Thursday, November 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Thanksgiving Blessing Tree

This week I wanted to share a post from the past that is part of our annual November traditions.  It is our Thanksgiving Blessing Tree, something I started several years ago when I wanted to help my kids recognize their blessings.

I wanted a way to help my kids understand the true meaning of Thanksgiving and had seen several versions of Thanksgiving Blessing Trees online.  To make ours I made 21 pockets from felt to count down the twenty days until Thanksgiving, and the last one for Thankgsiving Day itself.  The pockets were sewn rough, they aren't pretty but to me Thanksgiving has a pretty rustic feel to it.  I free hand drew the numbers on felt and cut them out to sew onto the pockets.  For the pocket for Thanksgiving Day I found a Turkey foam sticker at Hobby Lobby to put on it.

After I made the pockets I used a clothespin to clip them onto the ribbon.  I then cut out leaves from construciton paper and placed one leaf for each family member into each pocket, plus one leaf with a Bible verse written on it.  I used several verses that were about Thankgsiving, and being thankful.  For Thanksgiving Day I added extras since we would be having family over for dinner.  I used leaf shaped cookie cutters as stencils for my leaves, and cut them out with scissors. 

After I did all that I drew a picture of a tree onto a piece of poster board (I am not an artist by the way so it's very basic).   I also added a Bible verse about Thanksgiving. 

Each night at the dinner table we would read the Bible verse for the day, then we would each get a leaf and write what we are thankful for on it.  We then share our answers with each other, and let the kids glue the leaves onto the tree, which explains why there is no order to how they are glued on. 

At the end of Thankgiving I roll the poster board up, put a rubber band around it, write the year on the back of it, and store it.  It's been fun to go back and look at our trees from the last two years.  It really gets the kids thinking about Thanksgiving and all the things we have to be thankful for. 

I am linking this post up to:


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month With Your Kids

November is Native American Heritage Month and Leslie Stine is back to share with us some ideas on celebrating it with your kids.  

Native American Heritage Month

November is upon us, which means it is Native American Heritage month. You may be thinking it is important for your children to learn about different cultures. What better way than to learn about them yourself and teach your child? Now you may be thinking how do I teach something I don’t know a lot about? Easy! Everything is online now or something long lost... the library. Do some research yourself; find out what you would like to teach your child about the similarities and differences in cultures.

Native American month makes me think about strengthen, tradition, and family. Some things you can do to get your children learning about these things are, finding which states in the United States derive from Native American words. Another idea is to use “code talk” like the Navajos; your child can then create their own “code talk” you can use as a family to make fun messages. Native Americans language is still used today; a fun way to find out what words are still used is to create a glossary of them with your children. Allowing them to write this will also encourage handwriting skills and cognitive progression. Remember to, a great way to learn and spend time with your family is to get a book about Native Americans from your local library. This encourages reading skills, and reading comprehension.

Now that you have found a way to learn some of the basics of Native American Heritage, let’s talk about ways you can celebrate with your family. Cooking is fun for all ages, and food is always a great way to celebrate. Creating a Native American dish can be a fun and exciting learning experience. Try these: Cherokee fry bread, tin can pumpkin bread, grape dumplings, fried green tomatoes, and cornmeal pudding. Look for those recipes online!

There are other fun ways to create family memories and learn at the same time, one is learning through art. Art teaches children self-expression and a sense of self-reassurance of doing something they are proud of and enjoy. Here are some art ideas that allow your child to self-select materials; these are also good for ages two to adulthood. Create your own dream catcher, allow your child to choose which colors and beads they would like, then in the morning talk about what dreams were found in their dreamcatcher as well as yours. Remember you can used feathers, string, beads, and ribbon to make them.

Rain sticks are another great and inexpensive way to teach your child about Native American heritage. Use things like a toilet paper roll, markers, rice, beads, feathers, and whatever else your child would like to create these.

 Lastly, try something new called Wampum weaving, use pieces of fabric or just plain paper to create a weaving of your own, this will encourage your child to use their fine motor skills as well as their persistence.  

After doing all the activities you can, there is one thing you will know for sure. Nothing is more important than strength in your family. That is something Native American families will always teach us. As a mom you know how special time with your family is, and nothing is better than reliving a tradition you carry with you from your own heritage. Or here is my advice no matter how old your child is start a new tradition today!

 Feel like you are stuck and have nothing new to grow on? Here are some great ideas even for the smallest member of your family:

 Have a family “cook off” once a week. You have to make dinner anyways right? Why not make it fun for the whole family!

Have a family movie night. Place everyone’s name in a hat and pick on out that person gets to choose the movie. Find a fun movie themed snack to go along with it.

 Support each other in event. If you have older and younger children you know this one is big, take the younger ones with you.

Participate in a family event, run a 5k with the whole family. Check what local community events or drives are going on and go together.

We can learn so much from studying the Native American heritage, so join me this month in learning something new and keeping the traditions going. As well as making our own memories along the way.  

I am linking this post up to 

Works for Me Wednesday at Giving Up on Perfect

Menu Plan Monday, November 9 - 15, 2015

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

For the second week in a row I am posting my menu plan on a Tuesday instead of a Monday.  I think that is a testament to how busy I have been.  Last week I left Sunday's dinner on my menu plan open and I filled it with an amazing meal, Spicy Seafood Pasta.  It was a decadent meal that didn't take a lot of preparation.  The recipe calls for clams, but I left them out.  You really should give it a try!

Here's what I have planned for the rest of the week:

Monday - Whole Foods Cinnamon Apple Bacon, Eggs, Hash Browns

Tuesday - Smarty Pants Stroganoff from the new Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook

Friday - Salmon Croquettes, Macaroni and Cheese, Lima Beans

Saturday - Eating Out

Sunday - Home Style Pork Chops with Pan Sauce, Mashed Potatoes

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Teaching Your Kids to Be Thankful

How often do we as kids or adults have the attitude where we can't see what we are thankful for even when it is sitting on the table right there in front of us?  During November many of us spend time thinking about our blessings and it is the perfect time to teach kids about being thankful.  

Leslie Stine is joining us today as a guest writer with tips on how to teach your kids of all ages how to be thankful for what they have.  Leslie has been married to her husband Andy since 2010, and is mommy to a baby girl named June who was born in March, 2013.  Leslie has a degree in Early Childhood Education, specializing in ages 0-3.  I am excited to share Leslie's post today and hope that we will be seeing more of her here at The Modern Day Mom.

Every mom can agree the hardest job in the world is to balance getting and giving your children everything they need and most of what they want, and teaching them how to appreciate it at the same time.  When we are teaching our children life lessons this is a big one, from toddlerhood to teens this is just hard. Here are some ideas that are not your typical “take things away until they appreciate it more”.

Let’s start with some ideas for toddlers, as a small child under the age of three you are naturally self- centered. You are used to relying on mommy, daddy, and caregivers your whole life. By the time your child is the age of two their cognitive abilities are to learn that they are a separate being from you, with thoughts and choices of their own. So how do we teach these little bundles of emotional expressive children to be thankful? We lead by example, telling people around you “thank you”, or “I appreciate you doing this for me”. This creates a reaction of gratuity in their little minds. Also, teaching them the developmentally appropriate response to a kind act done in their favor, especially by a parent, sibling, or caregiver.

Now what about ages three to preteen? At this point your child is vocal and has the abilities to understand empathy. They go from “all about me” toddlerhood, to a more caring and respectful manner. Along with leading by example, at this age there are more hands on activities you can do such as, handwriting thank you cards. This encourages handwriting skills, and a life skill that has been long forgotten. When your child sits down to write a thank you note to someone they truly have to think about the things in their life this person effects and how they make it better. Have your child write a thank you note to someone in their life once a month. Don’t just limit it to special events and times, this continues to keep them thinking about their blessings they have every day.  Another idea is at dinner time or bedtime have your child name at least three things that happened that day that made them feel thankful for all they have.

Now what about the last of those preteen years and teenage years? Now this may seem impossible some days, but your teenager does have it in them to care for other people. Through all the changes in their lives and the way they think, as they gain full independence in their minds, your teachings of life lessons and morals are still in there somewhere. This is the time to teach them to feel good about the things they have but also the things they can do to help others. Teach them that the gift of giving feels good. Lead by example, this is big, you can tell your child “that must be terrible” when watching all those commercials about mistreatment of people or animals. But, if you’re not doing anything they won’t either. This doesn’t mean jump up and send all your extra money to a foundation, this means get online, research the people or places in your local committee that need help. Teach your child that life happens and it is not always good, these people that need help once had what you have and now it is gone for many reasons. This shows your child that there is no way to know what your plan is. Volunteer with your teen at a local food pantry, or homeless shelter. Do this on a week day during the summer or on a weekend in the school year, not just when the holidays come. This teaches your child that people are always in need, and reinforces the ideas that you have many blessings in your life all year round. You may be surprised what happens when your teen starts feeling good about what they can do for other people. Lastly, encourage them to thank the people that are in their lives on a regular basis such as, teachers, coaches, and friends.

A few other ideas that may work for all ages of your family:

.       Make gratitude jar. Fill it with little notes of gratitude throughout the year, (I am thankful we won the game) choose a day each year to open this and read everything good that has happen.

   Celebrate your year. Every birthday make a list of things in your life that you are thankful for right now. Even a three year old could name a few of their favorite things.

  Make a homemade gift list. Help your preschoolers make a list of homemade gift ideas they can make that they know their friends or teachers would like. This teaches them that they can show empathy to others and it feels good to do for others, and it is fun!

       Commit to memory. Memorize your favorite poem, prayer, or Bible passage. It will be helpful to have it there for a little extra support when things get hard.  
Okay, mom hope some of these ideas help, it isn’t easy to teach your child to count their blessings. The more you do it the more it will stick and you will be surprised at the results you may get. Remember to count your blessings every day, even on the days when being a mom is hard.

This post is being linked up to

Menu Plan Monday

I know it's Tuesday, not Monday but can we pretend that I had my meal plan posted on time?  It's been a busy few weeks, and I am excited that fall is here.  I love fall!  And it's pumpkin flavored everything in the stores!  I am going to try making the Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal for Ms. Criddle's Kitchen one day this week for breakfast.  

Here's what else I have planned for the week:
Links to recipes are in Blue

Tuesday - Salt and Pepper Pork Chops, Garlic Red Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts

Wednesday - Chicken Cordon Bleu, Mashed Potatoes, Corn

Thursday - Salmon Croquettes, My Grandmother's Green Beans, Macaroni and Cheese

Friday - Trader Joe's Soy Ginger Cod Fillets, Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley

Sunday - Undecided

Surviving the Daylight Savings Time Change

Did anyone else feel like this last night?  I arrived home from work at 6:15 last night and it felt like it was dark enough to be midnight.  Needless to say, I do not like the time change.  

Tina Good is guest blogging today with a post telling us how to survive the time change.

The main key to successfully surviving the change to Daylight Savings Time is to maintain your normal sleep schedule.  This includes both bedtime and your wakeup time.  Maintaining your regular sleep schedule allows your body to adjust to the change to Daylight Savings Time with little to no fatigue.  It is important to remember that you are essentially getting the same number of hours of sleep, it's just different timing.  Some people adjust well to the fall back change in time because they feel they are gaining an hour sleep of the morning.  However, simply put, if you were going to bed at 9:00 p.m. prior to the change to Daylight Savings Time, then you should continue to go to bed at 9:00 p.m. after the change (even though it is dark earlier).  The same concept is equally as important when it comes to your morning wake-up time.  Do not adjust your wake-up time and cheat your body of the additional hour of morning sleep.   Your body will adjust more quickly to the change in a shorter period of time if you maintain the same number of hours of sleep you were getting prior to the time change.

Studies show anxiety levels increase in many individuals due to the change to Daylight Savings Time.  Increased anxiety can make it more difficult to fall asleep, in addition to the change in time.  It is important not to stress about the time change.  With the change to Daylight Savings Time, if you maintain your normal sleep schedule, your body will still be getting the same number of hours of sleep.  Mood changes are also common with the change to Daylight Savings Time.  The changes in mood could be the result of exposure to less sun during the daylight hours which results in less absorption of Vitamin D.   Studies show Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to symptoms of depression.  Natural light exposure also regulates how and when the sleep inducing substance Melatonin is released from our brain.  By exposing yourself to as much natural light during the day as possible it helps the brain to send important signals which affect your mood, as well as your ability to go to sleep.  Taking a Vitamin D supplement or adding a small dose of Melatonin may help with the initial Daytime Savings Time blues. However, you should always talk to your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.

Some additional tips to alleviate the anxiety induced by the change to Daylight Savings Time include relaxing prior to going to bed.  Relaxation methods vary from reading a book, taking a long bath, to use of natural oils, such as lavender oil, to induce the feeling of relaxation and calmness.  In sum, to successfully survive the change to Daylight Savings Time, stick to your routine, do not stress, and know that the days will begin getting longer less than seven weeks after the start of Daylight Savings Time.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Four Tier Cupcake Stand Tutorial

It's Thursday which means it is time for another Throwback Thursday post.  This week I thought I would reshare the Four Tier Cupcake Stand Tutorial that I originally posted four years ago.  I made this cupcake stand to display cupcakes for my daughter's birthday party.  All of the cupcake stands that I saw in the store were cardboard, flimsy, or didn't fit what I was looking for, so I decided to make my own.  

I will preface this post with the same disclaimer as before I have NEVER, EVER written a tutorial like this nor do I claim to be a great crafter.  In fact, I know I am a messy, non-patient crafter but I am working on that one. 

I started out with one piece of this Tri-Ply 4x4 underlayment that I bought at Michael's.  It was in the $5 to $8 range, I am not sure how much it was because I originally bought it for another project.  From this board my husband cut a 9" square, 15" square, 20" square and 24" square. 

Ignore the rectangles in the above picture I didn't end up using them.  I also used an old wooden broom handle for the center support of the stand.  We cut the broom handle into three 8" pieces.

Using Gorilla Glue Wood Glue (love that stuff) I took the 24" square and glued one support beam in the center of the square.  I allowed this beam to dry completely before I added the 20" square to the top of it.  I continued the glue, let dry process until I had added the 15" and 9" squares as well.  (I hope this makes sense - please feel free to ask questions if it doesn't).  I didn't use anything stronger than glue because the stand isn't going to be handling anything heavier than cupcakes, cookies, or sandwiches.

We ended up using masking tape to hold everything still until it dried completely.  The 20" square was still pretty wobbly, so we ended up adding cutting a dowel rod into 4 pieces and gluing it onto each corner between the 24" and 20" squares for additional support.  (See below for more details)

I painted it white with a quart of Porter Paints White Hi-Hide semi-gloss paint.  It didn't take anywhere near the whole quart and covered the wood easily.

Now were I to make it again here is what I would change:

I don't know that I would make it four tiers, I think three tiers would have been more than adequate.

I would have made more a size difference between the bottom two tiers.  Instead of making it 24" and 20" I would have probably made it 24" and 18" but then I would also have to adjust the top two tier sizes as well.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

When What Your Doing Isn't Working....

When the kids were younger all of our schoolwork was unit study based and interest led.  As my older kids began to reach middle school, and then high school I felt the need to prepare them for college so we opted for classical history and science curriculums.  

I thought that the classical history and science curriculum was the best way to teach older kids.  However, my kids were bored to death of the classical textbook format to history and were not retaining the material the way that they did when we took a more interest led and unit study approach to history.  Last school year at the end of the year we finished our book early and did a few unit studies to finish out the school year.  Those unit studies renewed their interest in learning history and they soaked the information up like sponges.

This school year we are doing things a little bit different and going back to our roots, well sort of.  This year we are going to stay with the formal classical curriculums when it comes to math, writing, and science but for history we are going to do interest based learning.

This week we are learning about September 11th, as the anniversary of this day is this week.  After this unit study we are going to learn about colonial America as we are going to visit Colonial Williamsburg in October.  That trip will be followed up with a unit study about Lewis and Clark as our local history museum has an exhibit about the explorers we plan to visit as part of our unit study.  
As you approach this new school year I encourage you to think about what is working in your school year and what isn't working.  If something isn't working don't keep doing it because you feel like you have to, or because a homeschool how to book tells you that you have to.  My advice is to follow the lead of your kids, and do what is best for them.  Don't be afraid to do something different.

However, when making decisions you need to keep in mind your kid's future plans.  My oldest daughter entered college this year, and is studying political science.  Her career goal is not science or math based, so she could get by with a science program that was not so strenuous.  However, my youngest daughter wants to be a vet, which is very science based.  So for her a strong science program with labs is important.  

I am linking this post up to the Hip Homeschool Hop at the Hip Homeschool Moms.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Menu Plan Monday - August 10-16, 2015

Breakfast - BLT sandwiches
Lunch - Dreamfields pasta with marinara sauce
Snack - fresh veggies
Dinner - chili dogs

Breakfast - sausage links and eggs
Lunch - eating out at Panera
Dinner - Big Mac Salad

Breakfast - Berry Breakfast Cake
Lunch - leftover Big Mac Salad
Dinner - Fajitas

Breakfast - waffles
Lunch - leftover Fajitas
Dinner - Salmon, wild rice

Breakfast - cereal
Lunch - fried pork chops, eggs

Breakfast - oatmeal
Dinner - Festival at church

Breakfast - waffles

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Homeschool Curriculum Review: Christian Kids Explore Biology

It's time for Throwback Thursday - the day that I feature some of my older posts.  For today's Throwback Thursday post I am reposting my review of Christian Kids Explore Biology.  We really enjoyed this curriculum and actually went on to use additional books in the series.

After a lot of researching and searching I decided to use Christian Kids Explore Biology this year for my third and fifth grade daughters. We are loosely following the Well Trained Mind method of education, and were looking for a classical science curriculum that could be used with both girls, and this seemed to fit the bill.

The curriculum is written by Stephanie Redmond, who is a Christian author that has developed a full set of science books that follow the classical method of education. In addition to Christian Kids Explore Biology, she also has written Christian Kids Explore Chemistry, Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space, and Christian Kids Explore Physics. The curriculum is designed for students in third through sixth graders, but my younger son has been following along with no issues whatsoever, making it easily adaptable for younger students.

One of my factors in my decision to go with this program was the fact that the curriculum is written by a Christian author, so Biology is taught with a Christian perspective. However, the curriculum covers both the theory of Evolution and the Big Bang Theory. Even though we are Creationists, I still want my children to understand that there are other theories on how the Earth was created. I do not want them to be in high school or college before they are exposed to these ideas and I want them to be exposed to them for the first time on my terms.

Another factor in my decision for choosing this curriculum was both the cost, and publisher. Christian Kids Explore Biology is published by Bright Ideas Press, who also published Mystery of History, a history curriculum we really like and use. The book is very inexpensive compared to many science curriculums with a list price of just $29.95.

There are thirty-six lessons in the book, with the intention of students covering one lesson a week. I think that they could be covered much more quickly than that however. The book includes review questions for each lesson, coloring pages, hands on activities, experiments, bible memory verses, vocabulary words for each lesson, and plenty of supplemental reading suggestions. The curriculum is very easy to use as is, with minimal prep required on my part as a teacher. The majority of the prep work is running copies, or collecting the items needed for the day’s activity or experiment.

At this point I am absolutely thrilled with my decision to purchase this curriculum, and plan to continue through all of the books in this series by Stephanie Redmond.

Five Signs That Your Refrigerator Needs to be Repaired

Your refrigerator is the most used appliance in your home, and if it goes down it can often lead to chaos.  Luckily, your refrigerator will often show signs that it is need of repairs before it goes completely out.  Here are five warning signs that your refrigerator is in need of repairs.

Food is not as cold as it should be or it spoils quickly.

Food that isn't as cold as it should be, as well as fruits or vegetables that spoil quickly when they are stored in the refrigerator are warning signs that something major is wrong with your refrigerator.  It could mean that your refrigerator is leaking coolant, your refrigerator's thermostat needs replacing, or even that there is something wrong with your refrigerator's compressor.

The refrigerator is making noises.

While older models of refrigerators were quite loud when they were running most modern refrigerators are designed to run quietly.  Listen to how your refrigerator sounds so that if your refrigerator begins making odd noises you will notice.  Among the noises that you should look out for are is a constant humming tone, banging noises or a loud pitched tone.  If the noises are ignored they will only get worse, and ignoring the problem may lead to further damage to your refrigerator.

There is water pooled behind or underneath your refrigerator.

Some water leakage from your refrigerator is normal and you can expect to find water in the refrigerator drain pan.  However if water is overflowing out of the drain pan or is pooled behind your refrigerator it is a sign that there is an issue with your refrigerator. There are many issues that can cause water to leak from your refrigerator.  The issues could range from a cracked drain pan, to the waterline to the icemaker springing a leak, or worn out seals that need to be replaced.

There is frost built up inside of the refrigerator.

Frost building up on the inside of the freezer compartment of your refrigerator can be normal and a sign that the freezer needs defrosting.  Frost that is built up on the inside of the lower compartment of your refrigerator is a sign that you your refrigerator is malfunctioning and may be in need of repairs.

There is sweat on the outside of your refrigerator.
When your refrigerator sweats it is from a build up of condensation on the outside of your refrigerator.  It is normal for a small amount of condensation to build up on the outside of your refrigerator, especially on hot or humid days.   However if your refrigerator has an excessive buildup of condensation on the outside of it is a sign that your refrigerator might be in need of repairs.   

Monday, April 27, 2015

Menu Plan Monday, April 27 - May 3, 2015

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Last week was a good week food wise.  We did end up eating out a couple more times than we had originally planned but we tried some amazing recipes, many which will be hitting the blog in the near future.  I have definitely been in the mood to be creative in the kitchen the last few weeks.  When we were at Disney World we stopped by the Columbia Harbor House for dinner one night and I had lobster mac n' cheese, it was delicious!  I have been wanting to try a version of this at home, and plan to do so this week.  

Here's what I have planned for us this week:

Brunch - Bacon, Eggs, Biscuits
Dinner - Sandwiches, Pretzels, Fresh Fruit

Breakfast - oatmeal
Lunch - chili dogs, baked beans
Dinner - Shrimp Mac N Cheese, corn on the cob

Breakfast - cereal
Lunch - ravioli, garlic breadsticks
Dinner - Chili Con Queso

Breakfast - ham and egg sandwiches
Lunch - chicken noodle soup, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Dinner - Italian Sausage with Green Peppers and Onions, Baked Potato Wedges

Breakfast - Dutch Baby
Lunch - Loaded Baked Potatoes

Breakfast - Cereal
Lunch - sandwiches, pretzels, applesauce
Dinner - Eating Out

Breakfast - Cereal
Dinner - leftover night

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