Category Archives: Baby

Road Trips With A Baby

Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. Your support in purchasing through these links enables me to continue to offer you lots of free stuff. Thank you!

easy road trips with baby, road trips with a baby, what to bring on a road trip with a toddler

J and I love to go.  His family lives about 2 hours away, my sister is about 3 hours and the majority of our friends are in the opposite direction about another 3 hours away.  So we like to travel a lot on the weekends.  

We’re also the crazy people that prefer to take our three dogs with us on road trips.  With such a crazy bunch we’ve learned a few tricks to help us keep our sanity.  

Here’s how we take road trips with our little guy:

Prep your bottles before leaving the house.  Baby Boy was formula fed for the first year so I liked to have at least 3 big bottles filled with water and 2 small ones filled.  We bought these formula dispensers and they have been a lifesaver.  One is for 6 oz. bottles and the other one is for 2 oz. bottles.  Now he’s on milk so I use a small ice chest that is tall enough to hold his bottles.  I fill a bottle (or two) with milk and put it on ice for the road.  Now I don’t have to try to pour while driving and I can quickly grab a filled bottle to soothe a cranky child.

There has been (almost) nothing better than the day our little man could hold his own bottle.  It was a miracle!  Now when he gets hungry, we can just hand him his bottle, he feeds himself.  When he’s done he typically puts the bottle on the side of his car seat so I don’t have to worry about it leaking everywhere.  The only time I have to crawl in the back is when he wants actual food.  We use the pouches, but he hasn’t quite mastered feeding himself those yet.  

A few weeks ago I went to KC to visit a friend and her little boy who’s about the same age as our man.  Her little man can feed himself those pouches, but our guy hasn’t quite gotten it yet.  Anyway… we were driving back to her apartment and we thought they both had fallen asleep.  When we pulled in, I went to get my guy out and noticed this orange liquid all over him, the ceiling, the door, window, inside his car seat and the outside of his friend’s seat.  Yep, her little guy was being nice and handed my boy his pouch of food.  Of course he didn’t know what he was doing so he squirted food everywhere!  It was pretty funny and luckily hadn’t dried yet.  So with a quick wipe down with a bath towel, we were all good to go.

Now we’ve been working on feeding ourselves those pouches ever since that weekend.

Get your diaper bag ready.  I typically like to keep my diaper bag light.  I hate over packing it with things I know I will not need in the car.  So I keep it filled with just the necessities.  Bottles, formula, one toy, a change of clothes, plastic baggie filled with wipes, and 2-3 diapers.  Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?  But trust me, it’s not compared to how I used to pack a diaper bag.

I recently ordered a new diaper bag from Amazon and I’m in love.  It’s big enough to carry what we need, but it’s not too bulky that it drives me crazy.  I had been using a thirty-one bag I bought back in my early twenties, but with flying for our next beach trip I wanted a bag that would zip fully closed.  This bag doubles as a backpack, a messenger bag or has handles on top.  It also came with stroller clips, which has been a huge help.  I always hated shoving the bag in the bottom of the stroller.  I didn’t want my pre-filled bottles to leak or stuff to get unorganized. 

Pack the baby’s food items together in a separate bag.  The first trip we took I packed Baby Boy’s formula in our suitcase.  That was a big mistake!  I had to crawl all the way in the back, balance the suitcase on my leg so I could get the formula out.  I’ve now learned my lesson and keep all of the baby’s items in a separate bag that’s easily reached.  

In this bag I have a tub and soap to wash bottles, pack of formula, baby food, spoon, highchair cover for restaurants, table cover for restaurants, diapers, big pack of wipes, blanket, and a few more toys.  This bag usually goes behind the driver’s seat so the passenger can still reach it.

Baby Boy is usually pretty good in the car, but we’ve learned that it’s important to keep a seat open next time him just in case.  In a past trip we were headed to Springfield, which is about 3 hours away.  We were almost half-way when Baby Boy woke up starving.  He is so much like his Momma when he’s hungry.  There is no appeasing him until there is a bottle or food in his mouth.  J had to pull over along the side of the highway and I had to hop in the back.  Since I had his diaper bag ready to go with filled bottles that boy was happy within seconds and this Momma wasn’t shaken by the screams coming from our little man.  

road trip with baby, road trip with kids, how to organize toys in the car, easy road trip with a baby

Keep a handful of small toys close.  When Baby Boy is bigger then obviously the toys will change, but for now we try to keep a few chew toys and ones that light up in the car.  I also tend to bring a few because sometimes he gets excited and will launch a toy across the car out of arm’s reach.  I started keeping a basket in the backseat that is filled with a few toys – light up ones, rattles, plush toys, and so on.  The basket keeps the toys together and gives them a place so the car doesn’t look a bit junky.

Bring a bath towel with you.  A towel works great if you have to use the backseat as an impromptu changing station or if you pull over at a not-so-nice looking gas station.  We’ve also had to use the towel one time I spilled a completely filled bottle all over the backseat.  Babies aren’t the only ones that make messes! Also, those towels work great on cleaning your car’s ceiling from baby food that gets squirted everywhere (see above for story).

Keep empty plastic bags or grocery sacks in the car.  I hate messes, especially in confined areas.  Nothing feels worse than having stuff everywhere.  So I try to keep things organized as best as possible. Typically I have an empty grocery bag we use for trash, one for dirty bottles and another for any spoiled clothes.  That way we can keep everything together and off the floor.  

Traveling with dogs is a lot easier.  We drive a bigger SUV so we put the dogs in the very back.  Years ago I was given or found (not sure which) a giant dog bed.  It actually fits perfectly in the back of the car.  Now we can put the pillow in the back and all three dogs are able to lay down and be comfortable.  

If we’re going long distance then we use the seat behind the driver for our suitcase and put the dogs’ food and bowls in the back with them.  That way they still have plenty of room to lay down and we still have an open seat in case one of us needs to be closer to our little guy.

If you’re planning on a road trip to a beach, checkout my beach tips post for all the great things to take with you!

What do you do on road trips with a baby?  Leave a comment letting me know, I love to learn more tricks!

 

Getting Your Toddler to Eat Fruit {Without Throwing a Fit}

I don’t know about your little one, but if they are anything like mine you have to be sneaky. I know my guy just turned one and some foods are still a little strange to him.

For instance… most fruits. He doesn’t care for the texture. But I can’t really blame him because I am the exact same way!

The texture of some fruits just throw me off. I like the flavor just fine, but the texture is a whole other story. I’ve been trying hard to get over my weird issue so that I don’t pass it on to my son.

But I’m not being successful. I’ve even eaten the fruit trying to show him it’s good.

For instance.. strawberries. I know it has to be a weird fruit to enjoy because I do not. I have tried it at least once a year since I was a little girl and I still can’t get over the way it feels.

The other day our boy was fighting me on eating strawberries. I cut them up into small pieces, mixed them with fruit and still nothing. He would literally pull the strawberry piece out of his mouth and drop it to the floor… while looking directly at me and laughing.

You can’t make me eat this, Mom!

I resorted to a new tactic. Nothing super scientific or even that clever, but at 7am one morning I was pretty proud of myself.  Here’s how I’m getting my toddler to eat fruit:

getting your little one to eat fruit, sneaking fruit, getting your baby to eat healthy, getting a toddler to eat fruit, fruit and oatmeal ideas

I took the strawberry chunks, put it in my magic bullet with a little bit of milk and pureed them. Not super fine, still some chunks. Then I mixed it with his oatmeal.

Do you know what?

He loved it! He ate the whole bowl!

So the next morning, I added more strawberries and he gobbled that up too!

I knew I was on to something.

Every morning I’ve been taking his fruit and pureeing it a bit less. I’m trying to get him use to the texture of strawberries, blueberries, mangos and melons. If I make them too big, he’s sure to tell me with that direct stare as he feeds it to the dogs, but we’re working on it.

I thought it was pretty ingenious to blend them together with a little milk or water and each week just blend a little less. I’m hoping eventually he’ll like eating them just chopped into smaller pieces over pureed, but at least he’s eating fruit!

What’s one way you have gotten your little ones to eat healthier foods? I’ve been trying to get him more on table foods, but he’s not that interested in all of them yet.

Why Mom Is Tired

why moms are so tired, mom is tired, video, why mom is tired

It’s no secret that Moms just don’t sleep much. No matter how if their little one is a newborn or a year old. Us Moms, we have a problem.

 

And I think I’ve finally found why mom is tired.

It’s the dang baby monitor. No matter how tired you are, no matter how sick you feel when that baby monitor glows or a sound comes from that little speaker, you’re wide awake.

For more mom videos checkout my Youtube channel

Beach Tips for Baby

Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. Your support in purchasing through these links enables me to continue to offer you lots of free stuff. Thank you!

beach tips for baby, baby beach tips, taking newborn to beach

Last year our little family of three went to the beach twice.  Our little guy was only two months old the first trip and then we went again a month later.  I learned so much during those two trips.  So much.  I kept telling myself I was going to put together a blog post sharing all my secrets and tricks.  But here I am almost a year later just getting to it.  #momproblems

Actually what inspired me to write this post is the fact our little family is planning another beach trip this summer.  I love the beach.  It really is my happy place and the beaches at the local lake don’t cut it (yuck!).  I know this trip will be so much different than the ones last summer since our little guy is now walking and is so much more active these days.

Here are my baby beach tips for your newborns:

Bring A Laundry Basket.  

It was the best thing I discovered.  Not only can you haul all of your stuff down to the beach, but your little one can curl up and take a nap out of the sand.  I can’t tell you how many times I ended up just carrying my sleeping boy back to the house in a laundry basket.  I laid a towel down in the bottom to give him some extra cushion, but that’s it.  

The holes in the basket are perfect to make sure your little one is getting enough air flow.  

beach tips for baby, baby beach tips, taking newborn to beach  

Bring A Portable Fan.

If you’re worried about airflow are just want to make sure they’re staying cool, then bring a portable fan.  I used this stroller fan that runs on batteries and clipped into the side.  We also had a Ryobi fan that we used.

beach tips for baby, baby beach tips, taking newborn to beach

 

Bring Sun Protective Gear.

Make sure the swimsuit you purchase as built in UPF protection.  I purchased this suit on Amazon and fell in love last year.  But now that’s a bit bigger and harder to change a diaper in I went with a two piece – swim trunks and rash guard. I even purchased a hat with protection to make sure his scalp wouldn’t get burned.  This hat even has an adjustable cap so it can fit a small newborn or a bigger baby.  We plan on using the hat this summer, too!  It still fits!

beach tips for baby, baby beach tips, taking newborn to beach

Bring A Canopy.

If you’re going to a beach where you can bring your own canopy or rent one, then please do it!  It’s so much easier than hauling a pack-n-play to the beach (and less sandy).  On our second trip we drove with J’s family and they packed a canopy.  It was perfect spot to have us out of the direct sunlight.  If you do end up with an umbrella then I would recommend grabbing an umbrella anchor to help keep the umbrella in place.  On our first day last year, the wind caught the umbrella and it came flying out of the ground.  It would have hit the baby but I ducked over him just in time to get hit pretty good in the forehead.  It scared our little guy, but he was unharmed!

Bring Sunscreen.

I used Babyganics Sunscreen and highly recommend them.  I felt safe using it on my little guy.  

beach tips for baby, baby beach tips, taking newborn to beach

Pack Pre-measured or Pre-filled Bottles.

Whether you breastfeed or formula feed, pack bottles that are pre-measured and ready to go.  I formula fed so I had measured out my water in the bottles and formula in my dispenser.  This way when our little guy got hungry I didn’t have to traipse back up to the house or worry about getting sand in his bottle.  It worked great!

This year now that our little one is over a year old and much more active we plan on bringing:

This life jacket.  It’s highly recommended and I love that it has a head support to keep his head from going backwards.  It also has a handle so if we need to grab him, it will be a lot easier.

Babyganics sunscreen.  It worked beautifully last year so I’m going to stick with it again this summer.

These swim trunks and rash guard.  Like I said, this year I plan on having two piece swimsuit for him.  I think it will be a lot easier when changing his diapers now that he’s an active toddler as opposed to an 8-week old newborn.

The adjustable hat that I mentioned above.  We also got a new one for his birthday that I can’t wait to put on him.  He’s going to be so cute!

Swim shoes to wear around the pool.  Since he’s walking I figured keeping him off the hot concrete will be difficult.  So I’m planning ahead and buying these water shoes.

What are some of your favorite go-to beach tips for baby?

How To Recover From Your Kid’s First Birthday Party

gone fishing birthday, diy smash cake, first birthday party, birthday party on a budget, meredith rines

Well we survived.  Baby Boy’s first birthday and party was a huge success.  We went with the Gone Fishing theme and had so much yummy food. Now that it’s over I feel like I need an extra day just to recover.  I spent months planning this party and then just like that it was over.

A great thing that worked out for us was having his party on Saturday.  That way anyone who was traveling from out of town could come for just the day.  The party started in the early afternoon so most of our out-of-town travelers came down that morning and we able to be home by 7 or 8 that same night.  We also wanted our guests to be able to have a day off before going back to work.  I like having parties on Saturdays.  Usually J and I are the ones having to travel to see friends or family and being home late Saturday or early Sunday morning is the best.  Then I feel like I have a full day to get things done around the house.

We also planned a Saturday party so we could have a full day to get the house back to normal and take lots of naps.  Genius!

gone fishing birthday, diy smash cake, first birthday party, birthday party on a budget, meredith rines

Here’s what we did to recover FAST from our Baby Boy’s birthday party:

Cleaned up first thing.  As soon as the party was over we started cleaning.  Threw away trash, put dishes in the dishwasher and put away and left over food.  I didn’t want to procrastinate and then be left with dirty plates and trash laying around.  It may not be a perfect clean up, but try to get the bulk of it before going to bed.

Deep clean the next morning.  I woke up early and finished cleaning the house.  I swept, cleaned the floors and hauled back the tables we borrowed.  If you need extra hands then I would recommend taking your little guy to his grandparents’ for a few hours to give you an opportunity to clean.  

Find a place for all of the new stuff.  I had a feeling that his first birthday was going to be bad (as in a lot of stuff).  But I had no idea.  

TIP:  Hide a few new toys in a closet and then in a couple months when all of their toys have lost their excitement, then pull out a hidden toy.  

Nap time.  Naps are important for your little one and the day after his party might be pretty hard.  So make sure you build an extra nap time in your day. 

I’ll be sharing how I threw his party on a budget and what tricks I used to save money… and what I splurged on later this week. 

Happy First Birthday To Our Little Guy

first birthday, boy birthday, southeast missouri photographer, first birthday photo

When I was younger I would always hear my parents say “this year flew by” or “it’ll be over in a blink of an eye” and honestly, I didn’t get it.  I just couldn’t relate.  Sure the school year seemed to go by fast, but not that fast.  But since the birth of our son I feel like the days are zooming past us.  Days turn into minutes kind of fast.  

I feel like it was just yesterday we were being escorted out of the hospital by the nurse telling us to enjoy every moment because he’ll be turning one before we realize.  I didn’t believe her – I was too excited to think about his first year going by that fast.  But here I am on the eve of his first birthday with tears coming to my eyes.  

My baby is no longer a baby.

We are celebrating his first birthday tomorrow with family and friends, cookies and lots of yummy food.  

His first birthday…

It just doesn’t seem possible.  I have a toddler.  It was hard enough when he was no longer a newborn, but I coped with the fact he was still a baby.  But today, right now I no longer have a baby.  I have a fully walking, energetic toddler who is a force to be reckoned with.  He has a full personality and the deepest belly laugh I’ve ever heard.  He loves being outside, love swimming and has three best friends who follow him everywhere hoping he’ll drop a piece of food.

first birthday, boy birthday, southeast missouri photographer, first birthday photo

A few weeks ago we hired Josh DeFord to shoot some family snaps and some first birthday pictures.  They turned out so, so, so good!  Look at those baby blues, people!  

My Mom said something to me right before my little guy was delivered in a dramatic fashion.  “I know that he’s your baby, but remember you’re my baby.”

You know what, she was right (I hate to admit it though).  Even though he’s no longer this squishy newborn who I cheered the first time he rolled over, he will always be my baby.

 

I’ve been planning his first birthday party for a few weeks now.  I can’t wait to share pictures from tomorrow’s party and exactly how I did it on such a tight budget.  So come back next week for all the details!

It’s Okay To Not Have It All Together

it's okay to not have it all together

Oh Instagram how you fool me… Every. Single. Day. With your picture-perfect images of well-behaved children, perfectly dressed moms and women who actually have time to make it to the gym. But that’s just an illusion. Because I can craft a well-lit, no mess picture with the best of them. However, I’m not afraid to show it how it truly is.

A kid up most of the night crying because his teeth hurt. Dogs that bark every time there is a noise in the house that then wakes everyone up. A kitchen that’s clean for about 5 minutes a week. A family room with toys everywhere. Two parents chasing a boy around so he doesn’t try to pick up the never ending tumbleweeds of dog hair or put his hands in their water bowl.

Because no matter how often I sweep, vacuum and steam clean there is still going to be dog hair everywhere. It’s just how our life is. I roll with it.

I wish more people were real online. It would be great to know I’m not only one out there with less than perfect moments. Like not that long ago when Baby Boy was sick. I kept him home for 4 days one week since he was so sick. He was having tummy issues because of the antibiotics he was on, so you can just imagine the lovely messes I was having to deal with.  One afternoon he gave me a doozy, when I finally got him changed into a new diaper and clean clothes, I gently placed him in his crib so I could turn my attention to the disgusting changing pad. I had barely stripped off the cover when Baby Boy started coughing. I turn just in time to see him projectile vomit over everything. Like everything. He got the crib, the wall, himself, the sheets, his toy.

Gross. Of course I was home alone so no calling out for help on this one. I took a towel patted him dry then had to quickly finish cleaning the changing area. Then it was time for a new sleeper (luckily there was one clean one left in the drawer because I was desperately needing to do laundry). Placed him in the floor, stripped the bed (thank God for waterproof mattress covers, am I right?!), and put new sheets on. Then had to completely wipe down his crib and the wall.  Ugh.

It was a workout. I was sweating by the time it was all done.

sleep training your baby, getting your baby to sleep through the night

But of course I didn’t post that… I mean, I probably would have if there wasn’t poop on my phone from the earlier incident. But I did get this cute shot of him earlier that day while he was fighting his naptime. I mean look at this face. Who knew that in just a few short hours he was going to destroy his bedroom so quickly!

I know I’m not the only Mom who faces these struggles. Days where you feel like you’re running in circles. Days where you just can’t seem to get ahead. I can’t be the only one. Please tell me I’m not!

mom life

mom life

I’m not afraid to show it how it is on Instagram.  I’ve been known to show a cute month photo, but then turn around and show how the room actually looked.  It’s usually not very pretty.  Or share my desk at the office and how baby wearing is the only way I can get anything done.

I wish there were more Moms keeping it real online. Blogging and Instagram shouldn’t just be the pretty moments, but all moments. That’s what makes us so relatable, right?

How to Make a Healthy Baby Smoothie

healthy baby smoothie

Our little guy went for his 9 month check up not too long ago.  We were almost a month late on his wellness appointment thanks to scheduling issues and a double ear infection.  Anyway, we go there and our little guy is growing so good!  He’s still a small guy compared to some of our friends’ and family’s babies, but I think he’s perfect.  The doctor said he’s right on track with everything he needs to be then she started talking about his feeding. I realized that we need to up our game when it game to solids.  We needed to make sure he was snacking and getting the right nutrients each day.  

Now I know that for at least the first year most of his nutrients will come from his formula, but it doesn’t hurt to up our game in the solids department.  Honestly, I was terrified (and still am) about choking.  I hate the thought of him not eating something perfectly pureed, but I know he needs to learn about textures and how to eat on his own.  I’ve started to work past my fear and give him more and more finger foods.  

So far he has really enjoyed these baby cookies I made the other day.  I love them because there isn’t any added sugar, he loves them because of the taste and the fact he can feed himself.  We’ve also given him some lentils and beans that were a huge hit.  Literally… he would hit his trays and beans would go flying! HA!

how to make a smoothie for your baby

healthy smoothie for baby

Let’s see… we’ve also given him some pieces of fruit like pears and mangos…. and a few more.  I just make sure to cut them into smaller pieces so he can pick up and stick in his mouth.  He loves avocados and bananas that are smashed a bit.  Those are the messy dinners!

Since he doesn’t have the greatest hand-eye coordination yet, I want to make sure he’s getting enough nutrients through out the day.  I found this post about a baby smoothie and fell in love with the idea.  Something he could carry around, drink on through out the day and fill his tummy with nutritious foods.  I used what I had on hand to make one and he loved it.  At first he wasn’t so sure, but then he was spinning around backwards in his walker drinking it up!

snacks for baby

Here’s what you need for the perfect baby smoothie:

1/2 package of veggie filled baby food
1/2 package of fruit filled baby food
1 T. baby cereal (more or less)
1/2 juice from a fruit cup (packed in 100% juice)
1/2 banana, mashed
1/2 pieces of fruit from fruit cup
water, as needed

Add all of the ingredients into your magic bullet or blender, blend until combined.  Add water (make sure it’s drinkable for baby!) and keep blending until the desired consistency is reached.  You want it to be easily drinkable from a sippy cup.  

baby smoothie

Now these ingredients for this baby smoothie are interchangeable.  Use what you have on hand.  If you make your own baby food, like I do sometimes then use that!  Whatever works.  The banana and added fruit help take away from the veggie taste of the baby food so it’s more desirable to your little one.  The first time I made this I didn’t have any baby cereal on hand so I left it out.  It still worked great.  Super easy!

Oatmeal Banana Baby Cookies {recipe}

oatmeal banana cookies for baby

Do you ever get in one of those moods where you need to stay busy all day long. Like sitting down would be the worst possible thing to do? No, just me? Seriously! Well it happens. Right now I’m working 6 days a week so Sundays are my typical lazy day. I change out of my pajamas just to shower and put a clean pair right back on. I usually get J to run any errands or pick up take out because the thought of cooking leaves me numb. Like, I cooked and cleaned all week, and I know I have to start over tomorrow so today I’m doing nothing!

Well the other weekend I was in a mood. J was out of town and the baby didn’t sleep all that great the night before. We were up and moving before 6 am. By 8 I was bored. I needed to run some errands so I figured early Sunday morning would probably be the quickest. I got the baby dressed and threw on a baseball cap.

FYI if you never wear caps and then suddenly appear with one on, your baby may not recognize you. Then when he does realize who you are, he will be mesmerized by the cap the rest of the day.

We were home from the store a little after 9 and I spent the next 4 hours in the kitchen. I didn’t sit down once and even had to run back to the store a second time. The baby was playing with my list and I guess I forgot a few things… oops!

I really wanted to meal prep a few things to get ready for the next week. With our daily schedules being so crazy lately, I figured I could use all the help I could get. sugarless oatmeal banana cookies for baby  

First up was these cookies for our Baby Boy. I’ve been trying to make sure the food he’s consuming is healthy without a lot of added junk. I love the teething wafers, but sometimes he likes to take off more than he can handle. Then he starts choking and I start panicking. So I don’t give him those too often. We’ve working on his motor skills and I like giving him foods that he can pick up and feed himself with. Usually he ends up feeding the dogs about half of the food, but it’s a learning process.

I scoured Pinterest for a few snack ideas to give to baby. I came across a recipe for baby cookies and decided to adapt it a bit for my little boy. I haven’t actually tasted these to know if they’re good or not, but he seems to really enjoy them! Now in the mornings I can plop him in his highchair, tear apart a cookie for him to enjoy while I pack my lunch and get bottles ready.

What I liked best about these cookies compared to other ones I saw was that the ingredients are pureed pretty good before baking. So there’s less of a chance for him to get choked up. Plus, they’re pretty soft so his little gums can easily mash them down before swallowing. But I have to say my favorite part about these cookies is the fact that there is no added sugar. That’s a huge win for me! All of the sweet comes from the banana.

snacks for toddler
snacks baby can feed themself
healthy snack for baby

Oatmeal Banana Cookies
Serves 18
A delicious sugarless oatmeal banana cookie for your little one. This cookie is soft and chewy, so it's easily ate by your baby.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 c. quick oats, ground in a food processor
  2. 1/4 c. + 1 T. milk
  3. 1/4 t. vanilla extract
  4. 1 banana, mashed
  5. 3 T. butter
  6. 1/4 c. flour (AP or whole-wheat)
Instructions
  1. Grind the oats in a food processor, blender or magic bullet.
  2. Add milk and vanilla, mix again.
  3. Pour ingredients into a bowl with the mashed banana.
  4. Mix together.
  5. Add butter and flour.
  6. Mix to combine.
  7. Scoop onto pan, using the palm of your hand you can smash the cookie to be flat.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Notes
  1. Let cool completely before serving to your little one.
  2. You can easily break these into smaller pieces for easier eating.
Adapted from Food.com
Adapted from Food.com
merelynne http://merelynne.com/

Financially Preparing for Baby {An Update}

financially preparing for baby, an update on how to prepare for baby, how to prepare for baby

My financially preparing for baby post has been repinned quite a bit on Pinterest.  I did a little digging into my analytics and realized how popular this post has been.  I’m not talking viral or anything, but for my little blog it’s a lot.  

financially preparing for baby, an update on how to prepare for baby, how to prepare for baby

I started reading the comments left on my pin, which most were great… Then there was this one.  Most people wouldn’t be upset, but I was.  

My first thought, “who does she think she is?”
I searched her profile and her pins.  I’m a crazy that way.
My second thought was, “she doesn’t even have a blog, who is she judging me?”

I wanted to address the feeling I was having after reading it.

Ahem.

It’s hard to put yourself out there.  To have your thoughts read and critiqued by everyone, people you know personally and people you’ve never met, is hard.  If you aren’t willing to put yourself out there, I think you should keep your mouth shut.

But that was my first reaction.  After I thought about it for a bit, I still feel pretty much the same way.  Okay, okay… maybe not about keeping your mouth shut.  Criticism is okay, if it’s done constructively.  I don’t agree with this woman’s tactics – leaving a random comment, but that’s what I open myself up to by being online.

So I guess I need to have a disclaimer on my blog:

I am not an English professor.  Grammar was not my strong suit in school.  Math was, which might be why I have a Bachelor’s and MBA in business.  It might be why I’m studying to become a Certified Financial Planner and going to school for my accounting degree so I can sit for the Certified Public Accountant exam one day.  Numbers make sense to me, they flow.  Grammar doesn’t.  Ask my 7th grade English teacher because she’ll remember me struggling.

If you find an error on my blog and it bothers you to the point where you would like to make a public comment, that’s fine.  But please shoot me an email at meredith@merelynne.com.  I would like to know so I can learn from my mistakes and make any necessary corrections.  

What the lady on Pinterest did is fine.  But I’ve re-read that post over and over.  I’ve uploaded it to a few different grammar sites to see what was so terrible with it.  I can’t figure it out.  So if you notice an error, please let me know.  

Thank you.

Rant over.  

financially preparing for baby, an update on how to prepare for baby, how to prepare for baby

Let me get back to the topic I am supposed to be talking about.  An update on my post financially preparing for baby.  Let me say you can never fully prepare for a new baby, just as another one’s comment mentioned on Pinterest.  She’s so right!  It’s impossible.  However, our goal was to have money set aside for those things we weren’t planning on.  We didn’t know how our little guy was going to come 3 weeks early, which meant 3 weeks less work for me.  Luckily I had a plan for work while I was on maternity leave, but it wasn’t supposed to start 3 weeks early.  

We didn’t know he would end up in the NICU, which meant more medical bills.  We didn’t know I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed and would have to purchase formula.

If I would have known those things I would have been squirreling away more money.  However, we had a good foundation.  A foundation that helped us cover our medical deductibles without any worry.  Having money set aside helped us, because we saved money on our medical bills by paying in full.  

We lucked out by having a baby that can tolerate most formulas.  We’ve heard stories of special formula costing families close to $100 a week and that was for a newborn!  Our little guy could tolerate most brands without any problems so we were able to go with what was on sale or had coupons for.  Our pediatrician told us baby formula has to go through such a rigorous test and qualifications most of them are going to be so similar.  So find one he likes and stick with it, but don’t be afraid to buy in bulk or on sale.

I like to be transparent so I’m going to talk about the smallest additional cost with having a baby.  Now this next cost didn’t change our budgeting or our spending habits.  But I like to be open.

One of the other costs we didn’t consider was water.  A jug of water costs $0.88 for us.  We are buying 3 every 2 weeks.  Which is less than $100 a year, but it’s still an additional cost we weren’t prepared for.  

With purchasing gallons of water we’ve had to give our little guy fluoride tablets since he’s not getting it from city water.  Again, we’re lucky because insurance covers the cost of his prescription.  

I was able to find a sitter who charged less than the local daycare did.  She is smaller, which I like.  She has a few children as opposed to 10-15 like the daycare has (I know they have multiple caregivers, but it’s still crowded).  My son adores her and loves going to Mrs. Karen’s each morning.  While we were preparing for our son to get here we started saving the amount each week I thought daycare was going to cost us.  We ended up being able to use the savings to help with our medical costs I mentioned above.  It was great.

Overall our preparedness worked great.  Now whenever we want to add something to our budget or splurge, we still use our tricks I talked about:

  1. Make an educated estimate of the cost of the new expense.
  2. Figure it into your monthly or weekly budget at least 6 months before the expense will start.
  3. Physically transfer the money from your checking account into a separate savings account.  We transfer ours into our emergency fund.  

Instead of preparing for our baby’s birth, we’re preparing for summer trips and fun things as a family of three!