Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Life Savers- Time Savers- Sanity Savers

Online Shopping

I am constantly trying to figure out grocery budgeting and money saving ideas for our family.  I've noticed since moving to Evansville, that I spend way more on groceries.  One reason is because it's harder to find healthy foods that are well priced (not much competition) so I have to shop around.  Another reason is that there isn't a ton to do around town (especially in the winter) and some days we all just need to get out of the house and take a trip to Target to peruse the end-of-aisle sales or get a free cookie at Fresh Market.  All these little trips add up and I always end up finding "an awesome deal" that wasn't on the list :) I'm finally starting to get into a rhythm, become more disciplined and figure out our family's needs.  One huge time and money saver has been shopping online for toiletries & extra household items.  The Honest Company has been our favorite- incredible customer service, quality items and great bundle deals.  JR has sensitive skin, so for him this has also been a great switch!  Until I can be more disciplined to say "no" to certain enticing things at Target, I'm sticking to monthly shipments from Honest- delivered right to my door- so diapers and toiletries don't have to take up precious space in my shopping cart with 2 kids.  Also saves me the time of having to run to the store when we run out of shampoo or laundry detergent- I just notice when things are halfway full & adjust my monthly bundle accordingly.  And who doesn't love a company that throws in surprise lip-gloss as a Mother's Day treat or extra wipes because they ran out of one diaper pattern.

Trunk Diaper Bag

I'm not saying to fill a cute Petunia Pickle and throw it in the trunk, one of those reusable market totes that you always forget when you head to the grocery will do just fine.  Put inside a couple diapers for each child, wipes, water bottles and maybe some squeezable meal pouches or puffs or granola bars... something for each child that can tide them over if they're hungry.  Throw in some stickers or crayons leftover from a restaurant kids meal.  And if you want to really be prepared maybe an old tshirt or extra onesie.
I have had a bag like this in my trunk since John Ryman was born and honestly had forgotten about it until one day we were at church and had to wait outside a little longer than expected.  I was out of diapers and there was a smell coming from one carseat, JR was hungry and ready to get home... ultimate meltdown.  Thankfully I remembered my bag in the trunk and we had an impromptu picnic with clean clothes (of course her smell hadn't stayed contained in her diaper... that's how it always goes) small lunch for both kids and snack for me!  Helped turn a pull-your-hair-out situation into a sweet memory and enjoyable picnic.  There is no way to prevent all meltdowns, but at least we can be prepared and have one less :)  Tiny peace of mind to know you don't have to rush home from an outing for diapers or be stuck on the side of the road with hungry kiddos.

Rock N Play

This is the one item that both babies LOVED.  I don't know if it was the way it came up on the sides or that it was lifted up higher or rested them at an incline... whatever it was- I'm thankful for a sweet family member that got it for us because it was a life saver for their baby!  While our babies never had tummy/spit up issues, I've heard it is a huge help because the baby doesn't lay flat.  I could easily slide it through doorways and move it from room to room.  JR loved staring at the shower curtain while rocking in it and Vera loved being able to watch me in the kitchen while being out of JRs way on the floor.  It doesn't rock on its own, but it doesn't take them too long to figure out how to rock it a little themselves.  I tried to only let them nap in it as a last resort so they didn't get used to it and prefer over their crib, never really had an issue and after the first month or so, we only used it as play time.  The sides come up just enough to keep most toys inside which is super helpful!
Here are JR & Vera using their Rock N Play:

Moby Wrap

This is one of those literal life-savers for me.  When I had Vera, John Ryman was 18 months old.  A fast runner that is still learning obedience and safety is a dangerous match for a mom with a newborn.  The Moby gave me the flexiblity of letting him walk freely while carrying Vera and still having my hands free if I needed to capture him or even hold him on my hip.  I knew she would stay asleep longer if she was wrapped to me than in a car seat, so with her cuddled up I could go places without lugging the stroller (especially when you're not supposed to lift over a certain amount those first few weeks) and still be able to wrangle active brother.  Now at one year old, Vera still loves the Moby- being able to see everything and kick her legs wildly- while I can have hands free to shop or walk holding JR's hand.  Its amazing how much he has learned in one year- he walks with us and is a TON better at obedience- but it is still reassuring to know I can have both hands free if needed and not worry about leaving Vera in a car seat or falling from my hip :)  Those first few times wrapping all that fabric was pretty overwhelming, but I promise after 3 times- it is super simple! There are plenty of youtube videos you can watch and in the beginning I would actually strap it all on at home, then when I got somewhere I just had to slide Vera inside.  After using it enough I became more confident strapping it on in the parking lot while keeping the fabric off the asphalt.  No, it is not cool in the summer, but honestly holding a baby gets hot no matter what, I was just glad I could be hands free!

JJ Cole Bib

If you're like me you have an overabundance of bibs. Every color, every holiday, every size.  Some too pretty to actually get food on while others are so tiny they do not catch a thing.  I love the wipe-able bibs (especially for traveling- pack just one for each kid!) but some of mine are too thick and bother the kids- meaning they rip them off quickly- or they don't wash well because of the layers of plastic and fabric.  I also love the Aden & Anais burpy bib set, but didn't love having to wash every time.  I stumbled on my favorite bib when Zulily was having a sale.  Its from JJ Cole.  Gender neutral, thin fabric that handles the washing machine well but also is easy to wipe & go.  Even if you rinse it in the sink, it air dries super fast!  Now if I were smart and wanted to empty a drawer in my kitchen I would donate all my bibs and purchase a couple more of these!

Peace & Calming Oil

Okay, I'm still learning so much about essential oils, but this one made me a believer!  "Peace & Calm" I mean, what mama doesn't want that?! I rub one drop of P&C oil mixed with coconut oil on the kids feet in the evenings before bed or sometimes before naps if they are really wound up.  I also diffuse several drops in my diffuser or dab a little on my wrists & inhale from the bottle for myself... Over the winter I dealt with some anxiety and this oil really helped me on those long days, just wish I had tried it sooner!  You all know that afternoon frustration that takes over when the kids wake up early from naps but you still have a to-do list, dinner to cook and laundry sitting wet in the washer.   I don't know if it was the oil or the fact that I sat down for a moment to breathe it in and relax that did the trick, but I truly felt calmer.  And boy, does it smell amazing!  I have been out of it for a few weeks and my shipment arrives soon- interested to see if I can tell a difference in the kids once we start using it again.  I've also heard it can be a life-saver on long car rides.  Doesn't make you as sleepy as Lavender (dangerous for the driver!) but should be helpful.

And last but most certainly not least... probably the best sanity/time saver...
Apps on my phone!  Definitely not mom-of-the-year worthy!
In those moments when the checkout at Target takes twice as long and the kids are DONE or the kids are ready for lunch after church, but daddy needs to counsel or pray with someone- it's really the best way to keep them quiet and relaxed for a few minutes longer.  I do try to use it as a last resort so they don't expect to get the phone right when they enter a store or the car which makes those times they get to play that much more special!  And so I don't feel super guilty handing over youtube clips of Daniel Tiger or SuperWhy on my hulu app... we recently found The Bible App for Kids Very interactive on each page and it teaches Bible stories.  Win-win!

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