

This weekend I put in some more time on the baby's room. DH set up the crib and things are starting to come together. The hubs is throwing me a big birthday bash so I want the room basically done before that.

I am getting excited for the birth and those precious early weeks!

Only 49 days until EDD! Wow.

Friday, July 24, 2009

links for the week

* 24 ways to amuse a toddler ... great list of ideas to keep those littles entertained!

* The Gentle Art of Homemaking ... an older post, but so encouraging. A must read for the other homemakers/housewives/SAHMs.

* Lemony Blueberry Muffin recipe at The Motherload

* Buttery Soft Pretzel recipe over at Adventures of a Breastfeeding Mother

* Batch Cooking Info (a part of Simple Mom's Back to the Basics series)... bookmarked 'cause I want to do some freezer meals before the new baby arrives!

* 9 Unique Ideas for Frugal Date Nights at The Motherload

* Considering Baby Names... click through to see how a potential baby name might be made fun of! LOL

And this just makes me happy! :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

MI Pictures

Proof that even this crunchy mama allows some unhealthy treats on occasion. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Home Again!

First off, my hubby rocks! He cleaned most of the house while I was gone. It looks great. I was getting really overwhelmed with the housework and I admit I had let things get pretty bad. Now if I can just take good care of myself so that I have enough energy to maintain things...

Oh and he also reorganized our attic. So I have the room to put up my yarn stash thus making room in the nursery/guest room for all the baby stuff. I am getting excited now that the end is in site! Less than 2 months left and we have tons going on in August. I can't wait to meet my new son or daughter!

Overall the trip was good. It was great to see Gram and I wish I had stayed with her the whole time and skipped the second half of the trip at the lake house. But W had a blast there and had lots of new experiences... his first s'mores, first ride on a jet ski (very slow of course), first ride in a tube, fun playing with his second cousins. Now I just hope he doesn't expect that level of entertainment at home! ;)

Much to do this week! Let the nesting begin.

Friday, July 17, 2009

5 Ways to Save Money on Baby Stuff

When I was expecting W, I read an article in The Tightwad Gazette about saving money on baby supplies. I did put some of that into practice and plan to do the same this go round.

1) Save on Baby Food

Probably one of the simplest things you can do is making your own babyfood. You can steam, mash and freeze veggies and other ingredients in ice cube trays. Pop the cubes in some freezer bags for later use. Easy peasy. It's healthy, fresh and way cheaper than those little jars. Super Baby Food is a great book. And there are many great free websites too, such as Nuture Baby and Wholesome Baby Food.

Buy the big jar of unsweetened applesauce instead of the smaller containers. Buy the big plain, whole milk yogurt instead of the little cups. When you baby is ready for cereal, get the plain oats in the cereal isle instead of the little boxes in the babyfood isle. You get the idea. I was laughing at myself once I started reading labels and comparing prices. I could buy all organic products for a fraction of the price of the regular stuff if I just got the full sized containers.

Also, you can do child-led introduction to solids and skip most of the spoon fed stuff. We did a combo of the two methods (make your own purees and child-led). My little guy is healthy and a good eater now. So it worked for us.

2) Save on Diapers

You can blow through about $1500 by the time your baby is potty trained. Even cloth diapering part time will cut down on that expense. I know we have saved so much from using cloth and laundering them ourselves. Not to mention, you can reuse the dipes for any subsequent children and/or resell if they are still in usable condition.

If cloth diapering is not for you, be sure to join the coupon mailing lists of the diaper companies and stock up when you find good sales. Compare prices. Don't forget to try generic brands too. Nothing says that more money = a better poop catcher. ;)

3) Breastfeed!

It's free! And if you are home with baby, you don't even need to buy a big supply of bottles, an expensive electric pump and all that other stuff. Of course we know there are other benefits. (Here are 101 more.) But my point is formula is expensive. I've never had to buy it, but from what I've read you can plan on spending $40 a week on formula. That adds up to 1,000-$2,300 for the first year depending on what kind you use. If you need to buy a hypoallergenic formula, it can run you even more. I've heard numbers up to $500 a month.

Breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, will save you a significant amount of money. Breastfeeding up to a year (or even longer) will save you more.

Breastfeeding can be a challenge for many moms, but with the right information you can avoid many common problems. There is a fix for almost any problem that comes up. (Yes, I said almost.) Many moms unknowingly encourage early weaning due to bad advice they were given.
Having a good, knowledgeable support system is key.

Of course you know my fav resource for breastfeeding help is La Leche League mother-to-mother support. And KellyMom is a great site I've used often.

4) Stick to the Basics

Much of the baby "equipment" is redundant. Yet most of us, myself included, get all caught up on trying everything the first time around.

I'd recommend picking up ONE baby machine before baby is born. In addition, get yourself a baby carrier of some sort. (Something adjustable like a ring sling or a baby wrap is great for the beginning.) Most babies just want to be close to mom or dad to feel safe and secure.

If you feel the need for more stuff later, borrow a friend's to try it out. Or even take the babe to the store to see what they like in person. Many babies hate the swing or bouncer or whatever. Which means you can usually pick up an almost new one second hand. No point dropping money on something the kid might like.

One thing that is NOT recommended to buy used is a carseat. Safety first!

5) Think Long-Term

A booster seat that straps to an existing chair is a perfectly acceptable substitute for a high chair. It's also cheaper and takes up less space. Same goes for the "travel" sized swing vs the full sized one.

Consider the lifespan of the items you are purchasing. Some items have a very limited lifespan, while others can go the distance. For many people a travel system is overkill. They get along fine with a convertible carseat from the start and purchase a nice umbrella stroller once baby can sit up on their own. It all depends on your lifestyle.

The bottom line is that there is HUGE money in baby products. It is easy to get sucked in and think that you need everything those R Us stores are pushing. It is fun to shop for all those itty bitties, but spending your money wisely will benefit your family most in the long run.

How about you? Have you tried these or found other ways to save?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

waxing nostalgic

So far the trip is going well. It's a little odd being here. It's like time stands still for awhile. Gram's house is almost the same as it was when I was a kid. W is playing with some of the same toys I did when I was little. The town has changed a bit, but the variety store (aka dime store) is still filled with bins of candy and toys just like I remembered. I still miss the trailer next door where my Great Grandma used to live. It's been gone for at least 10 (or is it 20?) years now, but in my mind it should be there smelling of old people and pies baking.
My mom is telling the same stories about her childhood that I have heard over and over each time we visit.

And then there is the thought this might be our last visit. When someone is 88 and I don't get out here but once every couple years, you can't help but wonder.

W-man has been doing great. Yesterday he really got on my nerves as his 2-year-old-ness was kicking in... spraying down the laundry room with Shout and stuff like that... but overall it's been fine. I think my Gram is enjoying having him around for the most part. He is darn cute sometimes.

My brother and stepdad are joining us today and we will be heading to our Uncle's lake house for the weekend. It should be a bit more eventful from here on out.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Garden Update and other News

I took this picture of my garden a few weeks ago. It has since gotten even bigger! The tomatoes and green beans have out grown their respective cages and are falling all over each other. I have only harvested some sugar snap peas and baby lettuce when I thinned the beds. There are green tomatoes, cucs and zucchini that will be ready soon.

As promised, the Square Foot Method does cut down on the upkeep. Though you still have to do some weeding. I didn't get most of my herbs planted this year, but that's ok. I haven't felt like cooking anything fancy anyway. I do have a buttload of basil and I was going to attempt pesto for the first time. Guess that means I need to go to the grocery store for parm and pine nuts.
In other news, the little man and I are going on a trip this week. I need to start packing today. We will be flying out with my mom to visit my gram who I haven't seen in over a year. She has ongoing health issues and had a bad hospital stay not too long ago. She is mostly recovered, but as she is getting older and I am going to have a new baby soon, the time to visit is now. We will be celebrating her Bday while we are out there. I am just praying my "spirited" child behaves ok at her not-at-all-childproofed house. Hopefully we will have nice weather and I can keep him busy outside a lot.
Nothing going on with the pregnancy, which is a good thing, right? Still trying to watch my sugar intake and get some exercise. Still not feeling great, but definitely better once I started taking Floradix. Can't complain! Everything seems to be right on track. I feel the baby moving, but this kid is definitely not as active as W was. Maybe that's a sign.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Popcicle Season

It's popcicle season! mmmm

The little guy just loves them up and I have fun mixing up new creations in my blender. I've been trying for a more pureed consistancy since they seem to melt slower and are a little less drippy. We do "green smoothies" many days. If there are leftovers they go in the molds. It's a great way to get some extra veggies in. And they are just fruits and veggies so W can eat as many as he wants.

If this seems like too much work to you, you can always just pour juice, iced tea or whatever beverage you enjoy into molds as well.

Here are some of our favorite combos this year. I eyeball the ingredients and add just enough liquid to let my blender work. If the fruit is a little tart I add some honey. If it needs some zip, add lemon or lime juice. For an adult palate you want the mix to be a little sweet/tart as the cold tones down those tastes. The little guy doesn't care so much.

Greeña Colada
Pineapple + Coconut Milk + Banana + handful of baby Spinach

Mango + Banana + Apple Juice + squeeze of lemon for some tartness (+you could add some shredded carrot to make it a brighter color)

Kiwi Strawberry
Strawberries + Kiwis + Honey + enough water to blend

Berry Blend
Blueberries + Strawberries + Banana + handful of baby Spinach + Juice to blend

I think I need some more molds since we've been going through these so fast... BTW, I use the Tovolo Green Shooting Star Pop Molds. They are BPA-free plastic and are a great design. I love how you can fill up each one individually. It makes for easy un-molding too.

(I was waiting for some good pictures before I posted this, but um not going to happen. LOL)