First birthdays are a fun and important milestone for a little one as well as mommy and daddy. That doesn’t mean that the party you throw for your child’s first birthday needs to be an epic undertaking. The cost doesn’t have to be epic either.
Limited Number Of Guests
The first birthday is the only birthday you can really get away with having a small party. Chances are your one year old hasn’t made very many friends and ones he or she has made won’t even remember ( or feel hurt because) they weren’t invited to a party. Their parents won’t raise to much of an eyebrow when you declare that it’s just going to be a small family get together. When they hit two you may have to invite your whole play group, but for now you can keep the memories to the family in town.
Make The Cake
Buy a cake mix and make the cake. Your child most likely doesn’t need the extra sugary goodness of a store bought cake anyway. You can control cake size or make cupcakes. You can control the type and amount of frosting that goes on it. Plus your little one year old will give you as many great, messy, pictures you your photo album with a cake mix cake as they would have with a store ought cake.
Don’t Go Crazy With Presents
Your child is at an age where boxes hold just as much of their interest as what’s inside them. In fact I have seen a one year old unwrap an empty box and proceed to play with the excitement as though they had received the latest fad toy. Just be sure that the toy is age appropriate and easy to clean. Little sticky hands will be all over the place today.
Having a baby is expensive. There is the medical portion, upgrading to a larger apartment and stocking up on diapers and everything else you little one may need. While having a baby is a joy for any family. Here’s how to keep your baby preparation a joy as well as within your budget.
Two In One Items
Buy dual purpose items. My favorite two in one item was a playpen and a bassinet. There are also strollers systems that also include a car seat. Use resting items ( such as baby seats) that have a tray. You can use it both as a secured play area and a high chair.
To make baby food all you need is a high quality blender and a baby food recipe book. Make sure that the foods you choose to grind or puree for your little one are age appropriate. Many citrus fruits are not appropriate for a six month old to eat. There is to much fruit acid. Make sure to use blander foods to start out with.
Goats milk is healthy for an infant as opposed to cows milk, that a baby can’t consume. It’s preferable to use breast milk or formula, but when you need to feed your baby and neither are available, goats milk is a good third option. Just warm it up to a nice lukewarm temperature and feed it to your little one. You can also learn to make homemade goat milk formula, which is really good for babies with a lactose intolerance.
Babies go through stuff faster than rain through a storm drain. People either save the stuff for the next baby or give it away. They donate cast offs to pregnancy centers, thrift stores and their friends. Most of these are wonderful to have and cost next to nothing, but be careful buying safety items such as car seats. Many thrift store car seats are outdated and not up to today’s safety standards.
Mom’s don’t get a day off. It doesn’t matter if you work at home or not. We are on the clock from time to wake up until it is time to sleep. Then we are on call through out the night. The best way to get any time for oneself is to hire a babysitter and leave the house for a little while. Not all of us can afford to do that though. Here are a few ways to get a little me time even when you don’t have a babysitter.
Have a designated quiet time in your home. It could be a few hours on Sunday afternoon where the kids play in their rooms or a a daily hour where the kids spend a little time reading. Making a little quiet time a part of your routine helps you get a little time in for yourself and teaches your children to entertain themselves.
The After Bedtime Routine
After your kids go to bed, and before you go about picking up toys or doing the dishes take some time to breath. Enjoy a snack or a soda without little ones around begging for a taste. Take fifteen minutes to fish that book you have been trying to get through for a month. Then when you have had at least fifteen minutes to yourself you can get your chores done. Nightly chores can feel like a much smaller task once you have taken a moment to calm down.
There are many places you can go to take a moment to breath. You could have a lemonade in the back yard. You could take an extra long shower. Use weeding the front yard as an excuse to be away for a moment. If your kids rebel against the idea, offer to have them help so you can get to what they want you to more quickly. They will either help or let you alone to get your weeding done.
At some point most people end up getting a better vehicle and when that day comes (unless you are passing it down to someone) it’s time to figure out what to do with the old vehicle. What if you couldn’t really sell it to someone in good conscience? What if you need to get it out of the apartment complex’s parking lot before it gets towed or ticketed? Here are a few ways to get rid of or use that old car that can be a profit to you.
Use It For Parts
Save yourself some money by buying a newer model of the same make of car that is currently sitting in your yard or driveway. You can use the old car as your own personal pick and pull. If you know how to do your own work ( or know your way around the maintenance manual) you can save quite a bit of money on auto repair.
Sell It For Parts
There may be parts that you can’t use from the older model on the newer car. In a case like that you could sell the used part. The same applies if you choose to get a different type of car altogether. When your old car just isn’t running this is a good route to take. You can still get some of that money you have invested in that car rather than just call it a loss and have it towed away.
Sell It For Scrap
When you just can’t find a use for your old vehicle (it’s too old or too rundown) you can sell it for scrap. This is a great option when you have an older car or truck because there seems to be more metal in older vehicles. It may not be a huge sum, but it’s still money.
One of the best ways to save money is to have a bit of land and to be self-sufficient. The only problem is that becoming self-sufficient costs money in the beginning. Here are a few things to consider if you are considering a small backyard farm.
Multi Purpose Animals
Think about getting a couple of miniature goats. You would want a type of goat that has a body covering that can be used to make yarn. You would also want female goats to produce goats milk. Last you may need to learn to make cheese from the goats milk. While these animals will take money to shelter and feed these animals they can provide much in return in the way of materials and food products.
Chickens can also be multipurpose. They lay eggs and their poop can be added to fertilizers for the garden. Of course you can eat your animals too, but that can make your farm less productive.
People go a little crazy when it comes to their gardens. They often bite off more than they can chew. While it is good to have a garden to cultivate food independence, it is also good to know how much you can actually handle. There is the cost of watering the garden, fertilizer costs and of course the amount of time and manpower you have to provide upkeep.
Also consider what crops you are growing and how much room they are going to take. Growing wheat or corn is a noble goal, but do you have the room to actually grow enough to make it worth your while.Will your family eat the plants that you grow? You can grow all the okra in the world, but if your children detest okra it won’t get you very far.
Last you need to be able to store your harvest. Get a friend to teach you how to jar or can your excess produce. You may also want to learn to pickle or dehydrate your harvest. This will allow you to enjoy your investment into the winter months.
Congratulations! You have a one year old. You also have a couple cases of left over baby food that he or she wasn’t eating last week and definitely won’t eat now. I mean they can have the goodness of solid food. You may find yourself in a position where you don’t have friends with babies and a while bunch of baby food you don’t want to waste. Here are some ways to use up that baby food.
Instead of waiting for bananas to soften for banana bread use the already pureed banana baby food. You can also use other baby food fruits as a pie filling. Using a jar or baby food corn works great for adding a little moisture into corn bread
You can dump the leftover baby fruit into a bowl and freeze it. Then eat it with some whipped cram as a frozen treat. You can take the runnier fruits and make them into fruit popsicles.
You can add vegetables in disguise in soups and chili by stirring a jar of baby food vegetables into the mix. The same can be said of baby food meats. It’s a fast way to add meat to a chili or soup without the thawing and cutting. it also ensures the meat is easily chewed by your younger family members.
If you have a sick child and are worried that they need to eat something ( or your trying to avoid dry heaving) consider using baby food. It’s broken down enough to get some nutrients into your child’s system and if they do end up throwing up, at least they have something to throw up.
Cereals can be mixed with other hot cereals or add-ons such as peanut butter or jelly. Rice cereal is a good base for a rice pudding. You may also find you like baby oatmeal better than regular oatmeal. It pours smoothly, and if stirred well, can have less lumps. Baby cereals are also a good way to add texture to soups or chili.
Kids playing outside save money most of the time. You use less air conditioning. You use less electricity. You hear less whining. The only thing you may use more of is water, but that’s a good thing. How can you get your kids to stay outside?
Proper Lotions And Sprays
The first thing you need to do is use sunblock and insect repellant. This can keep many of the health issues that come along with summer at bay. You may also want to opt for shorter haircuts. This keeps your children cooler longer, and makes less hair to go through if you need to look for ticks or other creepy crawlies that may get into a child’s hair. Set up areas of shade in the back yard. If you don’t have a patio or covered porch set a tent up in the back yard. It will provide a little shade and still be fun for the little ones to play in.
Strict Dress Code
Bathing suits, shorts and t-shirts. With the exception of special events or Sunday afternoons, this is all you really need to keep in a child’s summer wardrobe. You may want to accessorize with hats and sunglasses and sandals. Make sure to get sandals that strap onto your child’s feet rather than flip flops. They are harder to lose, provide a little more ankle support and meld well into indoor settings.
Food And Water
Have an out to eat garden. This is a special little garden the kids are free to pick from when they are hungry. If you don’t like the idea of your kids drinking from the hose when outside have a little cooler outside for them as well, filled with water and ice. Add a few water balloons too, just in case it’s extra hot. Trust me. The kids will know what to do with them.
Moving into a new area and leaving some of the things we own behind can be difficult. This is extra true if one of the things we left behind was the bed. This is even more difficult when we discover that we aren’t as young as we used to be and can’t sleep on just any surface anymore. Our air mattress is falling apart and, if we are really honest with ourselves we weren’t getting a great night sleep on it anyway. We are ready to consider a used mattress, but how can we make extra sure that’s what we’ll get?
The ideal used mattress is still wrapped in plastic because the previous owners never removed it. These are far and few between so there are a few things that you should check for in a used mattress.
Start off by wondering how many pets the previous bed owners had and how well behaved they were. Did they claw up the sides of the mattress? Did the cats break into the bottom of the box spring and use it as a littler box?
Move on to the other areas of concern. Are their stains on the mattress? Are there any holes in it? If the owner is available ask why they are getting rid of it. Is it because it’s infested with lice or are they just buying a new, larger bed?
Last consider the quality of mattress you are getting. Are there broken springs? Is there a dip in the center where the mattress is broken down? If so you may be better off looking for a different used bed.
Cleaning It Up
You will need lots and lots of disinfectant spray. Once you have found a used mattress that you feel is decent, you will want to spray it down with a disinfectant (not air freshening) spray. Seriously. Soak it. Make sure it is wet with spray when you are finished with it. Spray it on all sides and corners. As it dries you can inspect your box spring. Cut open the bottom of it to make sure there is nothing hiding in it ( spiders, litter box surprises or other garbage. Spray the box spring down on the inside as well as the outer surfaces.
Just In Case
Always have sheets on the bed. In fact if you are still a little paranoid about the mattress ( you knew the owners and while generous, they weren’t very tidy) it may be best to put a plastic or rubber sheet covering on it for the first few weeks. Continue to spray it down weekly (or daily) if you so choose.