Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Thriving as a Mom & Student

Whooo Buddy! It sure has been awhile! Still adjusting to life with a crazy 18-month-old, over-worked husband, and being a SAHM/FT Student! Speaking of...I was using the bathroom at school yesterday (TMI anyone..?) and thought, hey, this is my first semester at school where I am doing surprisingly well! So my good people, here I am to share some tips about being a good mommy & student!


Yes, this is the Hubs & I at our Graduation in '11 (Associate's Degree)


1. Pick Your Classes Wisely
I am the spokesperson for taking on too big a course load. Before Peanut, I took 5, sometimes 6 classes every semester. At most universities, this is unheard of. In mine, it was a recommendation to complete the program in 2 years. Once I had a baby, 12 credit hours was a lot, let alone 15 or 18! So, although it is totally tempting to speed things up with an extra class or two, DON'T!!! Trust me. You will just get even more behind, which will take even longer. Also, be sure not to pick all difficult or AP classes. Pace yourself, I promise it helps!



2. Choosing a Schedule
I am beyond blessed and lucky to have a husband with a semi-flexible schedule, and a best friend willing to help! I chose a schedule where I only had classes 2 days a week. I am there from around 8:30 until 5:30. Yes, it is a long day, but that is 2 days of my week where I devote myself to school. I have about a 2 hour break where I work on all my homework. I haven't had to do homework at home yet, and believe me, I have had plenty to do. It keeps me organized and up on my game. Jess watches Liam on Monday & Hubs has the Wednesday shift. 2 days for child care is much more doable than 4 or 5!



3. On-Campus vs Off
I have been doing online school since I found out about Peanut. This is great for those working moms or ones who can't afford to go on campus. Be very careful though. Online does not mean easier, trust me! You have to devote yourself to the online work as you would on campus, maybe even more. If you must do online, try to limit yourself to 2 classes. If you must do full-time to get grants, financial aid, etc. then be very cautious of which to take. Anatomy & Physiology online suck, let alone, the same semester online (yes, I know from experience!) This is my first semester back on campus in 2 years and I am doing much better!

Yes this is my cute little family! ;)


4. Getting Involved
Keep your kids and spouse involved with your school. They can't mind read you have a huge exam coming up. Have them help you, or talk about it with them. My husband is much more involved than in the past. He asks (almost) every night if I have homework or anything to do in class. Not only is it sweet, it's a wonderful reminder!



5. Make Friends
Online school was awesome when I needed it, but I am a social butterfly! It's great being back in classes with people actually being there! & I have even made a couple of friends! =] No, they aren't mommies and they are a bit younger, but we still have several things in common, and it keeps me sane, which I desperately needed!



6. Homework Time
As I said in Point #2, I have a two hour break between my classes. I eat my lunch and then go to the library and do homework for the rest of the time! It keeps me up-to-date on assignments, or even ahead, and then I can enjoy my days off with my son without having to think about it! If you aren't able to get that, talk with your spouse about a special time-frame during the week for homework only! About 2-4 hours a week should be enough, minus big projects, exams, etc. Your spouse could take the kids to the park or go out for lunch. Anything where you can get peace & quiet! Have any hour-by-hour daycares or a Mom's Day Out program? They may cost money, but trust me, getting behind in school will affect you, your work, and your family in the long run! No one wants to play catch up all semester!





7. Pack Your Lunch
I wouldn't be 'Miss Frugal' if I didn't mention this one! I leave for school around 8 and don't end up eating lunch until about 1:30. I just take a plastic grocery bag (yay for reusing!), put an ice pack in it (homemade ice pack), and throw in a sandwich, some chips, and a can of pop, and I'm ready to roll! I also got $0.59 bottles of Powerade Zero this week as my morning class wake up until lunch! This is one thing I never did when I lived at home & went to school! All the money I could have saved! (*sigh*) I usually eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast, or if I'm in a rush, I'll grab some poptarts for a mid-class snack!



8. Don't Procrastinate
As I said above, no one likes playing catch up! Stay on top of it! Just by staying on top of it, or a bit ahead, will help to decrease a ton of stress! Trust me, I have been through every situation with school, and this one is a biggie when it comes to affecting you & your family!!



8. Be Your Biggest Fan
You must have your family as cheerleaders to help you thrive in school, but give yourself some credit too! Not only are you achieving a dream for yourself, but you are overall wanting more for your family, and that is something to be pretty darn proud of! The better you feel, the better you do, and the faster you buzz through school!

It only took me over 2 years to figure these out, and I hope I can help a mommy/student thrive the way I have wanted to! It feels so good to finally be there! Happy day Frugal Friends!











Link Ups:
Clean & Scentsible
Whimsy Wednesdays
Memories By the Mile
New Nostalgia
Kathe with an E
Ladybug Blessings
Kitchen Meets Girl
Ginger Snap Crafts
Handy Man Crafty Woman
The DIY Dreamer



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Friday, August 23, 2013

My Top 5 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Got Pregnant



As we are contemplating baby number 2..ya know, once my checklist is complete and all... There are some things I am definitely doing different this time. Sure, last time was unexpected, but it really shouldn't have been. If you're thinking of having your first baby, this is the list for you.

1. Think Financially
Yes, babies are totally cute and adorable, but their first year alone can cost you $6,000. Not including the Dr. & hospital bills. Sure, you can buy everything used (except the car seat & probably crib), and you can use a midwife/home birth to make it cheaper, but we're still talking big bucks people! Use this nifty baby cost calculator. Some of their median prices are a bit high for my area, but they are priced for new things. If you're serious about starting a family, hit your local Once Upon a Child or other children's consignment store and price out some different things. You'll get a general idea. If you're planning to breast feed and cloth diaper, pretend that you're not. Trust me, they may not always work out for as long as you plan, or sadly, at all. You want to be PREPARED! Also, once you have your yearly amount, divide that by 12, and start saving! If your child will cost $6000 his first year, start saving $500 a month! With all this being said, yes, I know that starting a family means more to you (and myself) than any amount of money in the world, but you will have to be able to make it work. You have to for your future family. So take my advice, and do it right! Also, think about whether you will want to stay home? Can your spouse afford on the new items on his income alone?


2. Work on Yourself
Let's be realistic, if you're at your peak physical fitness, you are probably ready to rock. However; most of us would be happy to lose a couple of pounds. Depending on your current weight, you may gain a lot, and it will be harder to lose. Find a comfortable weight. Once you do that, you will be feeling better physically and emotionally, and probably mentally too. This doesn't just go for weight. During pregnancy, most food is blahh the first trimester. If you start eating healthier, it will easier to make the transition to those foods once your test is positive! I ate healthy the first two weeks, then when I had morning sickness the next 24 weeks, I pretty much ate the greasiest foods I could because that's all my stomach could handle. I should have been eating veggies and fruits, instead of my usual junk, which I would get sick off of, which in turn led me to nasty fast food. Trust me, the sooner you make the switch to healthy the better! Also, buying and taking pre-natal vitamins before you're preggo never hurt a girl either!

3. Give Up Bad Habits
If you smoke or drink, now is the time to give it up! I think I speak for the majority of people that get a bad taste in their mouth when they see a preggo smoking. Also, notice that dropping caffeine is crucial in the first trimester. It is said to be a leading cause of first trimester miscarriages and no one wants that! Personally, with all that morning sickness, sprite is a better option anyways! Be sure to drink a lot of water. I was never really a water person. For one, it can help your morning sickness, it gives your body and amniotic sac more fluid, and it has no sugar or caffeine. Trust me, it's your best bet, starting drinking it up now vs soda!

4. Research
Yes, with anything life-altering, research SHOULD be done. Don't just think, oh, let's have a baby. You need to go through this list, look through blogs, look through the changes you will go through during and after. Pregnancy is a beautiful thing, but it can also be scary and stressful. Not to mention, once you're actually a parent. Can you deal with all this in the short span of 9 months and the 18 years to follow. Do your research! That way, you can ultimately decide if you're ready.


5. Buy in Bulk
So you've decided to go ahead huh? First tip as a new mom, you'll need to save as much money as possible. Start it off right, start buying pregnancy tests in bulk! You can pay anywhere from $7-$20 for those name brand pee sticks! Why?? They all work the same way! Trust me, if you're pregnant, you're pregnant! So, if you know you will be trying, you'll want a decent amount of them, and you SHOULD better not spend a ton of money! It's a total waste! You can order 25 of these from amazon for $15! If you're a prime member, you get free shipping too! You can also buy similar ones at Walmart for $0.86. They are the same ones they use at Planned Parenthood! I used one from the Dollar Tree when I found out! Don't throw your money away, you will need it!


So there you have it ladies. My top 5. Think you're ready? Got anything else that should be on here that wasn't? Do you agree with the list? Let me know, in the comments below!




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Monday, July 29, 2013

The Struggles It Takes..

I know I haven't posted in awhile, but as I was on facebook tonight, I came across this article.  As I was sharing it, and writing why I was sharing it, I decided it may come off better as a blog post.

I am not a full time stay-at-home mom. I also work 2 days a week at a restaurant that causes more stress than it should and still manage to get in almost 20 hours a week, I go to school full-time, and try to do a business on the side with help from social media. I look like a hot mess 99% of the time, my house is messy, and at the end of the day, I feel like I have accomplished nothing; all while trying to raise a little human tornado. Chasing him around to brush his teeth is more exhausting than 2 hours at work during the dinner rush.

I have always suffered from anxiety and depression. I get anxious about what people think about me and get depressed if their opinion is offensive.  I may have a smile on my face most of the time, but when I'm home alone, I just want time. Time alone, time to cry, time to breathe. I just want to be happy. I have this little walking miracle in my arms and all I can think about is when is the next nap time? I used to look down on those people. I used to think, there are so many people who try to have a baby and can't, and here I am complaining about it, so I just sit back, smile, and act like the perfect mommy.

Inside I'm sad, lost, and alone. I could be in a room full of people, have everyone watching and listening to me, and still feel like I'm alone. I hate it. I just want to be happy.

I could be like my husband. He was put on anxiety pills when Peanut was a week old. Since we want more children, I don't want to get on anything until we are done having kids. Then I feel even worse. What if, with every child, I feel worse and worse.

I don't live near family anymore, and my closest friend is 40 mins away. I just want, so badly, for it to be how it used to be. When I was down, I could call up a few friends and head down the street. Sure, I can call anyone up, but I still feel like a horrible parent for being this way.

I'm not sure what to do. This is not a blog post to give you an answer, or a tip, but maybe you can relate. Maybe you can tell me that I'm not a psycho, and everyone feels this way or how you dealt with it, or maybe that no matter what, love is all you need to raise a child.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Painting Crafts with Babies




Hello PC&S readers! This past weekend, I got crafty. Yes, believe it or not, all the crafts I attempted turned out! One thing I learned though, was how to craft with a kiddo!  So here is your Tuesday tip!

Painting
I decided for Father's Day this year, to do a craft project vs buying a card/gift. For one is drastically cheaper and it's also more personal. I will be doing this every holiday now until my kiddo is older.

I will do a post on what I did once Father's Day is over (so there are no spoilers!).

Anyways.. I came to a conclusion. If your kid is under 2 and you want to do footprints/handprints..stick to footprints. I tried to do handprints since my child is 15 months, but we will continue to do feet until he can know to open his hand. He kept clenching his fist because he was feeling the paint on his hand.  Here are some tips to make painting easier!


  • Do your project during naptime and after a meal-You'll thank me when you have a lax kid.
  • Set up your project during nap, meal, or play time- This way you can get it all set up & ready to go before heading to our next step
  • Use a highchair/booster seat.- When I did Peanut's Valentine's day gifts to people, I did not even think to do this. It would have helped out so much. You can keep them still so all you have to do is hold their foot as opposed to holding them!
  • Use a clipboard- Why did I never think of this?? I was one gift in when I realized, a clip board would be handy. Luckily, I had my beautiful $1 clipboard from Target in the drawer behind me. Absolute lifesaver!
  • Use one foot vs both feet. If you want/need to use both, do one at a time. Example, if you have several, do one foot print on each one, and then clean up and repeat!
Other tips
Really my best idea that included kiddos was painting. However; the best time do crafts is during naps or the kiddos bedtime. This way, if you're cutting, sewing, gluing, or painting, it will be done & mostly dry by the time they awake. 

More on my weekend project later! Happy Day Frugal Friends!





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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Cheap & Easy Child-Proofing!


Hey Frugal Friends! Got another tip for you all today! This credit goes to my MIL. Hubs & I bought a cabinet child-proofing kit. Only to find out that we do not have the right cabinets. Ours are directly underneath the pull out drawer. We figured, well, guess we will have to return these and see if they have different ones..WRONG! (except for the returning part ;])

On moving day, my MIL used a hair tie to keep Peanut out of one of the drawers...BINGO! So simple, I can't believe we didn't think of it! We had a few rubber bands and a ton of hair ties, so here is what we did. (excuse the phone pics!)


It is easy to get into for us adults and impossible for our almost 15-month-old! 

So there ya have it! Cheap & Easy (and maybe a bit tacky?) child-proofing! Happy Day Frugal Friends!


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Thursday, May 30, 2013

How To Prolong Footie PJ's

Please excuse the crappy phone pic!

So as I was browsing my Frugal Mentor, Jordan Page's blog today..I came across this post.  Holy batman. The woman is genius. It's amazing the things we look past, that are really so simple. So here is my own version/story, of how to prolong footie PJs. 

First and foremost, my son is just like his momma...short & chubby (sorry for the crappy genes, Peanut!). He could easily wear size 6-9 months based off of his height. So it almost impossible to find footie PJs that actually fit. He wears between 12-18 months clothes, but in Pjs, he wears about 18 months, but they are always too long:


What you can do is, take a loose hair tie, and simply place it around their ankle, pushing the excess fabric underneath. (The hair tie is not too tight, but you can always remove it before bed, if you're worried, or stretch it out.)  Then you can fold it down a bit, so you can barely notice..like so:


This way, if you have a little shrimp like me..their PJs will actually fit. 

Frugal tip? The part that prolongs them, is that you can buy PJs one size bigger than they wear. This way, they don't grow out of their PJs in a month or two! Genius right?

There's your tip..even though it's not Tuesday, but it's not really my tip, I'm just spreading the knowledge from my own experience! Happy Day, Frugal Friends!


Full credit goes to Jordan Page of Fun, Cheap, or Free for the idea and inspiration for this post. 



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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pre-Pregnancy Checklist

I saw this on my friend Faith's blog, and of course had to make one myself. (Since I've had baby fever and all..)


So there ya have it! My official checklist before Baby #2! Keep in mind, last time I came up with one of these, I was pregnant the next month...I feel a little more in control this time! ;]

What are your pre-pregnancy goals??



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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Getting Back To Square One

Hola PC&S readers. Since my previous post turned into a pity party, I needed to make a separate post to blog about what I actually logged on for, so here we go.

Hubs & I have fallen off the wagon, once again. I know what you're all thinking: "get it together, you are supposed to be the 'Savings Guru', quit being a hypocrite". You all are totally right, and I'm sorry.

We have been so worried about Disney and our new house, we have lost sight of a budget. Actually, we have lost sight of a budget for awhile. My excuse? Renting and roommates. That's right, I said it. No offense to our previous roomies, but it is tough having roommates and staying on a family budget. The more date nights they had, the more we wanted (two in one month, whoa). The more cooped up we all felt, the more we went out (and in essence, spent money). The list goes on and on. Not to mention, it is hard splitting bills and not necessarily being able to control the amount certain utilities are used. It is also hard to live in a new city, or one that has more to offer, and not want to go out and explore it.

We also have things like gym memberships and gymboree that haven't been being used. Only because there is no time to attend them. (Those will be shut off tomorrow, btw).

BUT...enough with the excuses. We are getting back to square one! When Hubs and I first moved out back in 2011 (holy cow, 2 years, really??!!) we were savings natzis. I made about double a paycheck than I do now, and Hubs was a little less than it is, so we were essentially making more than we do now, yet saving way more than we are right now. Here is how, and a friendly reminder to myself.


  • Save money on utilities.
    • When we first moved out on our own, we were so worried we would have no money for bills. We had one credit card at the time, which was a student card, so it had to be paid off every month, so we literally only relied on the money we had..since we had no savings! We would save money on utilities by turning off our AC (window AC) every time we left the house. Our home was so small, it only took about 15 to cool it down one we got back. Same went for our gas furnace in the winter. We also only did dishes when the sink was full, or washed our dishes right after we were done. We never did laundry unless we had a full load to do so. Like I said, our home was pretty small, so utilities weren't that much anyways.
  • Car pool
    • We worked pretty closely together, so we carpooled to work a lot. Now, we work pretty far away, so that would not necessarily work for us, but it may work for some of you.
  • Eating in vs eating out
    • Obviously, if we eat out we have coupons or order from the value menu, but still. When we first moved out we packed our lunches everyday and rarely ate out. In the city, we're constantly on the go, so we end up eating out, a lot. I rarely cook anymore, which I blame on circumstances, but once we move into the new place, I definitely plan on cooking every night! 
  • Working hard
    • I have been getting lazy, I'll admit. Work is my escape after being with Peanut all day. Sometimes I don't go in chipper or ready to work. When we first moved out, I knew I needed a job. I knew I needed hours. I would stay until the end of the day, even if everyone left early. Although I work a different job, I know I need to get back to that mindset.  It makes a huge difference.
  • Priorities
    • I have been slacking in the priorities department. I am caught up on my school work for the next week (yay), but my house..IS A MESS. Between getting packed for Disney, not unpacking from Disney, no washer and dryer, and moving, the house is just done. So I know, when we move, I for sure need to get caught up on the housework, at full speed ahead.
  • Peanut time
    • I have been so busy with everything, I have given up precious time with my peanut. He went from infant to toddler while we are on vacation, and I can not wait to move so I can reconnect with my favorite little guy!
Hope so of these tips help you all. I know I was a lot happier looking at a full bank account. It is definitely patience and self-control that make a huge difference. Happy Day Frugal Friends!


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Catching Up

Hey PC&S readers! I know you are all dying to know how my trip to Disney was! One word sums it up: magical. I have gotten so many questions and given out so many tips, I have decided to just start a Disney blog: since we are planning on a 2015 return trip! So keep an eye out for that.

The less I blog, the more I feel...lost? Yea, lost sums it up. There is something about blogging my heart and soul to you lovely people that makes me feel whole. *Que mushy gushy-ness*  Yes, I know, it sounds silly, but when I blog I can really organize my thoughts and feelings. That helps my stress level immensely.

So where am I at since we left off?  Once we got back, I had 3 days off until I was back on the schedule. Off for 5 days, then another 3...do they want me to quit? I dreaded going back to work. Not all of us are getting along either, so that has added to wanting to go at all.

Secondly, church. We missed church while we were gone obviously, and the Sunday before that I was exhausted,  we woke up late, and could not find a spot. It all built up, so I said, "forget it" and we left. Lazy. No excuse. Ridiculous...but that's what happened. Then, we went last Sunday, but since Disney has so many germs, we all are sick, and Liam can not go to the nursery, so no church today either.  The less I go to church, the less I feel connected. This is just how I personally feel.  Not everyone goes, and that's fine. For me I feel better, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, when I actually attend. So in essence, the more church I miss, the more Hubs & I disagree and fight, and the lazier I get. Some of you may be rolling your eyes at this point, but it's how I feel.

Finances. *sigh* Yes, we did just go to Disney, but as you will all recall, we paid for Disney, after paying off bills, in full, from our tax check. We also used gift cards from birthdays and other holidays. We paid for everything else with our coin jar, like souvenirs.  However; we required a lot of things for the trip. Baggage fees, food, sunblock (ugh, don't get me started, that is for the Disney blog), misc items we did not necessarily budget for, or end up needing (ugh). Not to mention I missed days of work. Luckily, my schedule starts on Thursday and ends on Wednesday, so it wasn't an entire week missed and Hubs gets paid vacation. Either way, we move in less than one week (!!!!) and still have a lot to get/do for our new house!

In conclusion, I totally wanted this post to go in a different direction, but hey, what do ya do? Guess I'll just do two posts in one day.


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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Break In My "Crazy, Hectic Life"

As most of you can imagine. My head is spinning at this point. A 13-month-old, husband, two almost ex-roomates, leaving a rental home, working on purchasing a new home, Disney World, colds, flus, ear infections, work, and in 2 weeks, school thrown in to the mix. I guess you could say I have a pretty hectic life at the moment. Obviously, with our son over the age of one -  barely - I guess you could say we have been talking about baby #2. What would this mean for us? For Peanut? There are lots of things bringing a new baby in means; financially, emotionally, and physically. I swear, I have a point here. I want to share an experience with you all I had tonight at work, that deeply touched my heart.

If you all recall, I thought Liam could have autism. Obviously, he still could  because it is one of those things that you can never know for sure, but the signs of it have deeply decreased over the last month and a half. With that weighing on my heart, and the fact that it is Autism awareness month, autism has really been on my mind, and other types of special needs.

A boy came in today with his dad and sister. He looked probably four or five years old. His dad was carrying him. I was on expo tonight, meaning, I was not taking orders, but was still at the front counter. The boy started yelling. The old, pre-mom, Kelsey would have been annoyed. I've had an ear infection for three days now, and even Liam's whiny cries are almost enough to send me to the corner crying. Anyways, the mom Kelsey thought, "been there, dealt with that". It wasn't long before I realized that there was something different special about this boy. His dad set him in the high chair, and gathered their things. The boy was yelling. All my associates quickly whipped their heads to see the noise. I just kept walking to the table like nothing was happening. The dad asked me to set the food on the other end away from the boy. I did as I was asked and started to walk away. As I was walking away, I heard the dad ask his daughter, probably around 6 or 7, to grab some forks. I asked him how many, and grabbed them for him. I know how hard it is to get one to sit down to eat, let alone two. You could tell he was grateful.    I walked back up, and continued on with my job. The family sat out in the dining room, eating, and watching videos on their phone. The boy would start yelling, and again, everyone would stare. This time, instead of staring in their direction, I looked around the restaurant. Everyone was staring at the boy and his family. Normally, I would understand, but this time I felt rage and sympathy for this dad and his daughter  family. When we go out, Liam is always getting looks, but they are ones filled with love and joy, not as if he was a nuisance. This family wants nothing more than to be treated like every other "normal" family.

I don't know why I felt such a close bond with this family, but I just started thinking, what if that were us? What if we brought in a new baby, and that baby had special needs. Could I handle it? Could I stay sain? I don't really know the whole reason for this post. I guess it is one of those true, aha moments we all face in life. I didn't feel bad for the family or feel like, whew, must be tough for you. He was just a dad doing what he was put on earth to do, take care of and love his son. If we didn't look at special needs as a hassle, but as a blessing, the world would be such a nicer place to live in. Could I do it if it were us? It would be tougher than it is now, but yes. I love my son more than anything on this earth. If God called me to be a mom to a child of special needs, instead of thinking, "why me", I would be honored and blessed that he trusts me enough to take care of his special blessing!

So all in all, even though my life is "hectic" right now, I wouldn't change it for anything, because I know that God wouldn't ever give me more than I could handle. Good night, and I'll catch up with ya'll soon! =)

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

6 Things To Help Your Marriage



Now I'm no professional marriage counselor, nor am I the perfect wife, but I do know one thing, I take my marriage very seriously. All the marriage equality news makes me consider myself very lucky, that I had the freedom to marry the person I wanted to. It's so sad that in a country as "free" as ours, our privileges are being withheld...

ANYWHO, the point of this post is not about that, it is about fixing what is already there. If you are not having problems, maybe these could just help the two of you grow closer.

If you are very close to me, you know there have been times within the last two years, that I have had my doubts. I married young, purely by choice.  I was not pregnant, no one was going into the military, etc. I felt no rush or "need" to marry, other than I found my prince charming, and was ready to settle down. It is tough though for several reasons. One, I was still in college. I planned on graduating and getting a job, so our wedding fell in perfect with that plan. However; I decided to go back to school to pursue a different degree. This brought on problem number two; money.  I am frugal by nature and Kyle and I had our finances figured out, but with moving out, I worried I would not be able to afford a home, working, and going to school, so that added extra stress. Three, we got pregnant exactly one month after we got married. Figure that one out. After Liam was born, things calmed down, and we were content.  Then, things in our town started getting scary.  Six murders in five months, gang activity, robberies, etc. As a new mom, I took a stand. We moved an hour and a half away from everyone and everything we've ever known to a play where we knew no one and had only visited a couple of times. As you can imagine, this added a slue of problems.

After about 18 months into our marriage, I strongly considered divorce. I knew I loved my husband, but 9/10 times, I could not stand him. Some days, we said no more than two words to each other. There was no romance, intimacy, or even love it felt like.

I thought back to June 10, 2011. The day I became his wife. The day I had waited for my whole life. The day I vowed to him, our friends and family, and God that I would stick with him through good or bad. This was that bad time people talk about. Instead of throwing in the towel, I decided to face my problems head on. Here is what I did.

1. Take Some of the Blame-
It is so easy to say, "It's You". I constantly thought to myself, "if he didn't act like this, I wouldn't be mad all the time."  I had to stop blaming him. It was not all his fault. It was OUR marriage. It was partly my fault. If I didn't get mad over every little thing, maybe he'd try harder. If no matter how hard he tries, I get mad, he will soon give up trying because I can not be impressed. By taking some of the blame, you admit that you were a part in some wrongful doing, but you are willing to work on it, for your marriage.

2. Address the Problem-
Guys can be so modest sometimes. I would constantly say things about stress and how we weren't getting along and he would say, "No, we're fine." Believe it or not ladies, some guys don't see it! They may not know they are bugging the ever living crap out of you, even though it is so obvious to everyone else. Have a real conversation. Let him know what you are thinking and feeling, and ask how that makes him feel. He may feel open enough to address some things that have been bothering him also.

3. Reconnect-
My favorite part, probably the most fun step, was reconnecting. Hubs and I usually get a date night once every other month, if we're lucky. I mean a real date night! If you're on a budget, check out my post on our at home date night. No matter where you are, or what you're doing, be sure it's just you and him. Keep your phones off, make sure it's a convenient time/day (like not during March Madness or the Superbowl), and let yourself loose. Have a couple drinks, just be you two. Pretend like it's one of your first dates again. Either way, just make sure it is you & Hubs time! Try to do these at least once a month. Set up the same day every month if you have to. Either way, you have to make time for it, it is very important.

4. Time For Yourself-
This is also very important. Having some girl time is crucial to your marriage. The same goes for him. Luckily, we live with our besties, so when I need some time away, Jess is there, and vice versa. Whether it be going to lunch with a friend, seeing a movie solo, or even hitting the town for a night, you need some personal time, and some kid free time too. Not saying you of your spouse should go clubbing every weekend, but Jess & I go out downtown about every 6 months, and hit the mall or lunch at least once a week. It is important!

5. Be Spontaneous-
I probably have the least romantic husband, ever. I have accepted this fact. In fact, I accepted it the day I said "Yes" to his not so romantic proposal. Not that is wasn't nice, just not ideal. Either way, he does do things that make me go, "aw". We, as women, are taught from a very young age, to expect romance. Romantic comedies, fairy tales, my own parents, etc. We also need to realize, that guys like surprises and spontaneity just as much as we do! Like my "Dude's Date Night".  Not only was it a surprise, but he got to pick the movie. Something I don't usually do. I hate action movies, but at the beginning of our relationship, I would watch them, and usually like them, so that I could make him happy. Once you've been married awhile, it feels like you forget that your spouses happiness is important. He was so excited! And we got to cuddle through the whole movie, an added bonus for me! Romance is different to guys than girls. Guess what? Once I expressed that not only do I love romance and surprises, but that it also brightens my day, I received a nice scavenger hunt after a bad day at work. Totally turned my day around! Communication is key. Which takes us to our next point.

6. Be Human-
Accept the fact that your husband is human. Hubs said this one day during an argument, and it really stuck with me. When I make a mistake, he forgives me and doesn't make me feel bad for it. This is something I desperately needed to work on. I needed to realize, he will make mistakes, and I need to accept them and even love him for them.

Some other things that helped me were seeking God. We started going to church again, praying, and even praying as a couple. In our case, it has made a huge impact on our marriage.

A resource that also helped was buying the book, "The Love Dare".  It is from the movie Fireproof. A movie I would recommend to any married or soon to be married couple, religious or not.

Marriage is a job. You must work at it. If it is neglected, it will not be in the best shape.

I promise, trying these tips will help your marriage. He and I are both 10x's happier with each other, and in general!  We used to fight almost everyday, and now we have little arguments here and there, but nothing like they used to be. If you or your partner is not willing to work at it, I would strongly consider counseling.

I wish you all peace, love, and a happy marriage! =)


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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Baby Has Been Abducted By Aliens



Hey Frugal Friends. It just so happens to be Tuesday, which goes great with what I wanted to write about, so here is a Tuesday Tip!

I'm sure all veteran parents have been there. "My baby is so sweet, just sits and plays, rarely crys, just such an angel!"  This was me. So young, naive, and in for a rude awakening. Babies are hip to being versatile little beings. Peanut was always along for the ride. No matter where we went, what we did, or how tired he was, he was wonderful. Sure, he had a couple of melt downs, but nothing I couldn't handle.

AND THEN....

About a week before his first birthday..BOOM. My baby was abducted by aliens. That's right folks. I have no other conclusion but this one. He was clingy, whiny, loud, would throw himself all over the place. Like someone else took over. At first I was thrown off. Maybe he's sick. No. Maybe he's teething. Yes. Okay, this will pass.....WRONG.

At his party, everyone caught a glimpse. He was fine at first, then was getting scared of everything and everyone. Constantly having to be held by me or my husband. He looked and acted crazy! I got so stressed and annoyed, the whole party was a blur. I thought to myself, "Oh he probably just had anxiety." Which isn't uncommon in our families.

Then, I thought of more serious things. He isn't walking or standing yet. Nothing too uncommon or a premature 12 month old. He also wasn't doing things that I thought he should be doing. His one year check up, the Dr. said he was "perfect". A few days after, I was looking through an article on autism.  Autism? My child? No way. There is just no way. After praying for this to not be happening to him, and the countless times crying over it, I realized. This would not be the worst thing in the world. They have all kinds of ways to help with this now, he is here, happy, heathly, and beautiful. So if this were a reality, then I was ready to take it on. Just then, as soon as I came to an acceptance, he started getting closer on being able to stand, starting to wave bye-bye, started using his index finger to pop bubbles at gymboree, etc. So then I wasn't so worried, but there was still the underlying fact of, what is wrong with my baby?!

After going through this "phase" for almost a month now. I have realized a couple things.  For one, it is not how do YOU get through this, it is How Can I Help My Child Get Through This. He is the one having such a hard time, and although it can be a burden, mentally and physically draining, and sometimes annoying, he needs me now more than ever. After a couple of articles, some advice, and monotonousness google searches; I have come up with a couple of my own tips to help when your one-year-old is suddenly abducted my aliens.

1. Ditch the playpen or circle gate

Here she is in all her glory



   
Remember that lovely circle gate I bought, that was a total livesaver because it had enough room for Liam to play in, yet was out of reach so I could set him in it and do various things? Get rid of it, or don't rely on it. Liam loved being independent and would prefer that & his toys other than my company most days. But, not these days. So ditch it. 


2. Give cuddles

He plays interdependently, but still comes to me sometimes


Now, my proudest moments were when my child could play alone, fall asleep right when he was laid down, and hardly ever cried. The other moms wanted to know how I achieved such greatness. It was simple. I offered him love & cuddles, but every little peep, I wouldn't run to his room. He would self-soothe. Now when he cries, I know it will be in for the long haul. So i counter my advice but giving him lots of cuddles and love. Afterall, if you were set down, all alone with a measly toy and no one to "talk" to, how would you feel? Sometimes, after a good cuddle, they will be content. For a few moments at least.

3. Let them help

Yesterday, I was doing laundry. I let Liam do something I haven't let him do in forever. I let him play outside his circle gate. He roamed free, but was very good about listening and never went too far because he knew it was somewhat of a privilege.  He loved helping me out with laundry.

4. Be there

Liam has been the same way at gymboree. He used to venture off alone, not even caring if I followed. Now, he clings to my leg and is very stand off-ish.  Last week, he cried most of the time. He also did this at the church nursery. This week, he made it through almost the whole service, which was a big improvement.  Today at gymboree, I never went anywhere without him. I set him on the floor, took a few steps away, and he quickly crawled towards me. By the end of the class, he was crawling all over, playing, laughing, seeing the other kids and adults, without even checking to see where I was. But, when there was a glimpse of a moment, I was right there, with open arms. You could tell he was ecstatic.  It really showed me a glimpse of the old baby, the one I missed and longed for.

5. Reconfigure nap times

Peanut-Post nap


Liam has been taking one nap since he was about 7 months old. He lays down between 11-1 and sleeps for about 3 hours. Lately, he wakes up an hour and a half later, and doesn't go to bed until about 7. After looking at him, I realized, we need to go back to two naps. One at 11 and another at 3 or 4. You can't be mad at a baby for needing some extra sleep, especially when emotionally and mentally they are going through a lot. 

6. Change it up

Finding he reloves this old toy


One other thing I did was switch out his toys. Maybe some new ones, or possibly some he hasn't seen in awhile. This way, it is something new and exciting. Even babies need a change. (They are people too, ya know?!)

This "annoying phase" has really shown me I have been slacking. I have been slacking as a mom. It is a hard pill to swallow, but sometimes God shows us these things through our children.  I will not say that I left him in his play area and ditched him to get on facebook for hours. But I would set him in there to go do dishes, check email, etc. So when I set him in there now, he thinks I will be gone for awhile with no return. It hurts my heart that he feels this way. I know there are some things that need to be done, and if I wait until bedtime or naptime, I will not get them all done, but some things CAN wait. 

Just by doing these things I have noticed a huge change in one day! & Bonus, he has been asleep almost 3 hours like he used to! This could be because he is actually less stressed and happier, and that's all I ever want for him! Just because your child is going through this, doesn't mean you don't spend time with them, just give them a little extra, and I promise you, they will be happier, which in the end makes you happier!






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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Liam's Birthday Party

 
Hey Frugal Friends. Been a bit, huh? Lots going on around here..no, not really, just laziness really..Anyways. I am finally getting around to posting about Liam's big "Toy Story" Bash.  

*Please note- most almost all ideas are pinterest inspired, I was merely replicating them. The purpose of me sharing them is to show you, you can easily do them yourself without having to dish out a boat load of money!

First and foremost, Liam's cake was inspired by a couple of different cake ideas (1 & 2)
Here was the final result by Faithy Cakes:

The cake served (about) 25 people, and my sister made two dozen cupcakes. I made his smash cake. So for the cake goods for all of our guests (40-50) was around $50. To go even cheaper, you could make the cake yourself, but I wanted one like this just for his first! =)

 

(By the way, I bought the cupcake stand at Toys R Us on clearance once I decided the theme months before, I think I paid about $3 for it).

Next, I did these cute cards to go in front of the food to match the theme. Here's the inspiration. Here's an example of my products:
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I got really creative with these. I even had one that said, "We've got cool ranch & BBQ". A line from the first movie that Andy's mom says before she steps on the green army men. Only something someone would catch if watched this movie a million times!

I spent no money (other than in ink/paper source). I created them in Photoshop and already had leftover card stock from my wedding; and plenty of printer ink! Card stock is a must so they can stand alone. Very cute, simple, CHEAP things that can spice up a party! 

We had lot of things to eat. From "Pizza Planet Pizza" to "Hamm's Wrap-Ups" (pigs in a blanket). All the food was from Aldi, so I only had to add on about $20 to my grocery budget for the month! I also got the pizza from Little Caesars's, so I only spent about $20 there too. Not too bad for feeding about fifty people!


The water bottles were also very simple. For my wedding I made similar ones and also custom bubbles. However, this time I used a hot glue gun instead of a glue stick! I did a whole 24-pack of water in about half an hour (including cutting each one out). I, again, made these in photoshop and just printed them on card stock that I already had.


If you can see, I used old formula cans and added another photoshop/card stock wrapping on it. I put the silverware in it. I had leftover from my dad's party in August. 


Since it was a 1st birthday party, there really wasn't any games, but I wanted something for kids of age to do. I got the idea from this Toy Story Party for "Andy's Art Studio".  I found these printables and hung them up for decoration about the table. I then just google searched "Toy Story coloring pages" and printed a few out of each. I got a 12-pack of 4 crayons from our local Five Below store (kind of like a dollar store) for $3. 

I got the time capsule idea from this pin, and thought it was cute & creative. All I did was take a small formula can, cleaned it out, and cut a whole in the top.  I took my scrap paper from my food cards to use as the slips for people to write on.  I created the Time Capsule card in photoshop on card stock as well. 

If you noticed, most of the decor was purchased. I bought them from Party City, however, I did not pay full price.  I bought the items when they were half off (this promotion happens A LOT, so just check every week or so a couple of months before).  Also, if you spend over $100 you so much off. 

I did not buy all my decor though.  I did use Liam's toys, books, etc as table center pieces to finish the look and give it a cute feel. We also had the movie playing on the TV in the background as well. I also had his frst year slideshow playing on my laptop. I was really pleased with how everything turned out.


Liam's "Thank-You" cards were inspired from this pin.  They were sat at each place setting before guests entered. This way, I did not have to mail them out, and made extra in case someone sent him a card, then I would just send those out. 

I was going to buy Liam this outfit, but found a better one on Etsy. The cost of the custom shirt was $21.

So here's where we are:
Cake, cupcakes, and smash cake: $50
Food: $50
Decor & Balloons: $100
Rental Hall: $100
Custom Shirt: $21

Total Cost: $321
Estimated Value of Party: over $500. 

If I had purchased the original cake with smash cake, it was well over $100 and the decor full price including balloons would have been well over $150.

Ways I could have saved: making my own cake, having party at my home or a friends (was not an option for me this time), used plain table wear instead of character, made my own iron on shirt for him. 

There are several ways I could have saved, but did not for several reasons. If you remember, we moved, so we had the party in my hometown, so a lot of this was just due to time and convenience. 

In the end, it was a great party, except for the fact was son freaked out & hated his whole party! (He never acts like this, EVER!) Either way, him freaking out, caused me to freak out. So my friends, you live & you learn. Next year I will definitely down size and be more aware of how and what to do for throwing a party (this was my first one where I was responsible for all of it of course!), and know that my son needs time to adapt before throwing an awesome party! ;]









By pinning my post you agree to my terms of use: You understand this is my original work unless other wise stated and you wish to use it for inspiration, not for personal or financial gain.


Please note, all photos on this page are original and by me. If a link or idea from this post is of your original work and proper credit is not given and you would like it removed or altered, please contact me before taking any type of legal action. This site is to help others with ideas and money saving tips, not for my profit of your original work and ideas.- Thanks

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