A new mom dives into parenthood. Will our heroine survive?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Frugal Friday - Finding Affordable Clothing

Finding affordable clothing on a limited budget can be tricky. Its especially difficult to find CUTE clothing on a budget - but in recent years, I've been introduced to a method that does just that. Cute clothes for less! The answer is in Thrift Stores and Consignment Shops. Thrift Stores and Consignment Shops are an excellent resource for any savvy, frugal-minded person. They are generally are filled to the brim with excellent bargains, especially when it comes to clothes.

Of course bargain is in the eye of the beholder. Two years ago, I found a gorgeous pair of high heels at a local consignment shop for $30. To me, this was a great deal - the shoes originally came from BeBe, a super trendy, high end clothing store that I had always avoided like the plague due to the "cha-ching" involved. So when I found a pair of cute shoes that I could afford. that came from there, I jumped on it! But, if I were faced with the same situation now, I'd be forced to relunctantly pass.

You can still find GREAT deals at these shops though. Not too long ago I found a pair brand new Express Khaki Cords for only $10. They had never been washed, and the original price was around $60. And check out this adorable outfit Debbie J. found at a thrift store for 50 cents:

What a Bargain!


So try the thrifts and the consignment shops next time you go shopping. You might be pleasantly surprised at the quality of the garments and, of course, the price!

UPDATE: Debbie J. posted a similar topic today with a better picture of the above outfit, click to check it out!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas Television


Is it just me or are all the Christmas Cartoons I used to LOVE as a kid, completely different now? Last night, How the Grinch Stole Christmas was on and the night before that A Charlie Brown Christmas. When I was little, I remember being so excited for these shows to come on television. I remember being glued to the t.v. with Sugar Plums dancing in my ears and Christmas merriment bopping around in my brain.

On Tuesday and Wednesday nights when these Christmas specials aired, I got that old twinge of elated anticipation. I tuned in right on time. I muted the dog and the cat, and turned the baby volume to low. Then to my disspointment, I realized that both of these shows are not very interesting anymore and on top of that have incredibly short running times. How the Grinch stole Christmas is only 26 minutes long according to Wikipedia. So I'm not sure, but I think I was tricked into watching 34 minutes of commercials!! Because you KNOW a national television affiliate would never run a 26 minute program in a 30 minute slot and have only FOUR minutes of commercials. Sheesh.

Regardless though, I still enjoyed just the fact that it was on. It brought back happy memories. And even though now I'd rather be blogging or watching Grey's Anatomy, I still feel that the Christmas season has begun when those old school programs begin to run. And I can't wait for our children to get to know Charlie Brown and the Who's down in Whoville. I have a feeling they will renew those old feelings of excitement and possibly even get the sugar plums stuck back in my ears (along with draining all the Christmas cheer from my bank account!)

Tree Decision '07

Kacie at Sense to Save, posted an interesting question the other day - Real Tree or Artificial? It was interesting to me because I had just been considering that same question in terms of what our family should do this year.

I have only had a real tree a few times in my life. I "think" I remember having a real tree a couple of times when I very small. Then when I was living in Boston that first year, my roommates insisted upon a real tree. They dragged it up 5 flights of stairs and had it decorated before I even got home from work. I don't really remember it that much except that it was sitting beside the television for about a month.

This year I thought it would be kind of nice to celebrate our first Christmas with Goose by going out and doing the whole "picking out a live tree" thing. Like how they do on Christmas shows! But then Hubby and I thought about it a little more and figured Goose won't remember it anyway, so lets get another year or two out of our artificial tree and save a little cash.

I think artificial trees are pretty great though - they never wilt or die. Some of are pre-lit. Many of them look better-than real. And you don't have to water them. But I do think it would be a fun tradition to go as a family and pick out the tree - or maybe we can go to Debbie J.'s house and chop one down or something! (Just kidding)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hair Phenomenon Part II

Yesterday I posted about Goose's spikey hair and how it looks just like his Uncle Tator's hair. (Click for Part I) My dear mama, Debbie J., has sent me some additional evidence:

Uncle Tator: Approximate Age: 6 months

WFMW - Newspaper Window Cleaner


A few years ago when my Aunt asked me to help her wash her windows, I was surprised to see a huge stack of newspaper sitting beside the Windex. I was even more surprised when she started wadding it up and using it, instead of paper towels, to dry the Windex she had sprayed on the glass. Of course I followed suit and was again surprised to find that the newspaper not only worked - it worked BETTER. No streaks, No wet spots, No dirt left behind.


So if you have some newspaper lying around, give it a try! Works for me! For more great tips visit Shannon's Blog.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hair Phenomenon

When my brother was little, his hair would stand straight up. I'm not exaggerating the straight up part. All over his head until his hair was probably 2 inches long it stuck straight out on all sides. I still remember being in Wal-Mart one Sunday with him and my mom (and I think my grandma too) and someone said to their friend that he looked like we had stuck him in a microwave!! They said this where we could hear it too! Shame... Anyway, I think that Goose has inherited his Uncle Tater's hair!!!!!!!

Here's the preliminary evidence:




Cute and Frugal Christmas Gifts

I have decided to make a lot of my Christmas Gifts this year. There are a ton of people that I always buy a little something for and that "little something" could range anywhere from 5-10 dollars in price. Since we are on a shoestring budget this year, I decided to make Christmas Candy Jars out of Mason Canning Jars. I have only made 6 so far, but they turned out pretty cute. The beauty of this project is two-fold. Number one is the price. Each jar cost approximately $1.50 to make. Number two is the thought behind each one. They may not have cost a lot, but they take a while to make. I really put a lot of care into them, trying to make them cute and attempting to make the bows look right. I hope the recipients of these gifts like them as much as I do!



I like them so much that I was thinking of selling them in an Etsy shop for 3 or 4 dollars a piece. I don't know, we'll see. Here are some pics:





Monday, November 26, 2007

7 things!

I've been tagged by fellow SuperMom, Mrs. Warmth, to list 7 random things about me. Here goes!

1) I majored in Business Administration in college, but what I really wanted to do was be a ballet dancer! I didn't think there was any money in it and I didn't know what else I would be good at, so I majored in Business! (Kind of like you, Mrs. Warmth!)

2) I'm amazed that I'm still breastfeeding. Hubby was the one who actally wanted me to do it and I said ok, but in the back of my mind I was really unsure. It hurt so bad for the first month, but after that it got really easy. I don't even pump anymore because to me its just easier to breastfeed. Now I can't imagine feeding Goose formula.

3) Goose got his nickname because he used to honk like a goose when he ate!! We think its cute, but others have told me to can it before it gets too "stuck". :)

4) I currently have like 4 or so clogged milk ducts. OUCH.

5) I LOVE movies. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I LOVE going to the movies especially. Before Goose was born, hubby and I probably went at least once a week. Sometimes twice! We also love Grey's Anatomy and Lost. We love them so much, we wait until the DVDs come out to watch them because we can't take the weekly suspense (or commercials!).

6) I like soap operas. I know they are dumb, the plot-lines are weak and the acting is cheesy, but I really like them!! I like how I can miss about 10 episodes and still know exactly what is going on because the story moves so slowly!

7) I am really proud of my husband! The parents of his students often tell me how great they think his teaching is. It makes me so proud!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Being Thankful

I know this is a day late, but in honor of Thanksgiving I just want to send a "shout out" to God. He made so much possible for us this year and I am really still in awe of it.

Stuff God made possible for us this year:

1) Led us to a new town
2) Helped us sell our old home
3) Found us an apartment with a lease exactly long enough to keep us housed until our new home was finished
4) Got us into our new home with a week to spare before the birth of our son
5) Found hubby a new job that he loves
6) Gave us a beautiful baby boy
7) Allowed us to keep our sanity while we moved twice in 6 months
8) Blessed us with amazing family and friends that have been wonderful and supportive throughout everything.

Thanks God -You rock! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Biggest Miracle Of All

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

WFMW - Coupon Organization

I used to use a traditional accordian style coupon organizer, but it was lost when we moved to our new home. I honestly never liked it much anyway because it was hard to tell what coupons I had, and even more of a pain to separate the expired coupons from the usable ones. So last week I racked my brain to come up with a better system and I think I found it!

I purchased a 1" 3-ring binder at Wal-Mart for about $1, two packs of loose leaf paper for 82 cents each, and two sets of page dividers. I organized the divider tabs as follows:

Food
Baby
Home
Bath/Body
Pets
Restaurants/Misc
CVS
Christmas Reciepts (to keep track of the Cha-Ching!)

I then divided out the loose leaf paper between the tabs and taped my coupons onto the paper according to their category. Now my coupons are on display for me when I open my organizer. I can see exactly what I have, and when a whole page expires - I just tear it out.

Of course, carrying this large book into the store is not very practical, so I plan my shopping trip and tear out the coupons that I need to take with me. It may not work for everyone, but it certainly "Works for me"!! For more great tips please head over to Rocks In My Dryer!

Hello Coupons.

How are you today?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Kitchen Tip Tuesday


I've decided to join in on the Kitchen Tip Extravaganza! My first post for Kitchen Tip Tuesday is to use Pyrex Baking Dishes with snap on lids when cooking in your oven.
I have two of these dishes and I just LOVE them. I use them any time I use my oven because when we are done serving ourselves from the dish, we just snap on the lid and slip it into the fridge. Its great because you don't have to scoop the food out and transfer it into a different container for storage. I have a 9x12 dish and an 8x8 dish. I love them so much, I got my cousin an 8 piece set for his wedding in a couple of weeks. Happy Tuesday!

Colic Roars Its Ugly Head - againnnnnnn.

I really wish doctors could explain Colic better than just saying, Oh its an endless bout of crying for no known reason. I mean, there has to be a reason right? Ugh. Goose cried from 7am to about 9pm yesterday, taking small little breaks to nap. He is also suddenly not sleeping through the night, having gone back to waking at 3am for snacks. What is up little man?!

As a breastfeeding mom, the thing I keep thinking is what did I eat this weekend that was different than usual?? I did eat some extremely hot chili on Sunday night. Could that be it? I have read conflicting views on whether what you eat actually goes into your milk at all, so I'm somewhat torn on if that actually caused the problem - but it makes since right?

As for the nightwaking, I've read that babies have growth spurts around 3 months, so that may explain his renewed interested in midnight snacks. If any of you have experience with any of this, please share your story!! It will help me tremendously to cope with the stress of non-stop crying on very little sleep, to hear how others handle it. Thanks for reading!! Signed - Proud Mom to Mr. Colicy Fussy-Pants

Friday, November 16, 2007

Frugal Friday - Yard Sales

On Monday I posted about all the great deals we found at yard sales last Saturday and I thought I'd go into a little more depth today for Frugal Friday. Yard Sales have SO MUCH to offer. I used to think that I didn't want other people's junk, but then I went yard saling and saw that the stuff people sell at their yard sales is not usually very junky! People sell really NICE stuff - you just have to know how to find the right sale. Here's how to have a successful yard saling experience:

1) Know what you are looking for. Last Saturday I was looking for kids clothes and books to resell. We didn't find many good books, but we did hit the jackpot with some extremely gently used, name brand, kids clothes. I'm talking Baby Gap, The Children's Place, Carters...Some of the outfits were brand new. We even found a like-new Halo SleepSack.

2) Once you know what you are looking for - get a newspaper or hit the Craigs List site for your area. Last week we didn't get a paper but went on Craigs List and found all our yard sales that way. Its cheaper (frugal!!) than buying a paper and we had just as much success.

3) Now scour your paper or Craigs List for yard sales that are selling what you are looking for. Whether its clothing, furniture, or pots n pans.

4) Plan your route based on this. We are new to our area, so we planned a multi-stop trip in Google Maps. Probably most people don't have to do this, but if you don't know where something is, look it up and print directions.

5) Go EARLY. All the good stuff is gone by probably 8 or 9am at yard sales. ESPECIALLY furniture. If you are looking to buy a table that was advertised, you can bet someone else is going to beat you to it!

6) On the other hand - Don't show up at 5am before the stuff gets put out and then start helping the home owner to take stuff out of boxes in your urgency to find the best deals. We had a yard sale once and people actually did this. We were trying to get all the boxes out of the house and people were just digging in and taking boxes from us - An HOUR before our advertised start time.

7) Bargain with the owner! You don't have to pay sticker price at yard sales. Last week I found a brand new bread machine for $20 and offered them $15 - they said ok. When you are sorting through clothes that are $1 each, grab a whole bunch and just offer a flat amount. I had about 16 pieces of clothing in my hands last week and offered the owner $10. He said OK!

I'd like to thank my friend Rosemary for introducing me to yard sales when we were neighbors!!! THANKS!

Do any of you have a yard sale tip?? Please leave it in the comments for us! I'm still pretty new to it, so I'm sure I've left something out! Thanks to Crystal at Biblical Womanhood for hosting Frugal Fridays, head on over for more frugal tips!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Soap Box Thursday!!!!!

I'm on my Soap Box Today! Is it just me, or are the prices on Ebay completely ridiculous!!? I was looking into getting Goose a Baby Bumbo or a BeBe Pod to help him sit upright and the prices are really high! One of the BeBe Pods (which was a used one with a crack in it) was already up to 26 dollars (incl. shipping) and had 4 hours left! I just want to email those people and tell them to go to their friendly neighborhood WalMart and buy a BRAND NEW crack-less one for $32.

I guess a part of the reason people do this is just that its fun to bid on things and win. I get it. Maybe some people prefer to have their items delivered than to have to go and get them. I guess I get that too. But I don't like it that the charges for used/broken items are the same as brand new items at the store.

I even saw where one person was advertising a brand new Bumbo with Tray for a buy-it-now price of $54.98. In their item description they said "Compare at $74.98". This infuriated me because it just is not true. I imagine you can probably pay $74.98 for one if you wanted, but the truth is they are around $55 at most stores that I know of. But some unsuspecting, honest person out there will see that in the description and think "What a great deal!", purchase it, pay shipping and spend more than they would have otherwise.

Excuse me while I climb back down from my soap box...ok...SOoooo anyway I still love Ebay. I you have the right stuff you can sell it and make money or if you need something you can always find it there. I just don't understand spending the same amount of money (or more!) on something used and broken as the new item would be.

Are you an Ebayer that gets this concept? Please leave a comment! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

WFMW!! Pet Food Storage!

If you have a pet you probably have bags of pet food just sitting around taking up space or looking messy in a corner somewhere of your home (I know we did!). Here's what worked for us: Plastic Trash Cans!

Trash cans with lids make great storage for something like this. This is a very cheap trash can with a hinged lid, but one day I'd like to get something larger and more attractive - but for now it keeps the bags out of the way, the food gets stored, and it doesn't look so cluttered to have it sitting out in the open. Ours is in the corner of our kitchen. Thanks for reading!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tag I'm it! 8 Random Things About Me:

I've been tagged by my dear mom over at Homemaking Dreams to list 8 random things about me. Here we go:

1. Until recently I lived in a beautiful tourist town on the coast of North Carolina. We lived in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 870 square foot home built in 1942. We now live two hours away in our new home which is twice as big, 65 years newer and cost LESS because we moved away from the beach. But we really MISS you Wilmington and ALL our friends!!!!!!!!

2. My husband is a special education science teacher. He has a Master's Degree in Special Education and teaches young people with severe ADD, Asperger's Syndrome, ect. He was also the bass player in a band for 10 years in Boston that was played locally on the radio and were nominated for a Boston Music Award.

3. I met my husband 4 years ago on Match.com, back when it was still slightly taboo to meet people online. I joke sometimes that I paid $20 for my husband because that's how much my membership cost. He brought me flowers every time we got together for a month straight. On our first date we went to dinner, then bowling, then ate dessert in a park while he played his guitar for me, then we went dancing, and then we got pizza. It was the best and most romantic first date ever.

4. I moved to inner-city Boston by myself after I graduated college in 2002. Having grown up on a farm in one of the least populated counties in our state, this was quite a change. It was the most interesting and exciting thing I have ever done. I met a lot of people, had a great experience, met my future husband, got extremely cold and decided North Carolina was the place for me.

5. I've been mugged at knifepoint by three guys on a dimly lit street beside a dark alley. The most scary thing ever. Do not recommend dimly lit streets. Do not recomment walking alone at night in big cities. I think this may have been God's way of saving my life because up until that point, I was scared of nothing. I would walk around the city and take the subway no matter how dark the sky, no matter how late the hour. Now I am extremely cautious!!!

6. I took tap dance lessons throughout my pregnancy and performed in the Spring Recital. So fun. I took dance for 10 years before going to college, and decided to get back into it last year before I got pregnant.

7. I am almost completely deaf in my right ear. I had lots and lots of ear infections when I was young. Not even surgery could repair the nerve damage. If you talk into that ear the sound gets garbled on the way to my brain and sounds like the adult people in Charlie Brown cartoons - WhaWhawaaaawhawha!!

8. I am the first generation in my family to not work on a farm. My mom and dad, their mom and dad, their mom and dad, and etc, etc. all worked on farms. We live in such the rural south that my Dad can remember not having plumbing, using outhouses and hanging salted pork on the porch to keep it fresh. Thank God for Plumbing and Refrigeration!!! And hot water!! And TV!! And internet and Netflix!!!

I've never tagged anyone and I'm not sure if I'm doing it right but - I tag Kacie at Sense to Save. Is that right?? :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Cloth Diapering News

I just wanted to take a moment and thank ClothDiaperingNews.com for highlighting my 2-part series on Cloth Diapers. It is an honor and a pleasure to spread the word on how great cloth diapering really is and to help abolish the negative myths that surround it. Please check out the article by clicking the link above and if you missed the series please click for Part 1 and Part 2.

Thanks!!

Yard Saling Success!!!!

On Saturday Hubby, Goose, and I went yard selling for the first time in our new town. We found such amazing deals! If you can muster the strength to wake up about 2 hours before sunrise and and still have the where-with-all to fight off other buyers from your purchases on just a little sleep, then yard sales are the way to go!


We took $50 with us and spent $44. Here's what we got:

Huge box FULL of Duplo Blocks
3 brand new baby outfits
10 gently used baby outfits (like new)
10 like new kids books
2 hardcover books for me
2 Batman movies for hubby
The Lion King Movie
Pooh Bear decorations for a future play room
Light Meter (for hubby's science class)
Magnet kit (also for hubby's science class)


and the very best find:

A BRAND NEW bread machine - still taped up in its box!! YES!


This was the very best find!! Needless to say I have already made a loaf of bread (Cinniman Raisin) and it was pretty good! I am so excited to make fresh bread for us to use on sandwiches and to have for breakfast, etc. The bread machine is SO easy to use. You just poor the ingredients in and press start! 3 hours later you have bread!! So Cool!

Bread!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Cloth Diapering Part 2: How to fit it in!!

Last week we talked about how great cloth diapering can be! Today I'd like to share with you some ideas on how to fit it into your lifestyle. Whether you're a stay-at-homer or a workin' gal cloth diapers can (and will!) work for you.

The stay at home parent has many options when it comes to cloth diapering. You can use pre-folds and pins, all-in-ones, pockets, or whatever your heart desires. You can tailor the process to what fits your needs. Prefolds work great for me. Prefolds are your basic cloth diaper (they call them prefolds because they're "prefolded" in the center and sewn that way for extra absorbancy). I like using these best because they are one of the cheapest options. I have a few pins and 3 pairs of Dappi plastic pants. You fold the diaper around baby's bottom, pin it, slide on the plastic pants and your done. It actually doesn't take long at all once you get the hang of it.

Now a parent in the working world who uses day care will probably not be able to use this option. Many daycares (or so I've read) will not use them. For this parent All-in-Ones or Pockets might be best. They work the same as disposables except you can reuse them! All-in-ones are great because you just throw the whole thing in the wash. Pockets are a little trickier because they have an absorbant insert that must be removed, washed, and re-inserted. I have 6 pairs of BumGenius Pocket diapers and I LOVE THEM.

The only downer about them is the price. When I purchased mine a couple months ago they were 17.95 each, they have since come down $3 to 14.95. But it is worth every penny to have a few of these on hand. They work great for overnight and are fabulous for outings. I have never had one leak AT ALL. I have had several disposables to leak as well as the prefolds.

You have to weigh the pros and cons when selecting a cloth diapering system. Take into account the price of the product, ease of use, and how long you will be able to use it. I purchased 6 BumGenius One-Size-Fits-All Pocket diapers for a little over $100. That seems like a lot of money up front, but they will be used over and over again for 2 or 3 years on EACH CHILD. I am definitely asking for some more of these for Christmas!!

A few things to consider with Prefolds: If you decide to use prefolds I highly recommend Dappi Plastic Pants. They are old school I know!! But they are CHEAP and work GREAT. I made the mistake of purchasing the One-Size-Fits-All "WonderWraps" at $10 a pop and they don't even compare to my plastic pants that were 3 for $5.00!! WonderWraps are a very neat concept, but I think they need a little more R&D before they will work correctly. Basically they are diaper covers that will expand to fit your child at any age. But the fit is all wrong - Goose's legs stick out at the sides because the crotch is so wide and they leak, leak, leak!! I have, however, heard EXCELLENT things about Bummis Whisper Wraps. I have not personally tried these, but I know WesternWarmth has them and she likes them a lot. Visit her page to read about her experience with them.

I wanted to post some pics of my different types of diapers but I am having camera upload issues today. (SIGH - when it rains it pours! I just hope my laptop can stick it out for another year or so!) So for pics and more info here are some links:

For BumGenius you can click on the Amazon Favorite Products sidebar.
For everything else: KellysCloset

If you have a cloth diaper experience please share it with us in Comments!! And for more frugal tips please visit BiblicalWomanhood.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Cute Factor


Babies have cute factors. Let me tell you, my baby's cute factor is off the charts! (As I'm sure all mothers say of their children!) Goose has really turned up the charms the last few days. He has started taking things in with a look of quiet ingenuity in his eyes. And I think this is adorable!


Yesterday I got an oil change at BJ's and it took over an hour. So I strapped Goose into his "portable womb" AKA the Snuggli Baby Carrier and we walked around the store for the whole time. He opened his eyes so big and just GAZED at all the merchandise (sign of Christmases to come??) He was so enthralled that he would forget to suck his pacifier and I had to hold it in his mouth. The look of wonder on his face was amazing.


He has also started "talking" to his toys. He coos at them for about ten minutes and then starts to get mad when they don't talk back. Its very funny!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday - Help! My neighbors dogs bark ALL THE TIME!

Behind our home is a thin stretch of woods behind which is an older development. Through the woods you can just barely make out a white house with a dog pen in the back. The dog that lives in this pen is a BARKER! All dogs barks, I know - but do all dogs bark all the time?? This one thinks it needs to defend its home against everything. If we so much as open our back door the dog will bark incessantly. Keep in mind we can't even see the dog from the door - we have to walk down to the property line to actually make him out through the woods. So why does he think we are trying to invade his property when we sit on our back porch!?

I can imagine its possible the owners of the dog are also frustrated. For years they lived with no houses on the other side of their woods (I think this was farm land, either that or more woods) and now they have us to contend with. Maybe the dog thinks we built a house on HIS property?

Sigh...So my Works For Me Wednesday question is - Have you ever faced a similar problem and how on earth did you fix it?

I hope that with time the dog will adjust to having us here. I am an "outside" kind of person and I hate to think that I will not be able to peacefully use my own backyard thanks to this dog!

Thanks everyone for visiting!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Hello....47 Cent Can of Cream of Mushroom...

My trip to Aldi yesterday was a success, albeit a tad stressful! Goose was hungry and I had to breastfeed him in his carrier while navigating the unfamiliar layout of my new favorite store. I was pushing the cart with one hand, holding a blanket over my chest with one hand, holding the carrier in place with one hand, and checking off my grocery list with one hand - oh wait - I only have TWO hands...! Maybe that's why I was so stressed!

Anyway, I got some good loot! There are definitely some items at Aldi that are significantly cheaper than what I normally pay. I got the majority of what was on my list and picked up a few other items just because they were SO cheap!

For $22.08 I purchased:

5 1/2 pounds of ground beef
Wheat cereal
Large box of Spaghetti
Tortillas
Salad
Coffee Creamer (French Vanilla!)
Bread
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Box of Stroganoff
Cream Cheese

Of all the items the beef was the most expensive at $10.00 (or $1.79 a lb). So that means the rest of my items only cost an average of $1.33 each. Pretty good I'd say! I was most impressed with the price on everyday ingredients that I use. The Cream of Mushroom soup being only 47 cents is a good example of this. Another example is they have boxes of Powdered Onion Soup for only 50 cents. That is a pretty huge savings considering they are over a dollar for the name brand (Lipton's).

As for the shopping experience at Aldi -MAN do they check you out fast! The Cashier was literally THROWING my groceries into the cart, I could barely get my money out fast enough! As for the "no shopping bags" concept, I was a little worried because I had forgotten my shopping bags, but I noticed no one else in the store had bags either. So I just put the items directly into my car with no bags, which I thought was just fine.

So all-in-all a great experience and I plan to do PLENTY of more shopping at Aldi. It was definitely worth the trip into town.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Over the Highway and through the traffic, To the ALDI Store I go!

Today is a great day because I am going to ALDI for the first time today! I am so excited because I see all the great deals Kacie over at SenseToSave is saving and want to join in the fun! Plus it sounds like a cool shopping experience.

I had no idea we even had ALDIs down here until I noticed my mom from HomeMakingDreams commenting on Sense to Save that her nearest ALDI was 30 minutes away. Well if my mom has an ALDI then surely I must!! (We live close to each other) I went on the website and BLAM KAZAAM (that's the sound my computer made) I have an ALDI!

A few things I love about the ALDI concept:

1) Bring your own shopping bags. This is so awesome. It takes about KAJILLION KAMILLION years for plastic bags to break down in landfills. Plus, it takes OIL to make plastic. And I am all about the U.S. not needing as much of it. So I just love the idea of reusing bags.

2) Quarter for a shopping cart. I seriously hate seeing people not put their carts back. Everytime I go to the store I see someone just push their cart into oblivion and inevitably THAT is the cart that will reappear next to my car when I come out of the store - along with a huge ding! So I love having an incentive to put carts back.

3) Generic AKA "Private Label" Brands. I like that I won't be bombarded with typical marketing when I go in. I am not a cow - I do not need to be "branded".

I'll let you know how it turns out! To find an ALDI near you click here.

Friday, November 2, 2007

I LOVE Cloth Diapers, Part ONE

Before my son was born 9 weeks ago, I was skeptical on the business of cloth diapers. Would I rather put my baby in disposables and be on my merry way? Sometimes..... But do I crave a penny saved? YES! Am I a frugalizer? YES! Do I even have a couple thousand dollars lying around somewhere to pay for this convenience? Uh, NOOOOO!

It is for these reasons we decided to use cloth diapers. I was planning to stay home with my baby and that meant all extras were to be cut out of the budget. For us, cloth diapering was born out of necessity. But "if I had a million dollars" (as the song goes) I would STILL choose cloth now that I know how good it is not only for the budget, but for baby's bottom AND the environment. Plus - it's WAY easier than I ever thought it could be.

Most of my traditional cloth diapers, the ones you fold and pin, were given to me by loved ones before Goose was born. So my continued investment has been minimal. I have spent around $150 to date on cloth diapering. That money was spent on diaper covers and a few nicer diapers for outings and overnight. That $150 is a one-time investment. Had I been using disposables I probably could have blown through that in a month, two at best, on diapers that just got thrown in the trash.

What originally scared me about cloth diapering, I have found to be completely false. So I want to take a minute to shatter these myths for anyone who might be hesitant about cloth. I'd love to sway your opinion over to the "cloth" side!

Myth #1 - They are WAY messier than disposables

FALSE. Whether you are changing a cloth diaper or a disposable - you are still engaged in hand to hand combat with POOP. No matter how you slice it, if you have a kid you are going to touch their poop at some point. It really doesn't matter if you get to throw it in the garbage or not. The difference with cloth is that the diapers get washed. I honestly thought I would have to manually scrape poop into the toilet with cloth. But I was (Thankfully!) wrong. I had read online that many parents just throw the diaper straight into the wash. This is what I do and it works great. My diapers come out clean and fresh. It really is just like doing an extra load of laundry.

Myth #2 - The money saved will be wasted on the water and electricity used to wash the diapers.

FALSE. My water bill is only $20 dollars a month and our electric bill has actually gone down. Granted we DO use more water and electricity than a family NOT using cloth diapers, but that cost is minimal compared to the money spent on disposables. Plus, you can hang your diapers to dry on a rack or a line and your electric cost will be almost nonexistent. Even if the total of our water bill each month was from washing dirty diapers, that would STILL be cheaper than buying new diapers each week.

My drying rack and diaper basket

Myth #3 - It's time consuming and I don't have the extra time.

FALSE. Once you get the hang of it, it only takes a minute or two longer to change a cloth diaper. I think its kind of fun. Goose is usually at his sweetest when getting changed, so I don't mind a few extra seconds spent watching him smile and listening to him coo.

Here's a few more good reasons to use cloth:

1) Bye bye Diaper Rash. Goose can only wear disposables if you cake his butt with Desitin. With Cloth he has NO problem.

2) They actually make cloth diapers that work just like disposables, with velcro tabs and such. Only difference is you don't have to buy MORE.

3) It's a really nice thing to do that makes you feel good! I feel great just knowing I did not throw another dirty diaper into a landfill. Every little bit helps right?

So there you have it. I LOVE cloth diapering! Check back next Friday for Part 2 where we'll highlight different types of cloth diapers and how to tailor it to fit your lifestyle! For more frugal tips go to http://www.biblicalwomanhoodonline.com/blog.htm

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Baby Must-Haves

I'd like to share with everyone a few "tools" I've found work wonders on a baby. Goose loves these items, and when baby's happy - Mama's happy!


The first item is the bouncer seat. We have the Fisher Price Safari Animals edition, but I'm sure they all accomplish the same task. I would like to add that this chair was one of the cheaper ones I've seen and it works great, leading me to believe that higher price does not necessarily constitute a better product in this category. Here's the effect this seat has on Goose:


I also really like our swing. This swing is actually my sister-in-law's but her kids have recently outgrown it. Little "d" loves sitting in this! He smiles at the toys and will usually fall asleep. This swing is made by Graco:



And now - for my absolute FAVORITE item - a true miracle. The product is the Fisher Price Rainforest Waterfall Soother. Here's how it works: You install it inside the crib and it plays soothing nature sounds and music while a waterfall lights up with blue falling water and a cute little monkey swings back and forth. It mesmerizes our child and after a few minutes he will usually fall asleep. If he doesn't fall asleep it will at least keep him occupied for a few minutes while I finish up dinner or something to that effect. Fisher Price has a few different versions of this item and I'm sure they are all at least as good as this one:If you don't have at least one of these items you are missing out! Have a great Thursday everyone!

Colic

Well my sweet little son has colic. I have always heard parents talking about colic and how awful it was, but not having experienced it myself I just took their stories with a grain of salt. I mean, techinically speaking, Colic is just long stretches of inconsolable crying and certainly my baby could never be "inconsolable". Not with such a loving mom as myself! Surely he can always be comforted by my gentle nature and loving touch?. NOPE! Colic is awful. All the stories are true. Goose is not comforted by my gentleness or love!

To describe Colic to those of you who have not experienced it: Imagine the most annoying sound you can possibly think of. Some good examples are nails on a chalkboard, the monotonous beep of the Emergency Broadcast System weekly test, and the sound a phone makes when left off the hook for too long. Got your sound? Ok - amplify the volume x10 and multiply the intensity by 2 or 3. Now listen to that sound for 4 or more hours straight per day. Also, take away any option what-so-ever of turning off the annoying sound. The sound can only cease of its own accord for a reason that you do not nor ever will know. THAT, my dear friends, is Colic.

Poor Goose cried so much, I finally concluded that something must be wrong. He wasn't eating normally and barely sleeping during the day. I took him to see our doctor yesterday thinking he must have an ear infection or SOMETHING. There was nothing wrong with our child at all. To top it off - Goose ceased all crying while at the doctor's office. In fact, he turned on all the charm he could muster! He made eyes at the doctor and cooed those sweet little sounds. "I swear he was not like this at home doctor!" I said. Sigh...The doctor left the room and Goose started up with the crying again!

At any rate, he was diagnosed with Colic and it was suggested that I try Mylicon Gas Relief drops on the child. Apparently they work on some children and not on others. Well - I'd like to send a big "shout out!" to the makers of Mylicon!!!! My kid is one of the kids that it works on!! YES!

Goose stopped crying. He also slept for hours after we got home, went to bed for the night an hour earlier than usual and slept this morning until his usual time. Thank you Mylicon!

If anyone has any experience with Colic, please leave your stories and suggestions here in the comments. I would love to hear what works for this!