Pay Attention! The Most Important Part Of Being Thrifty

Posted 03-31-2014 at 11:30 AM by happysmileylady

grocery shopping

This morning I made a quick stop at Kroger.  Tyson fresh chicken was on sale and there was a coupon in this Sunday’s paper for $1 off any Tyson fresh chicken.  While I was examining packages of chicken that were sale priced at $1.50 to $1.75 per package (meaning I would pay 50c to 75c a piece,) I noticed another lady with Tyson chicken in her cart.  She had several packages, although her packages were not sale priced.  I also noticed that she had no coupons and little else in her cart.  It appeared that she was stocking up for a party.  I counted out 5 coupons for chicken from my stack and handed them to her.  I finished picking out my chicken, paid, and headed out of the store.  On my way out, I stopped at the free newspaper box in the front of the store, which was full of free papers containing the very same coupon inserts.  I picked up 5 more papers, which gave me 5 more inserts, replacing those coupons I gave away.

The other day, I went to get gas.  There are several gas stations near my house, so before I left, I checked the gas prices online.  Because of this, I chose to drove 2 blocks farther than the gas station on the corner closest to my house, because it was over 25c cheaper per gallon.  To fill up my 25 gallon tank, that’s a difference of over $6, almost 2 whole gallons worth, just for a difference of 2 blocks.

These are just two examples in my own life of how the simple act of paying attention to things can really save money.  I spent substantially less on my chicken than the other customer, even after the coupons I gave her, because I paid attention to the sale.  In fact, she saved $5 because I paid attention to the coupons that were right in front of the store, for free.  And I saved $6 just by paying attention to the gas prices instead of simply pulling into the closest gas station when the tank was low.

Diaper Swapers

So You Need To Store Your Dirty Diapers

Posted 03-28-2014 at 12:15 PM by Banana Cat

Pailliners

 

What do you do with a used disposable diaper? Easy, you chuck it in the nearest trash can. I know, I know, until recently disposable diaper packages instructed caregivers to dump solids in the toilet and then throw the diaper away, but not many people actually do that. The point is, no one really questions what to do with dirty diapers.

So what does one do with dirty cloth diapers? Luckily, plenty of people have already solved this problem, so we don’t need to think up new solutions—just pick an existing one that will work for us!

Cloth Wipes, Revisited

Posted 03-26-2014 at 03:12 PM by Banana Cat

In a previous post, I talked a bit about cloth wipes. Most people would recommend that if you decide to cloth diaper, you also use cloth wipes, because of similar benefits—they are reusable, they are gentle, no chemicals, etc. They do seem to go hand in hand, but for various, complicated, insurmountable reasons such as “I forgot to use them,” I ended up using disposable wipes with my first child. And I was okay with that.

Then appeared my newborn boy (okay, “appeared” is severely simplifying things, but you know what I mean). Suddenly, I had two children in diapers full time. I knew adding a newborn would up my diaper laundry load quite a bit, but I was not at all prepared for the amount of disposable wipes piling into our trash can. It was crazy how many were being used, but my kids have always been mega poopers as newborns. Whatever science articles exist that claim some newborns can go days without pooping absolutely do not apply to my kids. It seemed like I was replacing the disposable wipes container every time I changed a diaper. Like many families, we’re on a tight budget and every time I pulled out a couple of wipes to use I imagined pennies clattering into the trash can.

babywipes

I never knew you could go through so many baby wipes so darn fast.

What To Eat While Breastfeeding

Posted 03-26-2014 at 01:25 PM by Matrivine

eating when breastfeeding

A new mother’s relationship with food when nursing should be a healthy and cautious one. It’s important for us to remember that our children are also dependent on our nutrition.

Foods To Avoid

I admit that I look forward to being able to enjoy certain foods after being pregnant, but it’s still important to run these foods past a doctor if you are nursing. For example, when breastfeeding it’s still important to avoid fish with high levels of mercury content. Large amounts of caffeine should also be avoided. Some people will tell us that sushi is fine to eat, while others will maintain that raw fish is still suspect and therefore off the menu. When in doubt, take the question to an expert not the internet.

In addition to this, it isn’t safe just to assume that all herbs are safe to use while breastfeeding. This is not true for some herbs and can vary from patient to patient. Once again, when in doubt ask a professional.

Food To Increase Milk Production

Spring Craft: Pretzel Butterfly

Posted 03-25-2014 at 03:11 PM by Rasha

It’s technically spring (despite the fact that Mother Nature still hasn’t gotten the memo). Easter and Spring Break are in the near future and it’s time to prepare for the festivities. Are you looking for a spring craft other than decorating eggs? Here’s a cute idea, pretzel butterflies! It’s not for eating, but will keep the kiddos occuppied using their creativity, yet very little money. In fact, you probably have most of the supplies already in your home!

Budget-Twist-on-Pretzel-Fashion

What You Will Need:

Mini Pretzels (Traditional Shape and Sticks)

Wire or Hot Glue (Sorry, Mom, you’ll probably have to do this part)

Paint

Tissue Paper

Elmer’s Glue

Is a Nursing Pillow a Necessity?

Posted 03-24-2014 at 08:40 AM by Banana Cat

boppy

  One day my husband came home from work. The baby was napping and the toddler was eating blueberry yogurt, “eating” being a broad descriptor of her actions, which included painting her nose with the yogurt on her spoon. The point being–both kids were occupied and so I was at my computer, staring at a blank Word document. My husband looked over my shoulder at the white screen, sensing my dilemma without needing to ask me about it. “Write about your nursing pillow,” he suggested. “It’s an old, crappy pillow, and I don’t like it,” I replied instantly, as I’ve complained about my nursing pillow many times. He raised an eyebrow. Oh, hey.

Is a nursing pillow a necessity? Nearly every baby registry website suggests that it is. They even get their very own section at the baby stores now, so they certainly seem on par with other must-haves such as car seats and high chairs. If you try to nurse a young baby without using a nursing pillow, you will probably find your arms grow sore in no time at all, especially if you happen to have a behemoth of a baby like my second child. The main advantage of a nursing pillow, no matter the brand, is that it’s U-shaped. This means it fits around your tummy and wraps around your sides a bit so there’s plenty of room to support your elbows and baby’s ever-growing body. Some brands have straps to keep it in place and pockets to store various baby-related things, but whether you want these features or not is personal preference. The draw is really the fact that it’s supposed to fit around your body.

Managing Postpartum Depression

Posted 03-21-2014 at 09:00 AM by 2+2macht4

postpartum depression blog image

The latest statistics from the CDC suggest that nearly 20% of mothers experience varying degrees of postpartum depression. It is far more prevalent then previously thought. If you are struggling with depression after giving birth you are not alone.

Baby Blues vs Postpartum Depression

Many new moms experience a flush of extreme emotion after giving birth, both good and bad. Our worlds are turned upside down and a new little being is depending on us day and night. It’s a big change even the second or third time around. Now combine that with some crazy hormones and, yeah, we are in for a world of trouble. Those first few weeks are rough for most parents. However, when the depression lasts beyond the first few weeks of transitioning into life with a baby, it’s time to consider postpartum depression.

What Exactly is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression also known in short as PPD is a form of clinical depression that closely coincides with your life as a mom. Like many mental illnesses PPD itself is a broad spectrum disorder and can be found in various forms or in conjuction with other mental illnesses such as anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Symptoms of PPD include but are not limited to:

The Cloth Diaper Diaper Bag

Posted 03-20-2014 at 01:35 PM by Matrivine

Diaper Bag

When I used disposable diapers for my child, I must admit that loading the diaper bag was pretty easy. I threw in about four diapers, some wipes and rash cream, a change of clothes, and I was good to go. A diaper bag is much different with cloth diapers. You don’t throw them away in a public restroom. You carry them back home with everything else you pack into the diaper bag. Here are a few things to consider when choosing and loading a cloth diaper bag.

The Actual Bag

When choosing a diaper bag for cloth diaper use, the bigger the bag is the better. In fact, it’s wonderful if the inside of the bag is divided into compartments and has plenty of pockets. You can keep your used items away from your unused items. Keep all food items or toys in their own water proof sealed containers in the pockets on the outside of the bag. No matter how careful you are, soiled diapers still may find a way to leak into the bag interior. Some bags even come with a changing pad to keep our little ones off of public surfaces.

Wet Bag

Tutorial: Melted Crayon Spring Eggs

Posted 03-19-2014 at 08:22 AM by Banana Cat

 egg3

So, I don’t like dying eggs. And I mean that in the Easter/other nondenominational spring festival way, not eggs that are in the process of no longer living, although I suppose that’s something I don’t like either because it would be pretty morbid if I did. Anyway, even when I was a kid dying eggs sounded fun but never actually delivered on the fun factor. Everything we touched smelled like vinegar for days. My brother and I would fight over who got to use which colors first, and then we’d put our eggs in the dye and wait…and wait…and wait. Then we’d take out the eggs, attempt to carefully stand them up to dry, then bump each other’s elbows and smudge up the dye job and then accidentally crack the eggs and in the end we’d have maybe three or four good eggs out of a couple dozen and be angry at each other in a sibling kind of way. When I was a teenager I swore to never dye eggs again…and now, many years later I find myself with a child old enough to decorate eggs. I still don’t want to dye eggs and after laughing hysterically at museum-quality Pinterest Easter eggs carefully decorated with dainty vintage lace and suspiciously smudgeless calligraphy, quite clearly not done by a harried mother of two, I stumbled across the idea of using crayons to melt onto freshly hardboiled eggs for a melted look. I like the melted, marbled look and goodness knows a harried mother of a two year old has millions of crayons sitting around. I also wanted to make egg salad and so combined a toddler art project and my lunch cravings together to make melted crayon spring eggs.

Step 1

Boil thine eggs, using your preferred process. You want the eggs hot or else the whole thing won’t work so plastic eggs are not an option. You might be able to use blown eggshells if you drop them in super hot water for a few minutes, but I haven’t tried that so I don’t know how it would work. If you try it and it does, let me know!

Defining Minimalism

Posted 03-18-2014 at 03:04 PM by 2+2macht4

minimilism

The term minimalism is not nearly as obscure as it once was. Stories of those choosing to live more meaningful lives with less are becoming more commonplace. All the while many misconceptions continue to prevail. What exactly is minimalism? Here is a look at what minimalism is, as well as what it is not.

Minimalism

A minimalist lifestyle is best described as one in which a person chooses to live more mindfully, to strip away the excess possesstions and fight against the consumerism that has become embedded into our daily lives. It is choosing to live not only with what you need but also with the things that bring joy and happiness into your life. When we begin to peel away the excess layers of stuff we can start to take a deeper look at how our possesions contribute to or hinder our happiness and productivity. The choice to live with less is not an easy one, and certainly not in a society that perpetually bombards us with the idea that success is measured by how much or what we own.