This post was linked up for Wordless Wednesday. To show your own photo love, visit Project Alicia.
I was excited this week when I saw one of the VlogTalk prompts was to vlog about something you are currently obsessed with. My obsession? Hearing my baby laugh. One thing I have learned as a new mom: the crazier I act, the more Little K will laugh. And believe me, I act crazy…from making toys out of nothing to singing Metallica. Whatever makes baby laugh, I do. And sometimes I’m even lucky enough to catch those contagious giggles on camera.
What are you currently obsessed with? Can anyone top this cuteness? Hope you all had a lovely 4th!
I am a gal who loves to be on the go. Living on a budget can sometimes hinder my ability to just do as I please. I always like to say if I can help my family save money in one place, we can spend the leftovers doing things we love to do like eating out, going to local attractions or maybe, one day, take a vacation (like on an airplane!).
There are thousands of money-saving blogs out there and it can be hard to cut through the clutter. I follow quite a few and let me tell you – the gals that run these websites work their tails off. To give some props to them, I’m highlighting 5 blogs I love learning from. I highly suggest following them on Twitter and Facebook as well, so you never have to worry about missing a deal!
1. Frugal Girls – This is one of the money-saving blog behemoths, and for a good reason. The information on the site is organized well and doesn’t just highlight coupons. My favorite posts include chic & crafty DIY projects, a big list of Pampers Gift to Grow codes and the awesome list of birthday freebies. National in scope. Follow: Facebook | Twitter
2. Free Is My Life – I love FIML because she has a great variety of items and mostly everything is FREE or very low cost. Plus, she does a lot of great giveaways that mainly just require entering your information. Another added bonus: her morning tweets/FB posts about how much she loves free are always entertaining. Mix of national and metro Detroit deals. Follow: Facebook | Twitter
3. Deal Seeking Mom – This mom of 5 is one heck of a deal catcher. I love her coupon scenarios – makes it much easier for a novice like me to understand. I love how she says she can help “squeeze champagne out of a tap water budget.” Favorite features include her calendar and the baby freebies section. National in scope. Follow: Facebook | Twitter
4. Bargains To Bounty – This is a great blog to follow for a good mix of deals. The gal behind it does a great job capturing a variety of ways to save money – from posting local garage sales to answering readers questions on how to save. One thing I am continuously impressed with is the feedback received on Facebook – it is one of the most interactive pages I follow. Love seeing others helping all of us try to save! Many national deals, but also regional (metro Detroit) scope. Follow: Facebook | Twitter
5. The Couponing Journey – First off, I feel like I know the website owner, Robyn. If you join her email list, she sends a daily email including fun personal details of her life, which is kind of nice to see in lieu of only a list of deals. I love her e-books and menu ideas she has posted. Plus, the site is really organized and she does a great job compiling weekly store/coupon match-ups that can inspire all of us to use our coupons wisely. National in scope, but happy to say she’s a Michigander! Follow: Facebook | Twitter
What are your favorite money-savings blogs?
Thanks to Plum Organics for sponsoring my post about fun kid photos and the stories behind them. Enter Plum’s “Babies for Yum Caption Contest” on Facebook and you could win a $100 gift card or Plum goodies.
I’m stepping back in time today to four months ago…this is the second installment in this series. To read the first, see here.
Dear baby girl,
My have you grown during the past few months. It’s amazing how we can’t see the changes happen before our eyes, but daddy and I look at your pictures everyday and see the difference each day seems to make.
First of all, your eyes. They say a baby’s eyes do not stop changing until they are a year old. So far, your eyes have turned the most vibrant shade of blue. I prayed to God to give you blue eyes, because those are the eyes that made me fall in love with your daddy. I’m thankful my prayer was answered.
We’ve also been blessed with your sleep schedule. We’re lucky that you’ve been sleeping through the night for awhile, but we are realistic and know this could change at the drop of a hat, so we don’t talk you up too much. We worry we’ll give you a baby ego.
You’ve started to eat solids and you love oatmeal. I’m guessing you’re going to have your dad’s appetite, which is good – we want you to grow strong.
For being so itty-bitty, you sure make an incredible amount of noise. I just know you are going to be a chatterbox like me. Just don’t get in trouble for talking in class all the time like I did growing up.
You suck your thumb. Everyone suggests putting a pacifier in…well, you are not a fan. People warn me your teeth will be a mess. Daddy and I are not worried in the slightest. We’re just banking you’ll give it up a few years from now. Please try to hold up your end of the bargain.
During the past few weeks, you’ve made it clear you don’t need to be rocked to sleep anymore – you prefer your space. Daddy and I feel lucky in some regards that you do that, but part of us already misses rocking you and watching your eyes roll back as you start to fall asleep in our arms.
We took you to daycare for the first time a few weeks ago. I held it together OK, although my instincts were telling me something was off. Daddy lost it. He couldn’t stand the fact someone we didn’t know, was watching you for 9 hours a day. We both hated the way they let you just lay there all day without any stimulation. We hated the way we felt after leaving you and commuting with you for nearly 2 hours. We decided this wasn’t what we want for you.
We made a decision for me to put my career on hold. I could never regret being lucky enough to be able to watch you grow.
It’s impossible to fathom how you, such a little being, could fill our hearts with so much love. Thank you for showing us that the nice things money can buy pales in comparison to the love we feel holding you.
We look forward to continuing to learn from you.
Mom and Dad
This past Saturday was great. It was one of those days the hubby and I decided to not make plans for because we just don’t get a ton of free weekends these days between events with friends and family.
So we decided to let the day lead us where it wanted to go…
In the morning, I drove around to neighborhood garage sales and found $20 worth of fun treasure, including a mini wine rack, some barely used kids books, toys and clothes and three antiques (a tin from 1914, and a side table and chair from the 1940’s).
After working in the yard for awhile, we decided to take a drive out to Meadowbrook Gardens, a local gem, to walk around. I had fun playing with my camera settings.
On the way home, I scored this cute rocking chair for $5 from yet another garage sale I begged the hubby to stop at.
We went to church (we’re Catholic, so there’s mass on Saturdays)…and Little K was quiet [somewhat]. All the hymns we sang were my favorites.
We ate a delicious grilled chicken dinner on the patio.
And after Little K was in bed, the hubby and I hung out on our backyard swing, discussing life with some Leinenkugel summer brews.
It was just a perfect summer Saturday.
What’s your idea of a perfect Saturday?
For this week’s VlogTalk, I’m talking about three of my favorite outfits…because I couldn’t just choose one. I wouldn’t say I’m extremely fashionable, but I do love to just have fun with clothing…and I l-o-v-e accessories. And, lo and behold, my favorite little accesory makes an appearance, so you have to watch until that part at the very least!
Since summer gathering season is upon us and I’ve gotten a few requests to post this, I’m sharing a fun, easy recipe today.
I love being married for many reasons, but one reason that stands out is all the new recipes I have received from my husband’s [giant] family during the past several years. I learned of this one awhile back and have made it for a few social occasions since and received rave reviews. I love it because it’s inexpensive to make, easy to prep in a pinch and tastes delish. Disclaimer: this is NOT healthy.
Health Bar Dessert Dip
8 oz. regular cream cheese, softened
¼ cup brown sugar
½ jar of hot fudge
½ bag of Heath Toffee pieces (can be found in the baking aisle)
8×8 pan (or a decorative plate)
1. Mix cream cheese and brown sugar together until creamy. Spread into the bottom of a pan or plate.
2. Heat ½ of a jar of hot fudge in the microwave for 30 seconds or until warm. Layer on top of the cream cheese mixture. (Definitely lick the spoon after!)
3. Sprinkle approx. ½ of Heath pieces bag on top.
4. Serve with pretzel twists.
What are your go-to recipes for summer gatherings?
Ever wonder what to get as a baby shower gift for a new mama? With aisles and aisles of colorful items, it can be hard to cut through the clutter. Try these items to nab a gift that is not only budget-friendly at under $50, but also extremely useful.
- Bumbo – OK, this, along with the Boppy might be the most ridiculous baby product names ever (and you’ll probably mix them up – everyone does), but whatever – they work! The Bumbo is a portable seat that comes in handy when feeding a little one solids on the road (or for a summer picnic, perhaps?). Add a tray (sold separately), and voila!, meal time without the bulk of a highchair. It’s especially helpful when first introducing solids or when baby isn’t quite ready to sit up on his/her own. Babies love it because it gives them a whole new view of the world. Price range: $30-$40, Tray approx. $10. (These are great to look for at garage sales and Mom-to-Mom sales.
- ItzBeen Timer – Another invention to make a mom’s life easier. This little timer helps to track how much time has passed since the last diaper change, feeding, naptime and which breast you fed from last. Especially during those first weeks of getting acclimated, it’s crucial. As a new mom, it’s hard to remember when the last time you ate was, let alone when the baby ate. So helpful and worth every penny. Price range: $20-$25
- Homedics Sound Spa Lullaby Machine – This little machine not only produces a variety of sounds including a few lullabies, a heartbeat, the ocean and rain, but it also has a neat light projector with different scenes to lull baby to sleep (think counting sheep). We live in a ranch that is 40 years old and has wood floors that reallllly creak. This little noisemaker saves us from waking up our little gal every time we go to sleep or get up in the morning. Plus, it’s only $19.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond…that’s means $15 with a $5 off coupon! Little K has been sleeping through the night since 8 weeks…and I swear it’s because of this little device. Price range: $20-$30
- Boppy – This funky-shaped pillow isn’t the cheapest thing, but darn, it’s helpful. In fact, I can’t nurse my baby very comfortably without it. Yes, a regular pillow works, but it’s not as supportive or conducive to your body’s curves. My husband also likes to use it when he bottle feeds her. For many moms, it’s the perfect solution for a comfortable nursing experience. I just wish I invented it! Price range: $25-$40, fun covers are additional costs at varying prices.
- A Portable Seat/Swing – How else can a mama shower? I especially like the Fisher Price Infant to Toddler Rocker since it can be used for a few years. A lot of folks buy the big, expensive swings that take up a TON of room and are hard to move. If you have small living quarters like we do, I’d suggest trying a portable swing or rocker. Approx. price range: $40-$70 (versus $120-$200 for the full size swings).
There are tons of other great baby products out there and I’m still new at this myself…what are your favorites?
Because I LOVE making lists, I jumped at the chance to create a summer bucket list. Unlike my usual new years resolution lists, this should all be completely attainable – and low-cost – after all, I’m a gal on a tight budget.
Here are 50 things I hope to do for myself and with my family this summer:
1. Make bubbles and show Little K the magic
2. Feel sand between my toes…with an adult beverage in my hands
3. Build a sand castle for Little K and let her feel the sand in her hands
4. Watch a sunrise
5. Watch a sunset
6. Learn more about photography…and take TONS of photos
7. Read a new book (The Help is next on my list – didn’t get The Help yet, but read books!)
8. Taste some new Michigan-made wine and beer
9. Learn to make more exciting baby purees
10. Go to the Detroit Zoo as much as possible to maximize our membership
11. Feed the neighborhood ducks
12. Go to a local water park with Little K
13. Encourage Little K to crawl (she’s 8 months and still not very interested)
14. Learn some new summer recipes
15. Walk the gardens at Meadowbrook, a local gem
16. Pick blueberries to freeze
17. Eat ice cream for dinner
18. Plant some flowers (Yes, I still haven’t…)
19. Post on this blog 5 days a week (eek!)
20. Take a long walk each day…without my cell phone
21. Remember to kiss my husband and say “I love you” at least once a day
22. Gaze at the stars
23. Volunteer at a local event
24. Watch fireworks
25. Make a new summer song playlist
26. Enjoy a bonfire
27. Attend another Tiger’s baseball game
28. Ride a jetski
29. Take Little K on her first pontoon ride
30. Swim in multiple lakes
31. Go on a picnic
32. Do something to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary…finally (plans set!)
33. Go on a hike through the woods
34. Capture photos of a rainbow
35. Tube down a river with girlfriends
36. Read books to Little K on our outdoor swing
37. Go to a new local farmer’s market
38. Check out an event at a local library
39. Visit Eleanor and Edsel Ford House to tour the grounds
40. Hear live music outdoors
41. Check out neighborhood garage sales for hidden treasures
42. Attempt to speak with my neighbors more
43. Get a free slurpee from 711 on 7/11 (FAILED!!! But got a slurpee on another day!)
44. Make my favorite summer treat – fruit pizza
45. Try a new, fun local place to eat (Hippo’s Hot Dogs to be specific)
46. Go to the movies…since I haven’t been in 8+ months
47. Take some bike rides with Little K in her trailer
48. Walk the Dequindre Cut in Detroit
49. Eat every meal outside at least for one day
50. Wake-up everyday with a smile…because the sun is shining and we are blessed.
I’d love to make this list 100 things to do! Feel free to drop me a comment with any ideas of fun, low-budget things to do with a baby who is >1 year old.
Thanks, Mama Kat for the fun prompt!
As usual, I was faced with a dilemma…too many photo-worthy things happened during this past week and I couldn’t just pick one picture to talk about. So, I present my fun week in photos:
If you’re interested in seeing more photos of Wienermobile fun, be sure to check out my album on Facebook here.
Mmmm…nothing says summer like a cool cocktail – especially when you’re not pregnant (yet!). Watch my video below to learn how to make an easy drink I think I invented and dubbed the Marilyn Monroe. Let’s just say it’s an adult spin on a kid classic. This video is intended for those 21+. ((And don’t you like the subtitle it froze on? I promise it’s a tasty drink!))
Yesterday I discussed my recent lapse of baby amnesia. Yes, I love babies. But having two of them, under my care until they’re at least 18? SCARY. It already takes me an additional hour to go anywhere with Little K. What would two babes do to my planning?
To qualm my fears, I decided to turn to my Fairy Blogmother, Elena of Mommy Is In Timeout for some advice. You should read her blog because it’s incredibly well-written. Plus, she’s literally a neighbor of mine, living just a few miles away. She has two adorable boys, Lanagan, 3½ and Cooper, 18 months, and one funny hubby named Charlie. She was kind enough to respond to some questions I sent her regarding how adding to your brood may change your world. Here’s her insight:
How was pregnancy different with Cooper? Were you more relaxed than you were with Lanagan? I dread it’s going to be crazy difficult while chasing around a little one.
The biggest difference when I was pregnant with Cooper was not resting whenever I wanted. I had an 18 month old causing level 5 mass chaos around the house. When I came home from work, it was go time the moment I walked in the door. It definitely made the pregnancy physically exhausting.
My body was also generous enough to treat me with 24/7 sickness the second time around. It was hard to explain to a toddler why Mommy couldn’t make his favorite snack because the smell of it would send her into a dramatic reenactment of her college days after a night out.
As far as being more relaxed – that’s a little hard to say. I had a miscarriage before Cooper, so under the circumstances, I was probably a little bit more apprehensive than before. I still consider myself that I was an easy-breezy preggo lady. I’m sure Charlie would disagree with that memory.
Did Lanagan act out when Cooper came along?
Lanagan was still fairly young when Cooper was born (2 years, 3 months). I don’t think he truly realized what was going on. I remember when he came to the hospital, all he wanted to do was eat my ice chips. The little baby I was holding was secondary to the crunchy frozen cubes of goodness.
I think the hardest thing for him to understand was that I couldn’t lift him after the delivery since I was recovering from a C-section.
Is it that awful to have two in diapers at once?
Oh, the two-kids-in-diapers days. We just potty trained Lanagan in April, so for 16 months, we had two in diapers. When Lanagan was finally done, I considered having some type of small ceremony out in the yard. Nobody RSVP’d yes, so I cancelled it.
When we were diapering the two, we worked out an assembly line in our bedroom. (Tip: we actually put the changing table in our bedroom so we didn’t have to buy two. Can make for a smelly romantic evening, but after a while you’re just immune to it.)
Between Charlie and I, we’d bring both of them to the diaper table and we each had our roles. Charlie would tell you his role was to actually change them while I just stood there talking and bossing him around. This is all true.
The hardest part is when you’re out and about with them on your own. Trying to change two kids in a public restroom – especially the momma-hater establishments without changing tables – is an art in and of itself. Changing one child, while locking down the other one with your leg to prevent playtime in the toilet, are skills they just don’t teach you in parenting classes.
Do you have any tips to share about balancing two?
Having 2 (or more) is definitely a balancing act. It is the definition of spinning plates.
I remember the first night we brought Cooper home. He was crying because he was hungry. Lanagan didn’t like the Taco Bell dinner I had slaved over preparing for him. Everyone was crying. Including me. Charlie and I stood in the hallway, looked at each other and knew we needed a game plan.
Forget using zone, it was time to switch to man-to-man. Since I was the lactation station, Charlie put me on baby duty and he was on Lanagan. I still contest it was all a ruse since Lanagan was the one that slept through the night.
Now that they’re older, we often switch up who we’re covering, but still use the same defensive tactic to this day.
The biggest thing is to not get stressed. One of them might have to wait, because you’re getting something for the other. They’ll adapt. I calm my mommy guilt by telling myself it will teach them patience. Their future wives may actually just thank me.
Do the boys get along being fairly close in age?
They are just now starting to play together really well. I can’t really leave them alone too long because I’m convinced they discuss devious plans on how to best test my parenting abilities.
Seriously though, some of the best moments of my life are when they hug or Lanagan tells Cooper that he loves him. There’s nothing like seeing your kids affectionate with each other.
Last fall, Lanagan would introduce people to his brother and best friend. He would say “Name’s Cooper” and point to him. It was the sweetest thing ever.
Thank you, Elena, for answering these questions in such an honest manner. I laughed a whole lot, I teared up at the last part, and honestly, it just made me feel good about the fact that I may not wait too much longer before starting the chaos of pregnancy all over again.
If anyone has any additional tips to share, please leave a comment. I need all the advice I can handle!