Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mom's Favorite Baby Finds and Must Have Items for 2015

Are you expecting a baby!  If so congratulations!  Whether you are a new mom or a mom who hasn't had a baby in a long time you may be wondering with all of the new baby gadgets on the market what are the ones that are the best buy.  Here is a look at what mom's say are their favorite baby finds and must have items for 2015.

Fisher Price Rock 'n Play
The Fisher Price Rock 'n Play seems to be at the top of many a new mom's wish list.  I had a very similar item when my fifteen year old daughter was born but it was much lower to the ground than this model.  The reason so many moms love the Fisher Price Rock 'n Play is for it's versatility.  It can easily be moved from room to room during the day for baby to nap in, it is portable enough to take with you for use when you aren't at home, and some moms even use it at night beside their own bed for baby to sleep in, as it is a much safer alternative to co-sleeping.  Babies who suffer from reflux seem to do well in it as it keeps babies upper body slightly elevated.

Nose Frida
So when I first heard of the Nose Frida I thought that it was the grossest thing ever!  The Nose Frida is a nasal aspirator that allows you to suck baby's snot out of their nose with.....your mouth.  I know!  However, the Nose Frida actually works and you don't end up with snot in your mouth.  It is much more effective than the little blue bulb aspirator that you get in the hospital.  And in the end baby can breathe, which is what matters.

My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow
When I had my first child the Boppy pillow was all the rage.  I could never get it to work right.  All of the issues that breastfeeding mom's had with the Boppy seem to be solved with the My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow which makes it rank at the top of many new mom's must have list.

SwaddleMe Adjsutable Infant Wraps
Swaddling your baby is an art form, and one that I had a hard time perfecting with my first child.  However, when you got the swaddling right it was amazing.  With the SwaddleMe adjustable infant wraps swaddling is made easy.

The Woombie keeps baby warm at night and is a much safer alternative than covering baby up with a blanket for the night.  

Dr. Boudreaux's Butt Paste
There are lots and lots of diaper ointment creams on the market but this is the one that wants.  It does wonders and is an absolute must have for your nursery!

Euro Spa Bath and Changing Table
The Euro Spa Bath and Changing Table is another item at the top of many mom's must have list.  It acts as a changing center with plenty of space to store wipes, diapers, and all of the items you need for diaper changes, while also having a tub to wash baby in.  It's height is perfect for mom's, and it is portable.

Other Must Have Items 
Nail Clippers - the ones specially designed for babies are best

Onesies - in the winter you can layer them, in the summer they are perfect for wearing by themselves

Cloth Diapers - diapers are expensive and cloth diapers are a much cheaper alternative, while also being better for the environment.  There is no need for the fancy ones, the simple ones work just as well.

Socks - these seem to get lost so easy, so having plenty on hand will be a blessing.

Baby Carrier - There are all kinds of baby carriers available on the market and the kind that works best will vary from individual to individual.  I have to add a word of warning will come with these, if you decide to breastfeed while wearing your baby please be careful.  My sister had a very close call with my niece who fell asleep while breastfeeding in a baby carrier.  

Swing - the time that baby spends in the swing is the only relief that some new mom's get.  For many babies the soothing rocking of the swing is the only thing that will comfort them, or let them sleep.

Lanolin and breast pads - if you are a nursing mom these are a must

Formula - even if you plan on breastfeeding exclusively it is recommended that you keep some formula on hand in case for some reason you have to have it.

Wipes Warmer - this is especially important in the colder months but I used mine all year long

Hands Free Breast Pump - When your hands are full of a little one all day, having a hands free breast pump will allow you to read, surf the internet or even fold clothes while you pump.

Infant Night Gowns - You will be changing your baby's diaper a lot during those first weeks, and you will be sleep deprived.  Using night gowns instead of sleepers means you have no zippers or snaps to mess with when changing diapers.

Hats - Babies lose the majority of their body heat through their head.  No matter what the season is baby hats can help keep baby warm in the winter months or in the cool air conditioning.

Convertible Car Seat - while infant seats can be tempting a convertible car seat will last you much longer than a newborn seat making it a much better investment from the beginning.

Gas Drops, Teething Drops, Baby Tylenol - These are items you will want to keep on hand, as they are not things you will want to be running out to the store at 2 AM to purchase.  Purchasing ahead of time won't be a waste of money - you will use them at one point or another!

Behind the Ear Thermometer - Less invasive than other thermometers, it works quickly and is great to use with a fussy baby.

Are you a mom on a budget?
Check out our post - Tips for Saving Money During Baby's First Year

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Saving Money on Groceries at Meijer Without Clipping Coupons

I have mentioned time and again on this blog that I am on a tight budget when it comes to grocery shopping.  I am always looking to save as much as I can when it comes to groceries.  While I still clip coupons I don't use many of them because they are for foods we don't eat.  The majority of the coupons I use are for laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, household items, and health care.  One of my favorite stores to shop at is Meijer.  Meijer offers a mPerks program that you can use in addition to coupons, or you can use if you don't use coupons.

In the last month I have saved $56.34 by using mPerks.  My weekly food budget is $125 so this is nearly half of one weeks grocery budget for my family.  

You can sign up for mPerks by visiting Meijer's website.  Once you sign up for this free program you simply go online to chose from Rewards and coupons that you digitally clip.  To use these coupons and rewards at the store, you enter your phone number and pin on the credit card pad at checkout.  

When you sign in to mPerks you can choose from Rewards or Coupons.  My favorite part of the program is the Rewards part.  When you choose the Rewards tab you can choose Rewards that you want to start earning.  These are both generalized rewards and specialized rewards.  You have four weeks to earn these rewards.  The Reward that I use each month is $6 off your shopping trip when you spend $175.  The $175 does not have to be spent in one trip, it can be tallied up over multiple trips.  Specialized rewards that I am earning this month include $5 off your shopping trip when you spend $30 on fresh vegetables in the produce department, $5 off your shopping trip when you spend $30 on Cleaning and Laundry Products, and $5 off your shopping trip when you spend $40 or more in Garden and Floral.  

When you chose the Coupons tab you can digitally clip coupons.  Some of the coupons are similar to those you would find in the Sunday coupons, while others may be a percentage or dollar amount off a certain department purchase.  One coupon currently offered on mPerks is 10%  off your General Merchandise purchase.

Another nice feature of mPerks is that it digitally stores your receipts for you and that you can create your own shopping list with it.  

I am linking this post up to Works for Me Wednesday at Giving up on Perfect.

What I Wore Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The last couple of weeks have been warm, and I was able to wear some spring styles.  This past week however has cooled back off, and it's back to trying to keep warm.  It sounds like we have a couple more weeks of chilly weather before it warms back up for good.

My daughter was sick this week, and I spent Saturday night with her in the ER.  Sleep was not a friend of mine this week as she kept me up most nights.  So I am exhausted in most of these pictures!

Wednesday - School and Shopping
Cardigan - Merona at Target (only plus size left here)
Tank - Merona at Target (here)
Shoes - Macy's (here
Necklace - Amazon (here

Monday - school and grocery shopping
Cardigan - Mossimo from Target (here
cami - old
Pants - Gap (here)
Shoes - old (similar here

Tuesday - date night with my husband
Sweater - same as Orange above Merona at Target (only plus size still available here
Dress - TJ Maxx
Shoes - old

We went out to dinner and to see the play Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  It was such a cute show!  And no we didn't mean to match, it just happened!

And I was even wearing Orchid Ombre Jamberry Nail Wraps (available here).  Which also was not planned!  I guess I am just really liking this color right now.

Wednesday - Taking my daughter to tennis lessons
Top - Daisy Fuentes from Kohl's clearance
pants - Gap (here
Shoes - old (similar here

I am linking up to 


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Will Your Kids Still Homeschool if Something Happens to You? Time To Make a Plan!

Death.  It's inevitable.  However, it also something that we don't like to talk about.  Many of us have wills in place.  Many have life insurance plans.  Many know who will become guardians of our kids should something happen to both parents.  But what about homeschooling?  What would happen to your kid's education if something were to happen to the primary homeschooling parent?  What would happen if something were to happen to both parents?  

This is a topic my husband and I have been recently talking about, and is also a topic that came up today on a homeschooling forum I frequent.  I used to not worry about things like this, I used to think bad things couldn't happen to me.  Then my husband had his car wreck.  The car wreck that left him disabled and unable to work.  It hit home that bad things can happen to me.  So as much as I don't want to think about what would happen if something were to happen to me or my husband it is something that I definitely need to think about.

Sorry, hoping for Mary Poppins to show up in a pinch is not going to work.

What if something happens only to the primary homeschooling parent?
This is something that I have given a lot of thought to.  If something were to happen to me there is enough life insurance to cover tuition to an online homeschooling program, or tuition to a private school.  The online homeschooling program is my first choice, but a private school would be an acceptable alternative.

What if something happens to both homeschooling parents?
For us the same plan is in place for our children's education.  The kids will go to live with their selected guardian, and the life insurance will cover tuition to a private school or online homeschooling program.  

For other families this plan may be different.

Many of my homeschooling friends were homeschooled themselves so the grandparents would take on the responsibility of continuing to homeschool, as they have already done this.  Other homeschooling parents have siblings who are homeschooling their own children.  So the kids in those families would go to live with the aunt or uncle who homeschools and would continue homeschooling with their children.  

Other families are extremely close to their homeschooling friends.  In fact many families have selected another homeschooling family to become guardian of their children if something were to happen.  In this case the students would be able to continue homeschooling with their friends.

Then there are families with no options but to send their kids to public school.

Make a Detailed Plan and Make it Known
Not only is important to discuss your plans with your spouse but it is important to let those who are selected to care for your children after you are gone know of your plan.  After all, they are the ones who will be implementing the plan you create.  And discuss your plans with your kids, this can be done in age appropriate conversations. 

Instead of having generalized plans, like private school or online homeschool programs have detailed ones.  If something were to happen to you there will be a lot for the new guardian and your kids to deal with.  Having detailed plans to implement will make the transition much smoother.  Do your research and update it annually.  Research online homeschool programs, the costs, the enrollment steps, and everything that will be needed.  Then research the private schools in the area that the children will be living in.  Find out what the costs are, what the enrollment guidelines are, and find out what they will need to accept a homeschool student.  Write down this information and place it in a file for the future guardians.

What if the guardian works?
If you do have a family member who is willing to continue homeschooling your kids in the fashion that you have been homeschooling there are still things to consider.  If the guardian works and will need to quit their job, can they afford it?  Whether they can afford it or not, it is a good idea to build a salary for the future guardian into your life insurance.  This will allow them to quit their job to educate their kids without having to suffer financially.

Keep Records and Have Them Accessible
One thing we as homeschoolers don't often do is share pertinent information with our spouses, let alone the future guardian.  If you have a special needs plan in place for your child, it is important that this information be shared with the person who will be homeschooling your child.  They will also need access to school transcripts, grades, etc.  It is important that you keep detailed records and keep them in a file that is accessible to the future guardian.  This will make the transition much smoother, and will be even more important if they have to enroll your student in a public or private school.

Trust Your Guardian
Even with great plans in place it is important that you trust the future guardian to make the best decisions for your student.  While it is important that they understand how important the plans you have made for your child is, it is important that you also know you can't plan for everything that may come up.  You must be able to trust that they will make the best decisions for your child if they can not stick to the plans that you have set or if something unexpected were to occur.

Healthy Stuffed Green Peppers Using Ground Turkey

Five years ago I posted a stuffed green pepper recipe (here) that was full of cheesy goodness, and while it is still a great tasting recipe this stuffed green pepper recipe is for a healthier stuffed green pepper.  Which is exactly what I need right now! 

4 Green Peppers
1 pound ground turkey
2 cups brown rice
1 jar marinara sauce (or even better use homemade sauce)


1.  Remove the top and seeds from green peppers.  Brown ground turkey and cook brown rice.

2.  Mix together ground turkey, brown rice, and marinara sauce.  This will be your stuffing mixture.

3. Fill green peppers with stuffing mixture and place in a greased casserole dish.  Bake for 40 minutes in 375 degree oven.

Trim Healthy Mama - use a sugar free marinara sauce and this is THM compliant.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Menu Plan Monday, April 20-26, 2015

This week is going to be a busy week and this week I am cooking on a budget so my menu will be based around what I have at home, along with inexpensive meal ideas.

Here's what I have planned for this week:

breakfast - cereal
dinner - chicken noodle soup, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches

breakfast - oatmeal, fresh fruit
lunch - sandwiches, pretzels, applesauce
dinner - turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, corn

lunch - chili dogs

breakfast - ham, egg, and cheese sandwiches
lunch - potato soup

lunch - sandwiches, pretzels, applesauce
dinner - salmon croquettes, macaroni and cheese, baked beans

breakfast - cereal
lunch - chicken fried rice
dinner -pork chops and cabbage

breakfast - oatmeal
dinner -sandwiches, pretzel, applesauce

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Gingham Apron Sew Along - Progress Report

My favorite apron pattern has come up missing!  I have no idea where it has gone!  Luckily, Joann Fabrics had Simplicity patterns on sale 5 for $5.  I knew I wanted a vintage inspired apron, so this is the pattern I chose.  I am having a hard time deciding which one to make though.  I prefer full aprons and bought the fabric for a full apron but I am loving the ruffled half apron.....

Unfortunately Joann's didn't have any gingham fabric.  What?!?!?!  I had assumed it would be easy to find gingham fabric.  I guess I was wrong.  

So off to Hancock Fabrics I went to find some fabric.  They did have a small section of gingham and I decided on yellow because we are in the middle of redoing our kitchen and the color will be yellow.

I actually have a lemonade theme picked out for the kitchen, and pink is going to be an accent color.  I am trying to decide now how to add a little pink to my apron to break up the yellow a little.  I am planning on sewing it next week so I have a little bit more time to figure it out.

Of course this wasn't the only pattern and fabric I picked out.  That little piece of fabric and pattern ended up costing me over $50!  Well....sorta.....  I had taken Sunshine to tennis lessons and while we were in town I decided it was a good time to go shopping for the fabric and pattern.  Which meant I was taking Sunshine shopping with me.  BIG MISTAKE!  She is loving maxi skirts right now so we ended up with several skirt patterns and some fabric for her.  And all I wanted was some gingham fabric and an apron pattern!