Here are 51 Ways to Save Money on Having a Baby

save to have a baby

Having children can be expensive. A recent study found that the average American will spend over $245,000 to raise a child from infancy to adult…and that’s not including the cost of psychotherapy bills when they mess them up.  That is a high enough price tag to deter some from starting a family altogether.  But it can be done if one does research, skip on the extra stuff and move wisely. A little while ago, TheBump.com compiled a list of 51 different things couples can do to save money before and after having their baby. We shared some on the blog with a link to check out the rest. Here it is again because the list if awesome and worth re-sharing!

1. Buy secondhand gear and clothes. – Consignment shops are often full of great maternity and baby clothes as well as gear and furniture.


2. Borrow a bassinet (or skip it altogether). – Most bassinets can only be used until baby starts rolling over, so try to find one that you can borrow for those few weeks.

3. Hold off.- If you aren’t sure which products will work best for baby (especially with bottles, pacifiers, even diapers), buy the minimum to start with, then stock up once you know baby’s preferences.

4. Limit the tests. -Not pregnant yet? Buy three (and no more than three) pregnancy tests to keep on hand. If you have a larger supply, you’re likely to wind up with a trash can full of them. (Believe us. We’ve been there.)

5. Go easy on the starter diapers. – Start with only one pack of newborn diapers. Baby may not even fit into them at the start, and he’ll grow fast.

6. Breastfeed as long as possible. -The cost of formula adds up. (And breast milk is great for baby!)

7. Pump.– Again, formula can get expensive.

8. Formula feeding? Ask for samples.– Be sure to head home from the hospital with samples (some now only give them upon request), and ask for samples at each visit to the pediatrician. Don’t be shy — it never hurts to ask.

9. Buy a convertible crib. – A crib that converts into a toddler bed will definitely save you some cash over the years.

10. Do your homework! – Research is essential to make sure you know which products give you the most bang for your buck.

11. Get mom (or aunt, or MIL…) to babysit. – Family can quickly turn into your most valuable childcare resource.

12. Buy in bulk. -You know you’ll need lots of some things (like diapers and formula). If you have the storage space, stock up to save cash.

13. Make your own baby food. – When baby starts to eat solids, toss cooked veggies into the blender with a bit of liquid, and save the meals in ice trays — the money you’ll save makes it worth the extra effort.

14. Forget the comforter. – Since baby won’t actually USE it, it isn’t really necessary.

15. Get crafty. – DIY projects take time, but they save cash (and add fun personal touches).

16. Forget the fancy toys. Baby will be content with smaller price tags (or spoons, pans, and cardboard boxes, for that matter).

17. Go without a changing table. – Instead, top the dresser with a changing pad and add a few wall shelves for storage.

18. Cook. – Eating out, ordering in, and frozen meals can eat up a lot of cash.
Read the rest at The Bump.com

20 Valentine’s Day DIY Nail Art Inspiration Ideas for You!

Bellyitch Rewind From Sister Blog PoshTheSocialite.com
painting-fingernails-635261_1280
Nail Art, DIY Nails and nail design are very much in-style.  If you don’t know, there is a ginormous sub-industry in beauty dedicated to nails.

Each season, new trends and innovation in nail art are revealed. Check out Pinterest, and you’d note that nails are a big thing. For Valentine’s Day, why not brighten up your mood and get into the spirit by hooking up your nails in a nice pink, red or some other sort of themed nail art for the season?

If you’re among the millions of women, young girls and others out there who are into nail art, here are 20 Valentine’s Day Nail Art ideas to explore and inspiration looks for you:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post signature

Get to Know the Difference Between Engaging and Entertaining Children

toys

When it comes to spending time with children, do you spend your time engaging them, entertaining them or doing a little of both?  Before you can fully answer that question, you may need to explore the difference between the two.

When caregivers engage children their time is spent being actively involved with the kids.  Engaging children requires active participation from both the caregiver and the child. When caregivers actively play with children, they are engaging them.  Caregivers might engage children by playing blocks with them, dancing with them, playing a game with them, or being involved in dramatic play with them.


When caregivers entertain children their time is spent passively involved with the children. Entertaining children is not interactive. In fact, it’s mostly one-sided with the child fulfilling the role of audience. Entertainment requires observation. When caregivers take the children to the movies or put on a television show for them to watch, they are entertaining them.

The purpose of engaging children is to help focus their attention so that learning can happen. The purpose of entertaining is to create a pleasurable experience. Engagement involves children being creative and solving problems, while entertainment involves children watching others be creative and solve problems.  While some entertainment can be educational, that’s not its primary purpose.

For many caregivers, given the integration of technology in everyday life, it often requires some entertaining to get the children interested before you transition to engaging them. And while some learning may come from entertainment, when children are engaged, real and lasting learning occurs.

As you consider how you spend time with the children in your care, ask yourself:

  • Am I actively interacting with the children?
  • How does the entertainment I offer deepen or enhance their learning experience?
  •  Is the activity the children are doing designed to benefit them or me?
  • Am I nurturing the children’s sense of curiosity about themselves and their world?
  • Am I providing tools for hands-on learning?
  • Is technology trumping your relationship?
  • Are we going places more than doing things together?

If your answers lead you to believe the children would benefit from more engagement and less entertainment, consider spending more time engaging the children by:

  • Playing play-dough
  • Building blocks
  • Doing arts and crafts together
  • Playing board games
  • Having a tea party
  • Rolling a ball back and forth
  • Taking part in fantasy play
  • Playing outside
  • Putting on a puppet show
  • Baking cookies.

While having fun is certainly important, providing opportunities for interaction, hands-on learning and problem solving can create an environment that promotes active learning, which will yield lasting results.

 

10 Tips for Mixing and Matching Your Children’s Wardrobe with Essentials

child-seats-50047_1280

Winter is a great time to reassess and clean out the kids’ wardrobe and cycle out cool weather clothes and make sure the closet is  It’s also the perfect time to clean out the closets and make room for warmer clothes, and cycle out clothes that no longer fit.

To get some longevity out of your child’s wardrobe, before you invest in new clothes, though, take inventory of what your child still has that fits.  Either take pictures of these pieces or make yourself a list prior to going shopping so you don’t double up on the same items.  To maximize her wardrobe, you will want to buy pieces that coordinate with the ones that she already has.

  1. Jeans are a must.  Jeans are a wardrobe staple that match just about everything, so having a few pairs on hand is never a bad thing. Colored jeans are all the rage right now, so make sure to pick up at least one pair of those.  Stick to a few pairs of basic blue jeans as well so that they can be mixed and matched with tops.
  2. Leggings are great for girls. For girls, leggings are a must wear item.  They can be paired with a cute dress or a long shirt, or they can be worn under a shorter skirt.  Choose basic colors like navy, black, and white when buying leggings so that you can mix and match them easily.
  3. A basic white shirt goes with everything.  For both boys and girls, buying a basic white shirt is a closet staple. The white shirt doesn’t have to be a plain t-shirt though, and you can buy girls a pretty blouse and boys a white button-down or polo.  Make sure to use bleach when you wash these because a bright white shirt looks great, but a dingy gray one does not.
  4. Underwear and socks are very important.  As kids grow it’s often overlooked if they need bigger underwear or new socks.  See how your child’s are fitting and assess if she needs some new ones.
  5. A jacket or hoodie will allow kids to layer.  Fall is an especially tricky time to dress for the weather since it frequently changes throughout the day, so putting your kids in layers will help them stay comfortable all day long. Winter definitely requires layers. If it’s a little cool in the morning when he walks to school a jacket or hoodie will keep him warm, but you don’t want to dress him in a sweatshirt because by afternoon it will have warmed up and he will be hot.  Sometimes the air conditioning in schools can seem too cold to some so having a way to keep the chill off will make your child more comfortable.
  6. Tennis shoes are a must for gym class.  Kids don’t necessarily need the latest and greatest brand name shoes, but they do need shoes that fit well and allow them to move quickly with ease.  Whatever your budget, it’s important that the shoes fit and support her growing feet.
  7. Boys will need a pair of nicer slacks.  Sometimes schools will take the kids on a field trip to see a play or musical and ask that they dress up for the event.  Having a pair of dress slacks that can be paired with the basic white shirt that you’ve already bought will give them an easy option when they need to look a little nicer.
  8. Girls may need a dress.  This dress does not have to be overly frilly and full of ruffles, but it shouldn’t be too casual either.  Find something comfortable that would be age appropriate for your girl.
  9. Dress shoes are needed.  To go with the boys’ dress pants and with the girls’ dress a pair of dress shoes is needed.  Unlike the tennis shoes that will most likely be worn almost every day, the dress shoes can be inexpensive if they aren’t going to be worn frequently.  Buy something very basic, like a black or brown shoe that can be worn with most colors.
  10. A winter coat is a must in most climates.  Some areas of the country will use this more often than others, but most areas will need a winter coat at some point during the year.  How heavy the coat is will be determined by where you live.  If you have almost six months of winter, like in the Midwest and Northern states, you will want to get a coat that is heavy or has several separate layers. Warmer climates may only need a light parka.

Buying clothes in basic colors can extend her wardrobe and increase her ability to mix and match her clothes.  Adding a hoodie to an outfit will change the entire look of an outfit.  Having shirts that can be worn with jeans, leggings, or a skirt will give her the versatility to make different looks throughout the year.  While these are just the basics, you should also plan to pick up a few special items for picture day or other times when she wants to look especially nice.      

MLK Day: 5 Ways to Celebrate with Your Kids

martin-luther-king-682116_1280

Keep the Dream Alive
“He wanted all the brown kids and white kids to like each other.”
“He wanted everybody to sit on the bus wherever they want.”
“He had a dream and it was so big and then he died.”

In honor of the gifts Dr. King gave our nation, try these five creative ways to help children celebrate his vision of hope and sense of humanity.


1. Create a Multicultural Banquet!

One of Martin Luther King’s greatest achievements was his ability to help Americans appreciate diversity. Celebrate his birthday with an eclectic holiday dinner featuring cuisine from different countries or geographical regions. Serve Puerto Rican rice-and-beans, Boston clam chowder, a Chinese stir-fry, and a peach pie from Dr. King’s native Atlanta. The variations on this theme are endless, and the dinner doesn’t need to be time-consuming. You can achieve almost the same effect by stopping for takeout from Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, and your local pizza parlor (Italian or Greek).

2. Decorate with Many Colors

What’s a birthday party without decorations? Here’s a great MLK Day activity to do with younger children: Make the classic paper chains using black, white, red, yellow, and brown construction paper to represent the various skin tones found across our nation. Show kids the symbolism behind the craft: “Each link represents a hand, and our chain reminds us that Dr. King joined hands with people of all colors when he marched for freedom.” A variation on this theme: Children can trace their own hands, then color them in using different skin-tone shaded crayons.

Continue Reading

10 Facts About Coffee Fans and Foes Should Know

coffee facts

Good morning, family!

Have you had your cup of java today? Yes, even you who is expecting, you too can enjoy coffee. The drink gets a bad rap. Yes, it has its own issues but there are plenty benefits. Me personally? I’m addicted.


Here are 10 other facts about coffee you might or might have known but should:

Coffee is a unique beverage in that you either love it or you hate it. Some people swear by it as a means to wake up in the morning. Others drink coffee throughout the day to keep them going. However, whether you love it or hate it, there are some things that you may not know about coffee. Here are some interesting facts for you to ponder.

  1. Where Does Coffee Come From? Coffee only grows in certain climates, namely the ones nearest the equator along what is known as the “Bean Belt.” Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that grows coffee, known as Kona coffee, while Brazil produces 30% of the world’s coffee. The second leading producer of coffee is Columbia. However, more than 53 countries grow coffee worldwide.
  2. The Coffee Plant. It is arguable whether to call what coffee grows on a bush or a tree, but either way, the coffee bean does not just grow off a branch by itself. It is actually a green seed inside a berry. The seed is removed, roasted and then packaged as coffee beans. The berry from which a coffee bean comes from is comparable to a cherry. The two species of coffee plant that are used for consumption are the Arabica and the Robusta. One coffee tree yields approximately one pound of coffee each year.
  3. How Many Calories Are You Consuming? Black coffee has no calories. That’s right! No calories! The way calories add up is what you put in with your coffee. With the options of cream, sugar and syrups, the calories can add up quickly. Keep that in mind if you are trying to cut down your calorie intake. You don’t need to stop drinking coffee altogether, just hold back on the extras you put into it. Thirty million people in the U.S. purchase specialty coffee drinks each day.
  4. Caffeine: Good or Bad? Caffeine is one of the defining characteristics of coffee. For those of you who have heartburn problems, you might want to cut down on your coffee intake or switch over to decaf, because caffeine is known for increasing heartburn symptoms. However, beware of decaf because it is not completely caffeine free, it’s more of a reduced level of caffeine that can still add up if you drink too many cups of it. On the other hand, the caffeine is also cited as being beneficial for increased thought flow.
  5. National Coffee Day. National Coffee Day is held on September 29. On that day, some businesses give away free or discounted cups of coffee. Some greeting card companies have even gone so far as to create National Coffee Day cards you can send to your friends or coworkers who are as addicted to coffee as you are.
  6. How Many Cups Do We Drink? More than 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed every year. Seattle is known for its coffee enthusiasts and the people who live there consume more coffee per capita than in any other city in the United States. The coffee industry makes approximately 60 billion dollars annually worldwide.
  7. Coffee vs. Water. Coffee is the second largest world commodity. The first is oil. It is also the second most popular drink in the world after water. More than half of the U.S. population over the age of 18 consumes at least one cup of coffee every morning. Women state that they drink coffee to relax and men tend to say that coffee helps them get their work done.
  8. Coffee-Scented Stamps. In 2001, Brazil produced a coffee-scented stamp to promote its commodity. It is said that the smell lasts between 3 to 5 years.
  9. To Freeze or Not to Freeze? Freezing coffee has been said to be a good way to keep it fresh, but as it turns out, the coffee bean easily extracts the flavors of things around it, making it susceptible to changing taste when stored in the freezer. Coffee grounds stay fresh for approximately two weeks outside of the freezer if stored in an airtight container. If stored next to fish or other smellier foods in the freezer, the coffee will adopt that taste, so even if it remains fresh longer, it won’t seem like it with the taste being skewed in that way.
  10. Can I Drink Coffee When I’m Pregnant? There has been research for and against the consumption of coffee during pregnancy. The current recommendation is to consume no more than 300 mg of caffeine each day, and that doesn’t just include coffee, but all sources of caffeine. Whether you are pregnant or not, caffeine intake should be limited. The fatal level of caffeine is the equivalent of 100 cups of coffee at approximately 100 to 200 mg per cup.

What Parents with Overweight Children Need to Know

diet-398613_1280

It’s no secret that America has a childhood obesity epidemic.

The health risks that can accompany childhood obesity are so regularly featured on news reports that it’s amazing the problem is still so prevalent. And although many parents can identify a weight problem in their child, they might not know what to do about it, especially when it comes to handling the situation without damaging her self-esteem.


Here is some food for thought, reprinted with permission, for parents of overweight children, along with some practical, real-life advice for handling the situation.

Your Doctor Might Not Tell You

Your doctor might not let you know that your child is overweight or obese. This may be because he assumes you do not want to know. As a parent, it is easy to turn a blind eye to things like your kids being overweight or even when your kids develop a bad habit. If you have a suspicion that your child is overweight, you should approach your doctor about it. This will show him that you are interested in learning more about the issue and are willing to work with his suggestions on what to change or tweak in your child’s life.

You Are Not Alone

Sometimes it’s difficult to realize that you are not the only one with overweight kids. There are others out there who are just as concerned as you are and who are willing to share their wisdom. Search out those other parents and work together to achieve a common goal. That extra support is just the thing you need to keep on track, and having another overweight child working toward becoming a healthier size will help put your child at ease and encourage her to work hard at losing that extra weight.

Exercise Is Always a Good Thing

Not everyone enjoys exercise, but it’s essential for kids’ health and physical development. Come up with an exercise schedule that everyone in the household sticks to. There’s no reason to send your kid off to the gym for an aerobics class while you sit at home. Make it a family event that everyone looks forward to. If everyone likes to do something different, then create a schedule that includes all of the activities throughout the week. Working together as a family not only creates a built-in support system, it can also boost the health of everyone in the family and gives you an opportunity to model the habits you want your child to adopt.

She Shouldn’t Have to Make Changes Alone

Along the same lines as exercising with your child, don’t make them go through any aspect of this experience alone. Singling him out will just create tension and remorse that doesn’t need to be there at all. If the doctor says he needs to change his diet, change the diet of your entire family. Clean out that pantry of the junk food and fill it with healthier alternatives, encouraging everyone to eat better. Even members of your family at an average weight can benefit from cutting out the empty calories.

Some Foods Should Be Avoided

Going out for fast food three times a week is a bad habit to get into, regardless of how convenient it might be for time-strapped parents. All of the grease that is typical of fast food has no place in a child’s diet. And, keep in mind the word “diet” does not mean counting calories and starving your child. She still needs a decent amount of food. After all, she is growing and changing. With how much energy children burn throughout each day, chances are they need to eat more food than you would expect. They just need healthier fare than deep-fried potatoes and genetically modified meat.

Counting Calories Isn’t Always Right for Kids

The strict course of counting calories is a lot of pressure to put on a child and will single them out more than their weight already does. Stress can even be a trigger for kids and adults who are prone to emotional eating. So skip the added stress of counting calories and think about ways to instill healthier habits as a whole.

Your Child May Have Low Self-Esteem

It is possible that your child is being picked on at school or being made fun of by his peers because he is overweight, and he may very well be too embarrassed about the bullying to tell you about it. Sometimes kids don’t even necessarily mean to be cruel, but it can still feel that way to your child when his differences are being highlighted at every turn. If you think your child may be being picked on at school, speak with the guidance counselor to see what she has noticed and what she suggests that you do, but make sure that you’re making efforts to boost his self-esteem at home as well.

It’s Okay to Embrace Your Child’s Weight

Most importantly, embrace the way your child is no matter what. She should feel comfortable with who she is no matter what her weight is and understand that your focus on her weight is out of concern for her health rather than an emphasis on her looks. Just because she is overweight doesn’t mean she’s not a good child, and she needs to know that.

These 24 Storage Hacks Will Save You Space and Sanity!

storage-1024x682

Everyone could use extra storage to keep all the massive amount of stuff we collect and store in our homes. Even those who live in larger houses could appreciate knowing these tricks and tips from SolentPlastics. 

These 24 Storage hacks will get you much more space out of your living quarters.

Storage_Hacks_01

I’m an Ambivert, but Only True Extroverts Can Pass this Test!

photo-booth-1608658_1280

I am an Ambivert. I am part extrovert and part introvert. I can be loud, outgoing and can strike up a conversation with almost anyone. I also do not like networking situations when you have to introduce yourself to people you don’t know and engage with them. I prefer alone time and time to gather my thoughts, plot my day and life and figure things and people out. But I also thrive well in boisterous and loud social activity.

It’s a good balance in my opinion. And then there are those who are strict extroverts! Are you one? Take this quiz below and find out. I did and it revealed what I already know: that I am an Ambivert!


Good luck!

 

The 4 Things I Plan to Do to Get Back into Shape

running-498257_1280

It’s time of the  year when many people vow to get in shape. I too am eager to unpack some of the pounds I gained during the Holiday eating season. Also, I just returned from an overseas trip where I visited my husband’s native Trinidad and Tobago. There was plenty of yummy desserts, breads and other delicious meals that got demolished. So…yeah. Ten to 20 pounds later.

Here are the four things I will be using to get back into shape:

  1. My workout playlist I created a few years ago on the Soundcloud App which has been reposted by quite a few people. I even created one for Soca and Afro Beats when I want to switch it up. You can check them out below:

2. I plan to hit the gym regularly and run at least three times a day outdoors or on the treadmill in the gym or my home gym in my basement.

  1. I also intend to cut back on carbs so I’m going to stockup on Thin Slim Foods. I did a review of theses yummy pasta, bread, bagels and desserts samples the company sells and was convinced. I am a genuine convert.

ThinSlim Foods
4. Because I’m budgeting this year for several planned excursions and investments, so Lululemon is out of the budget when it comes to updating my work out gear. Fortunately, I can get that same caliber and quality of clothing from Fabletics at a fraction of the cost. Fill out the quiz and you get a lovely selection of clothing to fit your exercise of choice, fit level, place of workout, clothing size and budget.

kate-bent-back
Once I join, I am offered one two piece outfit for $10.00 and when I order at least $39.95 in clothing, I get free shipping! You cannot beat that. I love leggings of all colors, patterns and shapes. I live in work out gear given that I work from home and have to be flexible with my choice of clothing. Running errands, heading out to pick up or drop off the kids, picking up mail and other routine tasks can be done comfortably in any pair of leggings. Here are the ones the Fabletics team picked out for me. Click below to take the quiz and get your own customized offerings:
fabletics2
If you’d like to get in on this deal and join as well, take the quiz HERE! 

adfds