What Moms REALLY Want for Mother’s Day

Mother's Day

Each year I watch as mom’s all around me give the loving, “Oh. You shouldn’t have!” to husbands and kids on Mother’s Day. It seems that although Dad’s and Kids love their mom, they just don’t seem to be any good at treating them thoughtfully on Mom’s day. For the mom’s who do enjoy their gifts, it’s usually the quintessential “woman-friendly” gift of flowers, candy, dinner, etc. But Mom’s work REALLY hard all year long and giving their Mother’s Day gift 30-seconds of thought just seems a little lame.

And so, as a mother I am compiling a list of thoughtful and loving gifts that mom’s would actually enjoy. Pick from this list and you’re sure to make your wife/mother the envy of Continue reading

DIY Baby Food…Healthy and Frugal!

I’ve known since I was pregnant with my little girl that I wanted to make her food myself. The idea that I prefer fresh and homemade for myself but would feed my baby only store-bought, processed foods didn’t make sense to me. And, since my dear husband had already gifted me a super-awesome Ninja Blender I knew I could do it!

Baby Food Storage Ad.pngAs a side note, making your own baby food really isn’t a very difficult process, but it could be if you don’t have a good quality blender. I am as frugal as they come, but there are times in life when we just have to spend a little more money to have a good quality product. Blenders are one of those products that are worth spending a little more on. I LOVE my Ninja Blender! From pureeing baby food, to smoothie making, to food processing it does it all and does it well! I have a friend who swears by her Brevel, and I’m sure it’s great as well, but I’ll stick with what I know for now.

Before you get started on your baby food project, do your research on foods that are safe for your baby at his/her current age and get an idea of what consistency your food should be. My daughter is 7 months old and still mostly enjoys purees, but at times can tolerate some lumpiness so I make her food accordingly.

My guess is that if you’re reading this, you already have a list of reasons why you want to make your own baby food. Maybe you’re concerned about additives or processing, maybe you want all organic ingredients, or maybe you want to save a little money. Well, if you’re on the fence, let me just push you onto the side of savings. I’ve broken down today’s cost for you in this cute little chart…

Baby Food Cost Comparison

Here I’m going to show you how to make Butternut Squash puree, Apple puree, Apple Baby Bullet Ad.pngBanana puree, and Apple Blueberry puree. I tend to make a nice big batch of Continue reading

An Awesome Guide to Cloth Diapering with Prefolds and Covers

DSC01751When my husband and I decided to cloth diaper our daughter we wanted to do it in the most cost-effective way possible. See my previous article on How I Saved $1,000’s on Diapers, here. For us that was to go with prefolds and covers. In addition to being cost friendly, we also found them to be easy to use, simple to launder, and super adorable. But that knowledge didn’t come easy. I combed through dozens of forums and blogs trying to find accurate information on their use and it literally took months of research to figure out the how’s and why’s of using this diaper system. So, after 7 months of trial and error I have decided to offer to the world my ultimate guide on using prefolds and covers.

THE COST OF PREFOLDS AND COVERS…

There are a few simple reasons why using prefolds and covers is actually more cost-effective than using all-in-ones (AOI’s) or pocket diapers.

1. The diapers themselves are less expensive. It’s common to find a good quality prefold for around $10 or $12 where the same diaper in an AOI style may cost you twice that Continue reading

How I Saved $1,000’s on Diapers!

diapers

Diapers. Seemingly the root of all evil. Parents spend thousands of dollars each year to buy disposable papery things that simply catch poop and then hang out in a landfill for a couple of hundred years. Oh, boy. I personally cannot think of a better way to spend my hard-earned money. Right. But, it seems like there is no way around it. I mean, we have to keep our babies tushies clean and dry, and so we spend away just hoping that whatever brand we’ve chosen actually does the trick. I mean, what parent hasn’t experienced the dreaded “blowout” on the ONE day that they forgot to pack an extra outfit?

Before I had even conceived my daughter, I was already looking for ways to save on her care and I knew that diapers were one of the largest expenses in the early years. I was frustrated at finding that the less expensive diapers had poor reviews and even though there were coupons and shipping clubs, it seemed that in the end we were going to spend thousands of dollars diapering this child from birth to potty training. Until I discovered cloth.

Rumparooz ad   Prefold Ad.png   Wetbag.png   Bidet Ad.png

The world of cloth diapering is vast and is growing in popularity every day. Brick-and-mortar cloth diaper stores are still rare, so online forums and groups are the best places to find information. Options are plenty with seemingly endless brands, from one-size-fits-all to sized, and options such as all-in-ones, pockets, prefolds and flats. And to spite the conflicting and often confusing information online, cleaning and caring for cloth is actually quite simple.

My husband and I wanted something easy and cost-effective. We decided to go with prefolds and covers which are easy to assemble, go on and off much like a disposable diaper, and were the most cost effective option we could find. We loved the different patterns and colors available in the covers and the trimness of the diapers (that can be quite important with cloth). Before our daughter was even born we had stocked up on everything we would need for her entire diapering journey. She is now 7 months old and we have not spent a single dollar on diapers (except the occasional pack of Pampers to use on long trips away from home). And for the record, those dreaded blowouts that I mentioned don’t happen with cloth. Seriously! But, more on that later.

How much did we spend? Here’s the breakdown…

Cloth Diaper Cost Breakdown

$405 might sound like a lot of money (it does to me), but it is far from what you might spend on disposables in even the first year of your baby’s life. Babycenter.com estimates that disposable diapers cost about $72 monthly bringing your first year cost to $864, more Continue reading

How La Leche League Saved Me from PPD

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One of the first things I thought about after finding out I was pregnant with my daughter was Postpartum Depression. I had recently watched a close friend go through some pretty tough times after PPD took over her life and I was terrified that the same could happen to me. What was worse was the knowledge that PPD seems to run in my family and I couldn’t shake the fear that I was doomed to struggle through the first year of my baby’s life. Many lengthy discussions with my father, sister, grandmother and friends happened as I awaited my first appointment with the midwife. I told everyone I could think of to watch me closely after having the baby and to force me to seek out a mental health professional if they saw any signs of depression. I was determined to prepare my family!

Unfortunately, my pregnancy came with some complications. Due to what my doctor called a “dynamic cervix” I was at a high risk for going into pre-term labor and was hospitalized for a period of time to keep that from happening. Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse my neighbor called me to tell me that my house was on fire! There I was, hospitalized and terrified that our baby would come to soon and our house was on fire! Thankfully my dutiful neighbors were able to save my pets AND our home in our absence. Once I was sent home I was ordered to strict bedrest for the remainder of my pregnancy. The next few months were a truly terrible time for me. I am a get-up-and-go kind of girl who likes to get things done and do them myself. I DO NOT like to be waited on or allow others to take care of my responsibilities. And yet here I was, watching as my family pulled together to take care of my pets, household chores, cooking, shopping, etc. and my husband worked constant overtime to make up for my lost wages. All while our house was being worked on to repair smoke/fire damage. I couldn’t have been more grateful for their help but as I laid on our couch day after day I was sinking deeper and deeper into a depression.

One would think that an experience like mine would just slide a person right into post partum depression. But, something about those post-birth hormones gave me just enough of a boost to do something before things got worse! I knew I needed to take action, and soon! I made it a goal to shower every single day and to engage in adult conversation with at least one person each day. One day after being released from the hospital and I was out and about with my baby! I know some people feel that a new mom and baby should stay inside for a certain period of time, but I needed freedom. I needed my life back! However, even with that determination I was finding it easy to slip into long days on the couch, just breastfeeding and moping around. Thankfully I was soon saved by La Leche League.

La Leche League is a group that meets locally (there are local groups all over the world) to discuss breastfeeding and other mothering issues. There is a leader at each meeting who tries to keep things on track and who is the expert on breastfeeding and breastfeeding resources.  I was 3 weeks post partum when my local chapter was having their monthly meeting, and it was within walking distance of my house! I figured that I would go, just to do SOMETHING that day, and so I packed up my tiny little one and headed out the door. It seemed upon arrival that I was not the only first-timer. In fact, most of us (we were a group of maybe 8 or so) were just nervously tending to our babies while waiting for the leader to begin the class and break the nervous tension. I don’t know why we were all so nervous because as soon as the meeting got rolling we all quickly bonded over our experiences as mothers!  That was it! That was what I needed! I just needed to connect with others who understood what I was going through at that particular time, and La Leche League gave me the opportunity to connect in that way. Not only that, but it connected me with moms who were members of other mom’s groups and before I knew it my days were transformed from long and lazy to busy and connected. I was going on playdates and walking at the park with other moms. I even connected with a mom who attended a church that I had wanted to try! The network of moms that I have joined up with is truly amazing and I 100% believe that it is what saved me from a long period of PPD! For being my motivation out of the house, and connecting me with other moms who understood my current situation, I couldn’t be more grateful to LLL!

If you’ve ever witnessed a mother going through Postpartum Depression, you know how difficult it can be for her and her family and I do believe that for some it is unavoidable. Some moms need medication and psychotherapy and I would encourage anyone who thinks that they may be in that boat to ask for help. But, if you are fortunate enough to be like me and just need the right situation to keep you going, networking is key! Meetup.com has tons of available groups and La Leche League has meetings all over the world. Don’t be nervous. All the other moms are probably feeling the same way. Just take that first step and go to a meeting. You won’t regret it!