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Archive for June, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Baby’s First Fourth of July Celebration on a Budget

  Written By: Melainie

4th of julyWhen you are raising a family on a single income budget, money can be a little tight for recreational activities. This Fourth of July we will have a low-key, simple celebration as a family and keep our budget in check. I came up with a plan to give our baby a wonderful celebration for her first July 4th without spending too much extra money.

Low Cost 4th of July Plan

Free Fireworks Show: The main event that my family and I plan to attend this July 4 is the fireworks show, of course. We live close to a large lake and the city has a big fireworks show over the lake every Fourth of July. If your city has cut their fireworks budget out, then check neighboring towns to see if there will be a free fireworks show near you this 4th of July.

Borrow 4th of July Entertainment: My baby loves for me to read to her and it’s never too soon to teach a baby some history. This weekend I am going to check out a few children’s books from the library that will be of interest to my baby and teach her a little Independence Day history. While I am there I will also check out the DVD selection and maybe rent a good Independence Day movie for free too.

Budget Friendly Food Menu: This 4th of July I will be making my famously simple Potato Salad that my husband loves so much. Along with that we will also be having grilled Bratwurst and Baked Beans.

Simple Potato Salad

5 medium sized Russet potatoes
1/2 cup mustard
1 cup mayonnaise
6 strips of bacon (or 1 cup pulled pork)
1/2 cup dill relish
1 Tbsp pepper
1 tsp onion powder
salt to taste

simple potato saladWash potatoes and boil until they are firm but easily cut with a knife and place them in an ice water bath. While potatoes boil, fry bacon and set aside to cool. Cube potatoes and crumble in bacon. Then mix together mayo, mustard, relish and add to potato salad. Sprinkle in pepper and onion powder and mix well (without smashing potatoes). Taste test and add salt if needed. I never really measure the ingredients (so you may want to adjust it to your own tastes) but my husband loves it this way. This tastes even better if left in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

patriotic craft for babyPatriotic Mobile Craft for Baby: If you’re feeling a little crafty and want your baby to enjoy the patriotic atmosphere then you can make this cute mobile to hang above their crib. All you need to make it is an embroidery hoop (or round plastic lid), red paint, white and blue cardstock, red ribbon, white or blue wooden beads, paint brush, scissors, and glue.

1. Paint the embroidery hoop (or lid) red.

2. Cut out as many white and blue stars as you want- two at a time because you will be glueing them together.

3. Cut ribbon in several different lengths.

4. Attach stars to the ribbon by gluing two matching stars together with the ribbon sandwiched between them.

5. Tie top of ribbon around hoop and tie four pieces of ribbon at equal distances around hoop and tie the ends together.

6. Thread beads on the ends of each ribbon and tie a knot.

If you need more patriotic ideas for the Fourth of July read my Memorial Day post for more patriotic inspiration.

PostHeaderIcon Prepare for a Yard Sale

  Written By: Melainie

yard sale babyDo you remember my Trash To Treasure post a few months ago when I said I planned to have a yard sale this summer with everything I have been gathering together? Well, that time is coming and I have been working extra hard this past week getting everything ready for a yard sale this Saturday.

On top of scouring Craigslist, looking for hidden treasures in thrift stores and roadsides, and cleaning out our storage buildings, I have also been gathering items from my other family members (mother, in-laws, grandparents, etc.). I plan on making my yard sale as big as I can and hopefully it will be a big success too. Here is the breakdown of what I am doing to prepare for my yard sale, with the help of my adorable baby and handyman husband of course.

Prepare for Yard Sale

Bought an All-in-one Yard Sale Kit from Amazon. I really like this kit and it includes plenty of signs, price tags and stickers for a better price than the local stores. After I bought it, I went around the block planning where I will put the directional signs.

Cleaned up and put together everything that I am selling, actually I am still working on this one. I have been dusting and cleaning as much as I can but I still have not gathered everything from my family, so that will continue this week also.

Mow lawn and trim tree limbs/hedges. I want my yard to be inviting and open for the yard sale, so I trimmed back some low hanging tree limbs and my husband mowed the lawn as usual.

Put an ad in the local newspaper and the online swapper. I called the paper ahead of time to figure out when I need to place my advertisement and plan on getting that done today. I also put my ad in an online swapper for free.

Obtain a city yard sale license. Today I am going to fill out the paperwork and pay the fee to get my yard sale license for this Saturday.

Price almost every single yard sale item. This is yard sale price tagactually a pet peeve of mine. I will not buy anything from a yard sale that has no prices. I think it is lazy and annoying to have to ask the seller about the price of everything. So, I am trying to price as much as I can, but it’s difficult when I don’t have everything gathered together at my house.

Check the value of collectibles and antiques online. Before we end up being suckers we are going to check the selling value of any items that might be worth more than what someone would normally pay at the yard sale by looking on E-Bay and other sites online.

Get plenty of change from the bank. I don’t want to run out of change when my yard sale is really beginning to pick up traffic, so I will hopefully get plenty of change from the bank. I plan on going Friday morning and asking for several one’s, five’s, and ten’s plus a few twenty’s; and also a dollar in pennies, plus a few rolls of nickels, dimes, and quarters.

Set everything up for success. All electronics will be set up on the front porch and plugged into the outlet to show they are working. I plan on stringing up a clothesline around my front porch to hang all of the clothes on. I am trying to get plenty of tables to put everything on but I don’t have a lot of tables that I want to sell. As long as everything looks inviting, clean, and uncluttered I think it will be a success.

Sell something cool and refreshing. I am going to have the kids in my family come over and sell Popsicles during the yard sale and I am also planning for them to give out free balloons to all of the kids. I might also sell soda and bottled water but I haven’t decided for sure.

yard sale successThis is my Yard Sale Plan-Of-Action and hopefully it will work well to bring in some extra cash. I will tell you all about it next week and maybe have some pointers/suggestions for your yard sales. Also, I will tell you what I did to entertain my baby and how she was during the yard sale.

 

PostHeaderIcon 10 Things To Do Before Having a Baby (10)

  Written By: Melainie

pregnantHere is the finale to my “Things To Do Before Having a Baby” posts! My list of 101 things is finished and now I will make a page with the entire list. I hope you enjoyed it and maybe it will be useful for anyone who is considering starting a family. This last list is more about what to do after you’re pregnant. Leave me a comment telling me what you think.

To Do Before Baby:

91.  Take sexy pictures of yourself- Spend some time and money at a professional photography studio having someone take fun, sexy photos. Or do fun, flirty poses while your husband snaps photos like you’re a movie star and he is the paparazzi. It’s a nice way to be the center of attention before your baby becomes the star of the house.

92.  Audition to be on television- This isn’t really something that I would care to do, but it is on most people’s to do list. If you want to audition for television then you would be better off doing it before having a baby, so trek out to Hollywood and audition. Maybe you’ll become a real star…

93.  Go to a live concert- No matter what the genre of music, you must attend a live concert before you have to “grow up” and be the parent. I went to a mini Christian concert when I was a teenager and I am very glad for the fun experience, the exciting atmosphere of it.

94.  Visit a developing country- Do some volunteer work in an under-developed country and be grateful for what you have. Sometimes you don’t realize just how blessed you truly are until you are faced with extreme poverty like many people have to deal with across the world. This is a great way to keep your spending in check when you become pregnant and want to buy everything you see for the baby.

95.  Read Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way and What To Expect When You’re Expecting- Both of these books were necessary for me to feel confident about the pregnancy and birth of my baby. I would even recommend reading them if you are trying to conceive. Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way is about the Bradley Method of childbirth but it also has so many great common sense points for having a healthy pregnancy. Also, What to Expect When You’re Expecting has a great easy-to-read layout and is packed with information from trying-to-conceive through postpartum care.

96.  Stock up the house- Buy an abundance of cleaning supplies and toiletries so you don’t have to go shopping for a while. This is more for the third trimester of pregnancy, but you could stock up before getting pregnant if you want. After having a baby you will probably not want to go on any shopping trips for a while- at least, I know I didn’t. Buy a bulk supply of everything you use on a regular basis. You might want to invest some money in a deep freezer and store up a bunch of pre-made meals too.

97.  Prepare Thank-You notes and birth announcements- Here is another third trimester task that I wish I had done. I was too exhausted to give a care about birth announcements and did the bare minimum of thank-you’s. I thought that I would have time after the baby was born- this is crazy, there is never time for anything other than basic necessities.

98.  Learn about Cord Blood Banking- Read all about it and decide accordingly. There are many pros and cons to consider with cord blood banking and it’s a decision that must be made before going into labor.

99.  Do a safety inspection of your home- Check your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, security system, etc…

100.Make two baby registries- Put all of the expensive things you would like in a registry at a fancy baby boutique and make another registry with the necessities at somewhere like Wal-Mart/Babies-R-Us.

*******************************************************

Ta-Da! The Final Tip To Do Before Having a Baby is…

101.Relax and enjoy your pregnancy- You may not want to do everything I have listed here but it gives you an idea… Overall the most important thing to do before having a baby is to enjoy the experience of growing your precious baby.

PostHeaderIcon My Letter To Baby

  Written By: Melainie

Every parent has certain hopes and dreams for their baby that they wish to be fulfilled as their baby grows into an adult. Character traits, beliefs, education, family values- all of these things are extremely important for us as parents to influence our child’s life and shape them into a great person. I decided to write a letter to my baby describing my hopes and dreams for her life, so that when she is older I can show it to her and think back on this wonderful time in my life as I daydream about the kind of person she will become.
letter to dear baby

letter to newborn baby

Newborn Baby Anneliese

I would like to challenge all of you new mothers out there- if you have not written a letter to your baby- write a letter now to give to your child once they have grown up and to remember how you felt at this precious time in your lives together.

PostHeaderIcon Father’s Day Facts and Stats

  Written By: Melainie

happy fathers dayI am so thankful to have a wonderful Dad in my life and the “privilege” to be raised in a supportive co-parented family. I am also very proud of my husband over this past 10 months being an amazing and caring Dad- Happy First Father’s Day! I believe everyone should celebrate the importance of Dad this Father’s Day. So, read up on these fun facts and interesting statistics- along with some good quotes.

father and baby

Anneliese with Her Daddy

Father’s Day Fun Facts

Father's Day FactsOrigin- The first Father’s Day celebration in the U.S. was observed in West Virginia on July 5, 1908. But a national Father’s Day was first established June 19, 1910 by a daughter wanting to honor her widowed Father. The third Sunday in June was officially designated as Father’s Day in 1966. There are 60 Countries around the world (including the U.S.) that celebrate Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June.

70.1 Million- estimated number of fathers in the USA as of 2010.

26.4 Million of those fathers are married with children under 18.

•  154,000- number of Stay-At-Home Dads in the USA as of 2010.

$29.8 Billion- amount of Child Support that Father’s owe (not necessarily paid) to Mothers in the USA in 2010.

• In contrast- $4.3 Billion is the amount of Child Support that Mothers owe to custodial Fathers in 2010.

Father’s Day is the busiest day for collect calls, although there are more total phone calls on Mother’s Day- apparently kids are more cheap with their Dad.

Necktie- most popular Father’s Day gift and you can thank the First Chinese Emperor Shih Huang Ti around 210 B.C. for being the first man in recorded history to wear a necktie (the same emperor known for his army of Terracotta soldiers).

Importance of Dad Statistics

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services fatherless boys and girls are: twice as likely to drop out of high school, twice as likely to end up in jail, and four times more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems.

Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors including drug use, truancy, and criminal activity.

- quoted from Fatherhood.gov

• 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.

• 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father figure.

On this Father’s Day we want to thank all fathers, especially those celebrating their first Father’s Day, who work so hard to provide love and support for their children. I know from experience the difficult challenges fatherhood brings. But I also know the great joy and pride that comes from being a dad.

-Dr. Carmona U.S. Surgeon General

Father involvement in schools is associated with the higher likelihood of a student getting mostly A’s according to the National Center for Educational Statistics.

Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance.
-Ruth E. Renkel

dad and baby

My Husband with Our Newborn Baby

I am not ashamed to say that no man I ever met was my father’s equal, and I never loved any other man as much.
-Hedy Lamarr

P.S. Happy Birthday To Me! Since Monday (June 20) is my birthday I am taking a day off- as much as I can while taking care of a baby- and there will be no new post…

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