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    February 12, 2015
    Having A Baby And Saving Money

    Babies are expensive. There’s no denying that. I’ve heard that it takes an estimated $250,000 to $1 million to pay for a child from birth to age 18 (not even counting college). One million dollars over 18 years. That is insane! But for almost everyone, it is worth it. But, if there is any way to ease up on the cost, it’s also worth it to take advantage. For tips on how to frugally prepare for a new baby, check out this post by Stacy at Adventures In Coupons:

    -Write out a realistic list of everything you need

    -Buy used if you can. Babies grow out of clothes extremely fast.

    -Barter with friends for what you need

    -Use reusable cloth diapers

    -Talk to a pregnancy crisis center- they help low income families with baby supplies

    -Sign up for baby freebies and mailing lists

    -Breastfeed if you can

    Photo Credit: Alamos Basement 

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    February 2, 2015
    Adopted Children- Dealing With Attachment

    I do not have any adopted children, though I have considered it many times. Being a parent is difficult, and adoptive children come with their own set of challenges. One of the main challenges with adopting is forming deep attachments initially. Often, you miss out on months (or years) of baby bonding time, and you have to work really hard to form that parent/child connection. Some children come from neglectful or abusive backgrounds, and they can be even more difficult to work with. For tips on how to build a stronger attachment with your child (adopted OR biological), read this post by JoAnn Solchany, PhD. At Baby Center:

    -Be predictable. Be there for your child. Respond to his cries, yells, and calls either physically or verbally within 15 seconds.

    -Be empathetic and sensitive. Ask yourself, “What might my child be thinking right now?”

    -Don’t take your child’s behaviors (expressions of fear, anger, frustration, terror, and other difficult feelings) personally. Your child’s ability to express emotion is not yet fully developed.

    -Never let her feet touch the floor! Hold her, touch her, and wear her. You cannot hold them or spoil them enough!

    Photo Credit: basibanget 

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    January 27, 2015
    Dealing With Critical People

    Maybe you’ve decided to homeschool your kids. Maybe you’ve decided that you want six kids, or maybe you only want one (or none!). Maybe you want to adopt children, or become a foster parent. Maybe you need to move for your job, or maybe you want to become a full time stay-at-home parent. Maybe you have a lenient discipline style, or a very strict one. Whatever your parenting choices, they are yours. Sometimes it’s nice to get helpful advice from people who have been through the same situations, but ultimately, you know what is best for yourself and your family, and no one else. Your parents, friends, or in-laws might have their own opinions, but it can often come off as critical. When you find people criticizing how you raise your children, it can be an extremely emotional event– even if they mean well. But it’s important to keep in mind that it is your life, and that all decisions are yours to make. For more on dealing with people that criticize your family choices, read this post by Rachel at The Realistic Mom:

    -Develop some kind but firm responses

    -Take the positive and constructive element out of any criticism before you brush the whole thing off. 

    -Differentiate between concern and arrogance

    -Remain teachable

    -Draw boundaries with people when necessary

    Photo Credit: a2Gemma 

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    December 1, 2014
    Common Parenting Phrases… That You Should Stop Saying

    Everyone knows that you shouldn’t curse around your kids, because they pick it up! You also shouldn’t say anything that will damage their self esteem, or scar them for life. Most people are aware of this. However, there are other phrases that EVERY parent says (me included) that are actually harmful as well– some are very surprising! No, your kid won’t be emotionally ruined if you use them, but alternative ways of wording things are sometimes much better. Check out this article by Michelle Crouch at for the phrases:

    -”You’re okay.”- Try giving him a hug and acknowledging what he’s feeling by saying something like, “That was a scary fall.” Then ask whether he’d like a bandage or a kiss (or both).

    -”I’m on a diet.”- Watching your weight? Keep it to yourself. If your child sees you stepping on the scale every day and hears you talk about being “fat,” she may develop an unhealthy body image. Instead, encourage healthy eating habits and how fun exercise is!

    -”Be careful.”- Saying this while your child is balancing on the monkey bars at the playground actually makes it more likely that he’ll fall. “Your words distract him from what he’s doing, so he loses focus,”

    -”Don’t talk to strangers.” Since the vast majority of child-abduction cases involve someone a kid already knows, you might also adopt McBride’s favorite safety mantra: “If anyone makes you feel sad, scared, or confused, you need to tell me right away.”

    Photo Credit: Ian D. Keating 

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    September 4, 2014
    Asking Vs. Telling

    Discipline is always hard for me. I love kids, and I hate confrontation. So, dealing with discipline problems with children is pretty much my worst nightmare. My golden rule is to treat kids with as much respect as possible– like they’re real people! When I need them to do something, I always ask. But, sometimes, just “asking” doesn’t cut it when you need kids to follow instructions. As much as they need respect, kids also need discipline. But how do you know when to ask, and when to tell? Read this post by Heather at Mamas Spot for advice:

    I have a tendency to ask my kids almost everything. “Do you want to put on your shoes now?” “Should we have macaroni and cheese for dinner?” “How about you go brush your teeth?”

    These are questions that present a problem if they are answered with no, because they are not really choices. If we’re going outside, we need shoes. If I’m preparing mac and cheese for dinner, that’s what we’ll be having.

    By setting limits with your children using clear and nurturing language, you are in actuality providing children with the safety and consistency that they need to have all the freedom you want them to have.

    Photo Credit: Andrew Taylor 

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    August 12, 2014
    Why Your Baby Needs Tummy Time

    My nephew Jayden is an explorer: he loves rolling over, looking around, playing with toys, and crawling (well, more like scooting, to be honest) around on his tummy. This was not always the case though! Initially, he HATED being put on his belly. I guess it’s understandable; all he could see was the blanket underneath him, and he was still developing the muscles needed to lift his head up and balance on his arms and legs. Once he got more practice, he got the hang of it though! While it can be uncomfortable for babies, tummy time is essential for muscle development. As always, make sure tummy time is spent while the baby is AWAKE—when sleeping, infants should always be placed on their back. Read this article by Tonya at Therapy Fun Zone for an explanation, as well as tips to make it easier:

    When a baby is born, they have been all curled and flexed up in the womb for months. When they come out, their muscles are still in fetal flexion and it takes time for them to stretch out those muscles. Tummy time does not have to be forced, and it does not have to be painful (for anyone) but it does have to be done (and is likely being done without your knowledge). When you lay or sit on the couch with your baby on your chest, that is tummy time. When you hold your baby in the football hold (which many babies prefer), that is tummy time.

    Photo Credit: mazaletel

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    August 4, 2014
    Switching to Baby Food

    My nephew Jayden is almost six months old! Wow, does time fly. Seriously, it seems like he was just born yesterday. But now he’s almost sitting up on his own, laughing, smiling at faces he recognizes, and rolling over and trying to crawl. Another major change? Simple formula just isn’t cutting it anymore. About a month and a half ago, we started introducing cereal into his formula to help fill him up and give him more nutrients. Even more recently, we’ve been experimenting with baby foods and other soft “people” foods like mashed potatoes. He LOVES peas, sweet potatoes, and pears, but isn’t so crazy about squash and applesauce. But, just like with all baby milestones, it’s not going to happen at the same time for everyone: every child different skills at different paces- you just have to be able to tell if they’re ready. For more info on when to switch to baby food, check out this article at WebMD:

    Most pediatricians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend introducing solid foods to babies at between 4 and 6 months of age. That’s when they start to lose the “tongue-thrust reflex” or extrusion reflex, which is important for sucking the breast or bottle but interferes with feeding.

    If your baby is around this age, can sit up well with support, and shows interest in the foods he sees you eating, it’s probably a good time to make your first forays into feeding baby solid food.

    Photo Credit: Jencu 

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    July 10, 2014
    Common Potty Training Mistakes

    All parents can’t wait until their babies are potty trained, but the training process itself can be a nightmare. Kids usually are pretty reluctant to learn- after all, pooping whenever you want and having someone else wipe it up for you is a pretty sweet deal. The idea is not that hard: you sit them on the toilet and teach them that’s the time to go. In reality though, it can be so, so difficult. To avoid a large chunk of tantrums and mess, check out this post by Anne at Zephyr Hill blog for common potty training mistakes:

    -Don’t be unrealistic- make no assumptions, try not to establish timelines.

    -Don’t pin all your hopes on friend’s and family’s advice- every child is different.

    -Don’t buy too much stuff- until you know what works for you

    -Don’t lose patience and don’t take it personally!

    Photo Credit: makelessnoise 

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    May 19, 2014
    Cloth Diaper Mistakes

    Cloth diapers are great- you save the planet and your wallet at the same time. They’re much more biodegradable, you generate less waste, and they cost less in the long run. The only downside is washing them (yuck). But, since cloth diapers are used less, people who start out with them often have some misconceptions about how to care for them. Since you’re re-using it, you need to be a little more careful in how you treat them. Check out this post by Calley Pate at The Eco Chic for things you should NEVER do to a cloth diaper:

    -NEVER Boil microfiber, snaps, PUL, or elastic.  Exposing your diaper covers, shells, and pockets to this high of heat can permanently damage them. 

    -NEVER Put your diapers in the microwave. There are safer ways to disinfect them.

    -NEVER use undiluted bleach on them- it deteriorates the fabric

    -NEVER put a cloth diaper in the dishwasher- For starters, I’m not putting diapers (clean or dirty) where I wash the dishes I eat off of.  Secondly, manufacturers would NEVER recommend this on their products.  Finally, it’s actually very dangerous and could cause a fire to start in your home.

    Photo Credit: Lou Haach

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    February 25, 2014
    Baby Sleep Ideas

    I recently became an auntie! On February 17th, my sister gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. I’m not going to spend this post gushing about how cute and perfect and well behaved he is, but I will say he’s a really good sleeper! Newborns spend most of their time (not pooping or eating) asleep. But sometimes, even if they have a full belly and clean diaper, it can be hard to get them to sleep! This post by The Savvy Bump is full of excellent ideas on how to get the little ones to rest:

    -Baby sleep is extremely complicated. All babies are different, and the sooner you accept this, the better off you’ll be. There is no magic solution. Some babies are great sleepers, some are not. Just knowing that makes things easier!

    -Read the books, but don’t take them too seriously. I learned something from each book but I also found myself getting extremely stressed out after reading them

    -Take care of your own sleep. Sleep deprivation is rough and it is easy to give all your attention and energy to making sure your baby is sleeping. However, it is important that you remember yourself! By taking care of yourself, you are NOT abandoning him 

    Photo by Me! (My gorgeous nephew!)

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