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These Top 25 Spring-Inspired Names are the BEST!

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Posted on March 4, 2016 by Ashley Eneriz

 

While some prefer the shining snow and comfortable fires of winter, spring boasts bright blooms, warm weather and beautiful names like Persephone and June to remind us of the delights of the season. MooseRoots curated a list of spring-inspired names and used data from the Social Security Administration to rank them from least to most popular.

#25. Primavera

Gender: Female

Rank in 2014: 12,063

Total Newborns in 2014: 6

Of Latin origins meaning “spring,” Primavera rests in obscurity, as only six baby girls received the name in 2014.

#24. Brigit 

Gender: Female

Rank in 2014: 11,037

Total Newborns in 2014: 9

The name Brigit, taken from the Irish goddess of spring, remains uncommon in the United States and earned the rank of 11,037 among baby girls.

#23. Neville

Gender: Male

Rank in 2014: 7,347

Total Newborns in 2014: 11

Neville, meaning “new village,” never hit its stride in the U.S., despite the popularity of the Harry Potter books and films over the past decade.

#22. Quan

Gender: Male

Rank in 2014: 5,381

Total Newborns in 2014: 17

The use of Quan, a Chinese name that means “spring (of water),” stagnated in recent years and ranked only No. 5,381 among baby boys in 2014.

#21. Pascal

Gender: Male

Rank in 2014: 4,620

Total Newborns in 2014: 21

Pascal, a name with Latin origins meaning “Easter,” was historically given to baby boys born around Passover. Only 21 babies in 2014 received the name, earning it the rank of 4,620.

#20. Aviv 

Gender: Male

Rank in 2014: 4,523

Total Newborns in 2014: 21

Aviv, a name with Hebrew origins meaning “spring,” ranked No. 4,523 among baby boys in 2014.

#19. Dawn

Gender: Female

Rank in 2014: 2,058

Total Newborns in 2014: 94

After reaching its peak in the 1970s, the name Dawn, an ostensible reference to the beauty and brightness of the time of day, drastically declined in popularity and ranked No. 2,058 among baby girls in 2014.

#18. Rain

Gender: Female

Rank in 2014: 1,952

Total Newborns in 2014: 102

Rain, a name that reminds us of the water sustaining the Earth, ranked No. 1,952 among baby girls born in 2014.

#17. Neo

Gender: Male

Rank in 2014: 1,660

Total Newborns in 2014: 92

Neo, a name with Greek roots meaning “new,” ranked No. 1,660 among baby boys in 2014.

#16. May

Gender: Female

Rank in 2014: 1,581

Total Newborns in 2014: 136

May, a pet form of Margaret or Mary, also conjures images of colored flowers and warm days. A name of increasing popularity, it ranked No. 1,581 in 2014 among baby girls.

#15. Clover

Gender: Female

Rank in 2014: 1,459

Total Newborns in 2014: 153

Clover, a name referencing the bright green clover plant, has experienced a dramatic increase in popularity, jumping from a rank of 11,733 in 1992 to 1,538 in 2012. In 2014, it ranked No. 1,459 among baby girls.

#14. Persephone

Gender: Female

Rank in 2014: 1,221

Total Newborns in 2014: 199

The name Persephone references the Greek goddess of the harvest, whose kidnapping led to an eternal winter. Hades promised to release her from the underworld for six months out of the year, and during those months, spring returned to the Earth. After years of increased popularity, the name ranked No. 1,221 among baby girls in 2014.

#13. Sunny

Gender: Female

Rank in 2014: 1,206

Total Newborns in 2014: 201

If there was a name that guaranteed a cheerful disposition, Sunny would undoubtedly be the one. The name has seen a stark increase in popularity recently and ranked No. 1,206 in 2014 among baby girls.

#12. Robin

Gender: Female

Rank in 2014: 1,125

Total Newborns in 2014: 223

A name referring to the orange-chested songbird, Robin has fallen in popularity in recent years and earned the rank of only 1,125 in 2014.

#11. Heath

Gender: Male

Rank in 2014: 930

Total Newborns in 2014: 226

Heath, a name that comes from the word meaning “uncultivated land,” has experienced a slow decline in popularity over the last decade.

#10. Demi

Gender: Female

Rank in 2014: 632

Total Newborns in 2014: 449

Demi, a name popularized by the actress Demi Moore, is an abbreviated form of the name Demeter, or the Greek goddess known for returning spring to the people of Earth upon the return of her daughter Persephone. Even at its peak, Demi never reached ubiquity and earned the rank of 632 among baby girls in 2014.

#9. April

Gender: Female

Rank in 2014: 406

Total Newborns in 2014: 790

April, a darling name and especially sweet for girls born in the springtime month, means “to open” and ranked No. 406 among baby girls in 2014.

#8. Skye

Gender: Female

Rank in 2014: 368

Total Newborns in 2014: 880

Skye, an unconventional way to spell “sky,” became increasingly popular in the 1970s, but peaked in 2014, ranking No. 368. In Scotland, however, the name ranked No. 36 among baby girls.

#7. June

Gender: Female

Rank in 2014: 317

Total Newborns in 2014: 1,039

June, meaning “young” and once a common choice in the 1930s, has dimmed in popularity when compared to April and May. After falling into disuse at the turn of the 21st century, the name has regained some of its former charm, ranking No. 317 in 2014.

#6. Rose

Gender: Female

Rank in 2014: 194

Total Newborns in 2014: 1,678

A name whose meaning comes from the famous flower, Rose has declined dramatically since its peak in the early 20th century, but has recently experienced a surge in use.

#5. Marcus

Gender: Female

Rank in 2014: 194

Total Newborns in 2014: 1,678

Although Marcus recently experienced a decline in use, this ancient Roman name remains a favorite among many parents. Though the name’s meaning is unclear, there is a possible connection with March, the month of the spring equinox.

#4. Kendall

Gender: Female

Rank in 2014: 131

Total Newborns in 2014: 2,432

Originally a surname or a boy’s name, Kendall is now a popular choice among baby girls born in the U.S. Meaning “valley on the river Kent” or “valley of the spring,” the name has remained fairly flat over the last few years.

#3. Jesus

Gender: Male

Rank in 2014: 111

Total Newborns in 2014: 3,504

Imbued with religious significance and meaning “God saves,” the name Jesus remains popular in the United States and elsewhere. In Spain, for example, Jesus ranked No. 46 among baby boys.

#2. Maxwell

Gender: Male

Rank in 2014: 107

Total Newborns in 2014: 3,703

Maxwell, which began as a Scottish surname meaning “great spring” or “stream,” is now a popular first name for baby boys, ranking No. 107 in 2014

#1. Owen

Gender: Male

Rank in 2014: 36

Total Newborns in 2014: 9,100

Owen, a name of Celtic origins meaning “lamb,” earned a place among the top 100 names of the United States and in Scotland in 2014.

Compare Other Baby Names on MooseRoo

Eco Friday: The Numbers behind Global Food Waste (INFOGRAPHIC)

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Subconsciously, we waste food every day. Each time we take too large a heaping of mashed potatoes or extra servings we don’t eat, we wast food.  This casual disposal of leftover is common world wide and contributes to global food waste.

But there are things we can do to reduce waste like shopping responsibly and cooking in smaller portions. Here is an infographic that goes into the dilemma of food waste and offers suggestions on being a personal catalyst change agent.

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6 Tips for Coping with Allergies While Pregnant

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It’s that season again! Spring is around the corner and it brings all sorts of great things like warmer weather and nicer days but it also is the season for allergies. Not fun if you are pregnant. OnlyMyHealth recently shared a list of tips for pregnant women to help them cope with allergies during pregnancy:

  1. Experiment with a nasal saline spray. A nasal saline is just salt water that helps to fight against worsening of allergies during pregnancies. Besides, they are not harmful to the fetus. Spray the nasal saline spray into the nostrils and blow your nose after a minute.
  2. Use nasal irrigation with the help of a neti pot. Nasal irrigation helps to flush all the sinus passages out with the help of salt water. Fill the neti pot with a warm salt water solution and flush each nostril out with it.
  3. Using a humidifier at night to fill the air with moisture helps to relieve pressure and pain that is associated with the allergies.
  4. Use a medicated nasal spray to experience the best results. Medicated nasal sprays help especially when you start using them before the actual onset of the allergies. Consult your doctor about nasal sprays before using one to ensure that the use of one does not hamper the fetus.
  5. Allergy medication is a good option provided the other options fail though this option must be avoided during the first trimester. Consult your doctor to find an allergy medication that will work for you during the second and third trimester.
  6. If you had been using allergy shots before pregnancy, you can continue using them during pregnancy. It is, however, not recommended to start allergy shots after getting pregnant.

The key to coping with allergies during pregnancy is taking proper medications. Ensure that you talk to your doctor about medication during pregnancy.

Pi Day is Coming! Here are 100 Pie Recipes to Celebrate!

Bellyitch Rewind

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March 14  is Pi Day and for the first time it is actually the first 5 numbers that represent the numerical value of pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter: 3.14.15.

(if you use the American way of writing dates).

Pi day is also an annual opportunity for math geeks, including nerdy parents all around, to make and eat pie with their family and friends!

We found from recipe curators over at our partners at Foodie over 100 pie recipes – from sweet, to pizza to fruit – for every taste and palette to consider making this Saturday!

Good luck!

Check out Pi Day!

by Damaris Santos Palmer at Foodie.com

Check out 12 Pretty Pies for Pi Day

by Karen Hartzell at Foodie.com

Check out 15 Delicious Fruit Pies for Pi Day!

by Ashley Sears at Foodie.com

Check out Pi Day Ice Cream Pies

by Kenda Smith at Foodie.com

Check out 12 Pizza Pies to try on Pi Day!

by Mel at Foodie.com

Check out Pi Day!

by Damaris Santos Palmer at Foodie.com

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Hey, I just started a Blogging Academy, First Courses are FREE! Check it out!

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Hey guys. So, it’s not like I don’t already have a million things to do running 4 active blogs, managing my household while trying to stay sane but…I have launched a digital publishing academy dedicated to training future, new and current active bloggers.

It is a labor of love but I love sharing the wisdom I’ve gained in over 10 years of blogging and over 20 years in the digital online content creation and curation space. Plus, I enjoy this stuff tremendously and am geeked about creating a platform for passing on some of my passion of blogging!

If you’d like to take a look at check out the Digital Publishing Academy HERE!

I am starting the academy with a suite of 4 FREE lunchtime courses that will begin this Friday! And even if you cannot make it, simply registering will give you access to a replay for a week! Sweet, eh?

And if blogging, website management and the like is not your thing, tell a friend, would ya? Thanks! I’d be forever indebted in gratitude!! <3

xoxo

 

JJ

Doing these 6 Things will Help Your Newborn Sleep Through the Night

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Every baby is different, so it’s only natural for some to have a more difficult time with nighttime sleep than others. Some babies take to it very well and at a very young age are able to sleep through the night with only the occasional wakeup. Others, however, require a lot of patience and guidance in order to get to point where they can sleep all night. But in every case, there are things parents can do to make things easier for the baby as well as for themselves.

If your baby has trouble sleeping through the night and you are ready to move to the next stage, here are a few tips that may help.

  1. Have a routine: To ease your little one into sleep, establish a nighttime routine that you follow without exception. This might include a bath, reading time, and the last feeding of the day. Do whatever works best for your family. Just make it consistent, and make sure it differs from other routines you have through the day.
  2. Discourage nighttime feeding: Very early on, it is perfectly natural for an infant to require several feedings during the night, and this can continue for many months if it is not too much trouble for the parents. But if are ready for better nighttime sleep and your child is old enough, you can begin phasing out these feedings. Keep track of how much your baby eats and how much she requires, and make sure she gets enough during the daytime hours while gradually lessening the nighttime feedings.
  3. Position the baby well: To minimize the risk of SIDS, most medical authorities recommend placing the baby on her back at bedtime for the first nine months of life (some recommend longer), and this advice is worth heeding. But when the baby gets old enough to move around at will, there is little you can do to control her position. The good news is that she will naturally find the position in which she is most comfortable and in which she will sleep best. So when your baby is old enough, give her the freedom to find her preferred positions.
  4. Try different outfits: If your baby seems to wake up a lot, this could be a sign of discomfort resulting from his sleep outfit. Try different things, and make sure you experiment with each item enough nights to draw a conclusion about whether your baby likes it or not.
  5. Control room conditions: Also try different conditions in the room where your baby sleeps. Perhaps he does well with a little bit of noise, in which case you can use a fan or a radio to make some gentle white noise. Also make sure you try different temperatures. Childcare experts generally recommend dressing babies a little more warmly than you would dress yourself, but this is not a blanket rule, and some babies tend to get hot in normal room-temperature conditions.
  6. Learn baby’s back-to-sleep habits: Watch your baby for several nights to see how she typically reacts when waking up in the middle of the night. If she wakes, fusses for a moment, and then goes back to sleep, make sure you allow her to do this instead of interrupting her natural process. On the other hand, if you can learn to recognize when she is unlikely to get herself back to sleep, you can get to her early and minimize the amount of time she is awake.

Good luck, new parents! We hope you get some rest…and baby too!

50 Leap Year Freebies & Deals including 10 just for ‘Leap Year Babies’

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There are 187,000 leap year babies currently living the United States and since their birthdays only come around once every four years, several brands and companies use the opportunity to celebrate these special babies by offering them freebies!

Others have jumped on the wagon and extended offers to the rest of us, who equally are happy to get one extra day in February because, ‘why not’?

Here are 10 freebies just for Leap Year babies and 40 deals for the rest of us.

1. Benny’s Chop House (Chicago): Guests with Leap Day birthdays receive a complimentary 8 oz. filet mignon on 2/29/2016, for parties of 2 or more.

2. Great American CookiesLeap year babies  get a free cookie cake to celebrate your birthday if you have an ID to prove you were born on February 29.

3. Holsteins -Guests with Leap Day birthdays receive a free Birthday Cake Bamboozled Milkshake and a Classic Burger with proof of ID on 2/29/2016.

4. Houlihan’s:All customers with Leap Day birthdays can have one free entree on Monday, Feb. 29, and that’s only the start. Leap Day babies are welcomed to 28 additional free entrees–one per visit–over the following 30-day period, for a possible total of 29 free entrees. Bring photo ID with proof of DOB.

5. Olive Garden –If your birthday is Feb. 29, use the linked coupon for four free “Dolcini” desserts, valid for dine-in orders at Olive Garden restaurants from Feb. 29 to March 6.

  1.  McAlister’s Deli: Show an ID proving that you’re a Leap Baby born on February 29 and you’ll get a free cookie on Monday.

7. Hard Rock Cafe: Is giving away a free meal for anyone celebrating their birthday.

8. Pizza Hut: Anyone who shows a valid government-issued photo ID proving they were born on Leap Day will get a free, one-topping Personal Pan Pizza from Pizza Hut. The deal is for carryout only.

9The Plaza Hotel (New York): Guests with Leap Day birthdays can receive a special $229 package, rate only valid for 2/29/2016.

10. Villa Italian Kitchen: Guests with Leap Day birthdays receive a complimentary slice of pizza at participating locations on 2/29/2016.

OUR PICK FOR THE BEST DEALS For the REST OF US ON LEAP YEAR DAY!

1. VerizonCoupon code VZWDEAL will save you up to $50 off select smartphones through Feb. 29. New device payment is required and upgrades are excluded.

2. Frontier Airlines: $29 flights to select cities. Must book by 2/26, 2/29 or 3/2

3. Caribou Coffee: Buy one beverage and get the second for just 29 cents on Leap Day.

4. Chick-fil-A– Check with your local Chick-fil-A, but we’ve caught wind that some locations are offering free chicken sandwiches if you stop by 29 minutes past the hour all day on February 29.

5. Legal Sea FoodGet two one-pound lobsters (and two sides) for $29. (Typically, a one-pound lobster at the restaurant costs $25.95.)

6. Dell Refurbished ComputersTake $600 off servers of $2000 or more with code SERVER$600 through Feb. 29.

7. Aeropostale: Extra 29% off your order with code LEAP29.

8. Airport Express Get 20% off shared-ride shuttle services.

9. Betsey Johnson: Take 29% off your order with coupon code LEAP and have it shipped to you for free. Some exclusions apply.

10. Urban Outfitters: Shop a selection of products priced at $29 or less.

THE OTHER GREAT LEAP YEAR DEALS

11. CheapOAir: Use code GETAWAYS30 to save up to $30 on Getaway Vacations through Feb. 29.

12. Destination Hotels: Make reservations on Feb. 29 to receive 29% (or more) off room rates in the weeks ahead, and/or $29 daily credits at this group’s hotels, which include locations in Snowmass, Colorado, San Francisco, and New Orleans.

13. Marriott Stanton South Beach: On Feb. 29 use the code ADP when making reservations to get 29% off rates for stays between March 3 and May 31.

14. Travelocity: Get $29 off a $229 hotel with the code LEAP29 and $129 off a $1229 hotel + flight deal with the code LEAP129.

15. Arby’s: The fast food chain is offering a special vegetarian menu all day.

16. Carrabba’s Italian Grill: Get any small plate for $2.29 with every $10 spent with this coupon. Or you could receive 20% off your check with this coupon.

17. Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & MoreGet a free Leap Year 2016 t-shirt at any of the retailers participating locations on Feb. 29 — no purchase required.

18. Columbia Sportswear: Save 30% on select sale items with code COLSALE30, ends 2/29/2016.

19. Dog Haus: Free patty upgrade from a single to a double on all burgers on February 29! A $2.49 value.

20. Honeybaked Ham: Free or discounted sandwich on 2/29/2016.

21. Hungry Howie’sGet a large, one-topping pizza for 29 cents with the purchase of a large pizza with one or more toppings at its regular price, Feb. 29 and March 1.

22. Krispy Kreme: On Monday, February 29, 2016, buy a dozen Original Glazed doughnuts and get a second dozen for $2.99.

23. Margaritas Mexican RestaurantsThe Fried Ice Cream Dessert (normally $6.49) and the Leap Year Margarita (normally $7.99) are both $2.29.

24. Noodles & Company: Save $4 off a $10 purchase with code LEAPTHELINE on 2/29/2016 when you order online.

25. Olive GardenReceive four free Dolcini desserts with coupon offer, valid from 2/29/2016-3/6/2016.

26. Starbucks$29 Off Orders $100 on 2/29/2016.

27. Tropical Smoothie Café: Loyalty program members can get a a Classic Smoothie for $2.29, instead of its regular price of around $4.49, at its 465 locations.

28. Dollar GeneralUse code FEBSAVE to get $5 off orders of $50 or more through Feb. 29.

29. Folica: Use code LEAPYEAR16 to get 25% off Solia, Theorie, Nth Degree and AbsoluteHeat products or 30% off Sedu products through Feb. 29.

30. Foot Locker: Use code LKS16F3L to save 15% on purchases of $70 or more through Feb. 29.

31. The Greene Turtle Chow down on 29-cent wings all day on February 29.

32. Golfsmith: Take $20 off orders of $125 or more with code 86PUB022 through Feb. 29.

33. Lands’ EndThis coupon will save you 20% off regularly priced swim merchandise at all Sears locations through Feb. 29.

34. Lane Bryant: Save $35 off your online purchases of $150 or more, plus free shipping, through Feb. 29  with coupon code FEBDRTLB.

35. LidsEnjoy free shipping on orders of $50 or more through Feb. 29. No coupon code required.

36. MOOGet 15% off greeting cards with code 7C2W8B through Leap Day for new customers only.

37. OneHanesPlaceSave $10 off purchases of $50 or more through Feb. 29 with this printable coupon or follow this link to have the discount automatically applied to your online order.

38. OshKosh B’goshSave 25% off orders of $40 or more with code CARU2F29 and 15 percent off site wide with code CARU2F19 through Feb. 29.

39. Target$5 gift card with an online movie pre-order of Mockingjay Part 2, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, or The Peanuts Movie from Target.com/preorder through Monday 2/29/2016.

40. Urban Outfitters: Shop a selection of products priced at $29 or less.

http://www.clarkhoward.com/

My Tips On How to Get Good Quality Brand-Names Kids Clothes on the Cheap

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It’s not that clothes that cost more are necessarily better. There are certain less expensive brands that are made of quality material and are well structured, manufactured and would last through several washes.

However, for the most part, it has been my experience that clothes that I spent an extra penny for traditionally have had a longer shelf life. Part of the higher price is because the material the clothes are made of are better and therefore they are more durable.  Some people believe that since kids grow so fast, especially in their early years, there is no value to really spending much on their clothing.

I make the case for why this is not necessarily so.

  1. The hems in cheaper clothes start to unravel faster and sometimes after one wash or one rough and tumble play at preschool. They are not double stitched and therefore cannot stand the test of time.
  2. The color in cheaper clothes do not always remain true even when you use color-stay detergents created to help color in clothing last longer through several washings.
  3. The cheaper clothes sometimes pill and start to look old after just one wash. Then clothes you purchased for school, or nice outings out get shifted to the play clothes drawer quickly when you go for the cheap stuff.

Many of these issues go away by spending a few extra bucks for a mid-range to upper range brand.  You don’t have to go from one extreme to the next and spend a killing on couture labels either. Mid-level price point brands like GAP, A Children’s Place, Hanna Andersson and Gymboree make clothes that cost more than the brands you’ll find at Wal-Mart, KMart, Sears, JCPenny and Target.

However,  you get your money back in not having to go back to purchase new clothes after a few months to replace the tattered, old-looking, color-washed out ones you purchased trying to save money and go with the cheap stuff. If money is an issue.

  1. Establish a wish list on Amazon.com or some other site and refer God Parents, grandparents and friends who have no children and perhaps more disposable income to it and encourage them to purchase these items in sizes well beyond the size your child is currently wearing.
  2. Shop at discount stores that sell designer brands for a fraction of the original cost like Ross, Loehmann’s, TJ Maxx, Burlington Coat Factory and Marshall’s. You can rack up on quality brand named clothes at these stores.
  3. Go to the wealthier areas of your town and shop the Thrift stores, Goodwill and consignment shops near there for deals on quality clothes for pennies on the dollar. Many times, you can find clothes with the tags still on that were given away when a kid outgrew the clothes.

Overall, be creative. There are ways to get better quality and longer lasting clothes that may be economically a better deal anyway than sticking with the cheap stuff.

 

 

DIY: An Elegant Yellow & Grey Elephant-Themed Baby Shower

This weekend, I threw a DIY baby shower for my baby sister who is expecting her second child, a baby girl. With a limited budget, I was able put together a pretty fab shower, I think, by being resourceful, and cutting corners but without sacrificing quality and style. It all looked elegant in the end and as if I spent a lot more.

(A couple of my sister’s friends, one who is a p/t event-planner and baker and another who bakes cakes helped me out a bit. My sister’s future mom-in-law did the games and her aunt-in-law helped out as well and provided the venue, her lovely country home)

My sister, like me, is adverse to pink and purple and traditional girly colors. She wanted a shower theme to match the nursery she was decorating for her soon-to-be-born daughter, (and my future Godchild) Aubrey.

Elephants, Chevron Yellow and Grey is the theme. I strayed a little on the Chevron and we had a mix of yellows but it all came together, visually, well, nonetheless, in the end.

Here is how I pulled it off.

Invitations.

etsy invitations

In lieu of expensive invitations, I got downloadable printables from Fancy Shmancy Notes shop on Etsy for $15 and $5.00 for Cards asking for a children’s story book instead of a greeting card with any gift purchase.  I purchased a pack of 60 Avery brand customizable Note Cards from Staples office supply store. They come with envelopes and cost just $24. Postage stamps were $30.00. The total cost was $74 for invitations.  That move saved me about $100 in lieu of online-ordered customized invitations.

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Discount, Dollar, Thrift and Bulk Stores Savings

I also saved money by hitting up thrift stores, dollar stores and bulk food stores. The party supply store sold paper and plastic table cloths for $9 each. Instead if those, I schlepped to my local thrift store and picked up 3 linen table cloths for $10 total! I washed and ironed three table cloths I already owned, including a very pretty one with grey and yellow in it that matched the color scheme. Score!

At Costco, a wholesale membership food warehouse, I got a huge bouquet of Daisies for only $10.00. I was able to convert that one bunch into 5 vases of flowers of different sizes and shapes that I set up on various tables at the venue. I also got food that would ordinarily cost more at a regular grocery store much cheaper there.

 For example, a large 1 lb container of mixed greens was $4. A big 34 ounce bag of authentic nacho chips was $4. Two quiche pies were $13. An Alouitte Brie Wheel just $6. A large container of fresh cut fruit was just $10.  A similar size retails for about $30 at my local grocers. I know because I looked it up and did comparison shopping.

At the Dollar Store, nice Misaka brand vases were just $1.00 each.  Paper cuttlery, plates, napkins, cups in the theme colors cost $1.00 each compared to $3.00 to 8.00 at the party supply store. Favor boxes were just 10 for $1 compared to $30 for 50 at the party supply store.  I got some craft items for the favors and cupcake toppers there for $1.00 each as well.

Here is the final haul I set up on my dining room table.

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However, to save money, I used some items I already owned. I had a case of sternos left over from a previous event. I used a serving tray and a lead glass chip and dip tray, another serving tray and glass tea light holders I already owned.

the cake

 We saved money on the venue by hosting it at my sister’s fiancee’s aunt’s house in a rural part of a suburb in Maryland. The host, Aunt Nicho, has a bright and sunny Morning room that also has yellow-colored walls and a large airy and bright glass wall that brought in tons of natural light.

The cost of the main cake was offset because another family member donated the cost of the materials and my sister’s dear friend baked it. She has a p/t professional cake baking business and offered the labor for free as a gift to the mom-to-be.

FREE Printables

water bottle printables

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Google printables and you’ll find a ton of free and paid ones as well. I was fortunate to find a free one online with the same color scheme as ours.  There were water bottle labels, a candy station sign, and other printable items. When I printed out the printables, they came out darker yellow than on the computer screen, but it worked out because the color complemented well with the table cloth and coincidentally was the same shade of yellow on the the cake! Perfect!

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I got the gumballs, sixlets and lollipop sticks in the color theme at the party supply store  to set up a candy station. (We used the candy display jugs owned by friend who has the P/T event planning biz too) I also picked up steamer strays and yellow serving trays for a reasonable price there too.

I later discovered that Walmart and Target are now in the business of offering specialized modern party supplies. All of the supplies for a candy station, which I set up and is very popular, cost between 25-50% less at these big box stores compared to the party supply store.

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Aunt Nicho had these great decorative juice jugs that we used to hold mimosas and non-alcoholic OJ

mimosa and juice

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A friend of my sis, Lynee, who is an amazing baker and the one with the p/t event planning company, gifted homemade strawberry and lemon butter cream frosting cupcakes. They were amazingly good! Yum!

lemon cupcakes

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 I got these cupcake toppers for free online HERE. I used the $1 box of toothpicks I got from the Dollar Tree to tape them to the pack of the toppers.

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Here is a serving tray I already owned, a wedding gift from decades ago, that I used to serve the brie and crackers.

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Again, I saved costs with glass tea holders I had from a previous event and a chip and dip tray I owned since my wedding. The tea lights were just $1 for a dozen at the dollar store.

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Aunt Nicho created a very neat tiered diaper cake we used for decoration as well.

We used grey and yellow party favor boxes I got from Dollar Tree at $1 for 10. We filled them with candy from a big bag of Lifesavers I picked up at Target that was $8.00 on sale!

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The roll of tulle and pre-cut Tulle circles are just $1.00 as well at Dollar Tree.

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I printed out maternity portraits from my sister’s shoot using my inkjet printer I reviewed here. It looked like professional quality. I used matte photo paper I got from Target.  The Target brand Up & Up is just $5.49 for 30 count.

Lynee brought this picket fence she found a while ago at a discount store that she filled with faux craft grass and stuck the candy lollipops I got from the party store in them for a nice effect.

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Candy from the party store and the leftover Lifesavers made a nice candy station.

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The shower was a brunch so we set up a Belgian waffle station complete with toppings, and whipped cream. The serving dishes were compliments of Aunt Nicho. I got the pitcher where I whipped up batter from Walmart for $3. My other sister got the great waffle iron that she loaned us for the event. It was on sale for just $24.99.00 at Kohl’s though it is now back to $29.99.

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The Spinach quiche set on a really nice server/carver board Aunt Nicho owns.

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I made my baked salmon with sauteed onions and green peppers. My mom made her signature West African Jollof rice. My sister Adama made hot wings. I whipped up eggs and sausages and Aunt Nicho made home-cooked hash browns and biscuits.

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I set up the mixed greens and fruit on a utility station near the kitchen.

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Overall, it was a great event!

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Here are 7 Ways to Keep the Kids Busy & Entertained in the Winter

Bellyitch Rewind
Winter doesn’t have to be a dreary and dreadful time. We are stuck in doors and may be sidelined but delays and cancellations when the weather gets bad. Finding things to do with the children that doesn’t involve electronics can be a challenge but our friends at summernanny.com offer the following tips for you to make winter months easier to deal with:
 
1. Bundle up and enjoy your favorite activities. Cold temperatures and snowy roads don’t mean you can’t get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Sure, it takes a lot more time and effort to get ready to go outside, but it’s worth it. Once you get putting on the snowsuit, boots, hats and gloves down to a routine, you’ll practically whiz right through it. And when you’re all bundled up and outdoors, kids can enjoy many of the same things they do in other seasons. You can go for a walk, play on the swings, run around the backyard or hit the slide. You can enjoy being together and being active, even when the thermometer dips.
2. Get back to basic outdoor fun. There’s no beating basic winter fun like sledding down a favorite hill, building a snowman complete with carrot nose and button eyes, having a snowball fight with siblings or neighborhood friends or ice skating on the local frozen pond. This is the stuff childhood memories are made of. Instead of watching from the sidelines, be an active part of the memory making. Jump on the sled for your own ride down the hill. It’s just as fun as an adult as it was as a child.
3. Create new winter games. There’s no end to the creative ways you can have fun outside during the winter months. Make colored icicles, paint in the snow with colored water, add fun shapes to the iced sensory table or set up a snowball target game. You can create a fun, engaging outdoor environment that your kids will enjoy and learn from. Get kids involved in developing new, fun things to do outside. Kids have amazing imaginations, and with a few simple household supplies they’ll create games and play spaces that will keep them occupied for long stretches of time.
4. Take advantage of local indoor play spaces. Many community centers offer indoor play spaces during the winter months. These spaces usually offer a free play area where kids can run, jump, twirl and bounce. Tumbling mats and cushioned climbing squares allow kids to release their pent up energy in a safe environment. Indoor spaces also offer riding toys like tricycles, scooters and kid sized cars. Some even provide kid sized props like stop signs, gas pumps and police stations; encouraging kids to create their own cities and towns. This type of imaginary play can keep your child busy for hours on end.
5. Head to the pool. It’s seems like an odd time to go swimming, but the winter months are the perfect time to enroll your child in lessons or reinforce his current swimming skills. It’s a perfect way to get some exercise into his weekly schedule and it’s lots of fun to boot. When summer rolls around, he won’t be spending his time learning to swim or getting reacquainted with the water. He’ll be ready to enjoy the local pool, lake or beach.
6. Find a local playgroup. If you have to be inside, it’s always more fun with friends. Connect with other parents or caregivers in your area through online sites or local parenting groups. Some groups have a multiple age make-up, which is a great fit if you have more than one child. Other groups focus on one age range, which is perfect if you have one child or are looking for a social outlet for a particular child. These weekly groups give your child a fun activity to look forward to and they provide you with social connections, resources and support.
7. Do some of the things you don’t have time for in the busy summer months. When the weather’s nice, chances are you’re too busy to take on some of the projects your kids would like to do. Wintertime is your chance to catch up. Spend an afternoon baking cookies for the local fire department. Pull out all the arts and crafts supplies and create new art pieces for your child’s bedroom wall. Long, dark afternoons can be the perfect excuse for tackling those put off projects.
Good luck parents!

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