Nifty vs. Thrifty

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Are you a nag?

Do you feel like you are often asking, begging, or pleading for something to happen and no one listens? Maybe you need a different approach!

Women are often not very good at putting healthy boundaries in place. It is often seen as “being a bitch” if you put your foot down on something. But this isn’t so. Putting your foot down on something and then giving consequences is often a healthy and productive way of getting to a solution.

Children, especially, crave limits and boundaries. They will often push you to your limits to find out if you really mean what you say and if they are safe someone who is confident and secure. This set of behaviors which invole testing starts at a very young age and can easily go into adulthood. There are steps you can take to allow a more productive outcome (and a happier family dynamic!)

First, ask yourself if the expectation is reasonable (i.e. is it fair to make my 3 year old clean the toilet rim every time he pees for example, or do I need to just choose my battles). Next, if your expectation is reasonable, set the rules and expectations in a clear, age appropriate way and explain why it is necessary for the problem to be solved (i.e. “You room needs to stay clean so that it’s a safe place and you learn responsibility when you’re on your own”. A three, for example, they do not need to know all the reasons other than you are the parent and that you know whats best for them. Then explain the consequences.

Consequences are tough but a necessary part of raising a child. If your child doesn’t learn consequences now it will be a lot tougher when they are out on their own and they don’t think they have to pay their bills or get to their job on time. When giving consequences, do it in a direct and unemotional way. DO NOT DISCUSS DURING THE CONSEQUENCE!! You can discuss later if appropriate but NEVER during the consequence. IF you get in a debate about it then it will seem like you are trying to prove yourself as if what you’re saying may be negotiable. If you have thought long and hard about this situation than feel confident that you are doing the right thing. Believe me, they will respect you for it later!

Are you sick of asking your husband or significant other for the same thing over and over again? Think about the problem and the solution and sit down with your husband and explain that you do not want to keep discussing this problem and therefore ask him how the 2 of you can solve the problem as a team. Use “we” statements. Instead of “you” need to fix this problem, say “we” need to fix this problem! If the problem is that you need more help around the house for example, explain how you feel than set boundaries by stating that if the problem doesn’t change than you will need to hire someone (for example). Set a deadline and then drop the issue. Sometimes it takes some creativity to come up with a solution that works for both of you so be open minded.

If you’re a person who is known to give empty threats than it will take some time for people to learn that you mean what you say and this can be a grueling task for all involved. Hang in there…the payoffs will be a happier you and ultimately a happier family!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Planning a birthday party?

Having a child’s birthday party can be very stressful and frustrating if it’s expensive and chaotic. KEEP IT SIMPLE (and fun!) with my tips to have an awesome party.

Keep your party simple
Kids do not need a lot! A change of scenery, their friends, and some cake will almost always ensure a great time!! Remember, knowing that it’s they’re special day is the fun part of a birthday party and that is FREE!

Be prepared
Think ahead, make lists and ask for help. Remember, the more prepared you are the easier everything will be when the day comes. I have found that people are more than willing to help if you ask. LISTEN to your child and ask them what they would like! Give some ideas or suggestions to get them started. Have them help with decorating or picking out items to get them excited! Giving them a job (making signs or invitations) can make them feel proud and keeping them busy will allow you to do what you need to do!

Ask for ideas
Talk to other moms about what they have used, what they liked and what they didn’t like. A friend of mine had an idea for a fishing party. She posted a question on her facebook status to see if anyone had any ideas. You wouldn’t believe the amount of ideas and suggestions that came “floating” in (no pun intended!)

Shop efficiently
Set a budget and stick to it so you won’t regret spending too much. Remember, fun does NOT = expensive. I promise you! The dollar store and party stores are great places to shop for birthday supplies. Oriental Trading is also a great resource. Subscribe to their catalog for great theme ideas and all-in-one stop shopping (and it’s cheap too!)

Be realistic
If you are not the kind of person who likes hosting a party and you have the money, SEND THE PARTY ELSEWHERE! (No-this does not mean you’re a bad mom!!)
BOUNCE companies are popping up everywhere and kids (and adults) absolutely LOVE these places. These places are essentially an indoor playground of inflated bouncing machines. From the experiences I have had most of these places are safe, easy and fun for all. A nearby place offers a complete party for $430.00. This includes up to 25 guests, pizza, cake, t-shirt, invitations and professionals to run the party.

Whatever your child’s interests are (dancing, soccer, martial arts) ask around at the place your child takes lessons or places that offer lessons. NOTE: This can be a great opportunity for your child to find out weather he wants take lessons in that particular thing!

Savor your child’s youth and excitement-it won’t last forever! Take lots of pictures (another thing you can ask someone to do!) and remember that in time you will miss these days.

Do you have more questions or need more help? Check out this great article for more great tips for kid’s birthday party

Monday, July 13, 2009

Simply Egg-cellent Breakfast

Simply Egg-cellent Breakfast

You want to eat healthy starting from the beginning of the day, but your mornings are so busy that it gets away from you. I understand. Just getting my coffee (which is a MUST have for me!) is a big production and takes time away from everything else. Without a little preparation and planning you end up eating your child’s leftovers, a donut, or some type of quick carb-alicious breakfast! Here’s a great, simple way to eat healthy amidst a hurried morning!

Whatever the diet is, nutrition/diet experts will agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Without a healthy breakfast, you will most likely start a day of sugar rushes and crashes leading to eating other unhealthy foods throughout your day. You might end your day by eating late in the evening (usually an unhealthy snack) leading to not being hungry in the morning. This is a vicious cycle of unhealthy eating causing weight gain and lethargy. So, don’t skip breakfast!!

OMELETS are one of my favorite foods but often take a lot of time to prepare. Chopping up the ingredients and then cleaning up the pans all require a lot of time. Here’s my SIMPLE trick to eating omelets in a hurry.

Buy a large pack of eggs (I buy an 18 pack). Pick a time when the kids are busy (i.e. Dad is home or the kids are napping or in bed). This is a time when you can focus on YOUR health (for once!). Get all your ingredients out (see below). Start cooking your LARGE batch of omelets to have throughout the week. Spray your pan with a little olive oil or some Pam spray. Use 3-4 egg whites for EACH omelets (I like to throw in a little of the yolk). Add veggies, garlic, salt and pepper. Get out a Tupperware container and put each omelets in the container separated by a piece of wax paper (or even just a paper towel!)

WaaaLaaaa.. you now have your omelets ready for the week!! Just heat up each one in the microwave when you’re ready for a healthy, yummy, great start to your day!!

Tips for adding some ZEST to your omelets so you don’t get bored:

Use different veggies (I usually get whatever is on sale). The list of things you can add to omelets is ENDLESS-mushrooms (canned or fresh), tomatoes, peppers, onions, avocado, spinach are all great ingredients (just to name a few!) You can throw in anything you have that you want to use before it goes bad. Even shrimp or clams can add a great addition if you want to be fancy!

Try different spices - Lately, I have been on an oregano kick but parsley, basil and many other spices add a great flavor as well. Garlic is usually a must have for me personally. I buy the minced garlic in a jar because it’s easy.

Use different cheeses – Using different cheeses can really make an omelets taste different and add flavor. I love feta but will usually use whatever I have or whatever is on sale.
*****If you are really rushed-Whisk eggs in a bowl and microwave them for an instant breakfast!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

How to Save Money Buying Used Goods

How to Save Money Buying Used Baby Goods

As wonderful as having a baby is, it can mean a huge dent in your pocket. Between diapers, nursing items or formula, daycare, babysitter, and co pays at the doctors (just to name a few) there are many new expenses in your budget. Don’t let these expenses get you down!

Remember that people go through baby items SO quickly they are often trying to get rid of things that are gently used or sometimes not even used at all.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing for a baby (or updating old baby items!)

Shop consignment for baby/kid items. Moms of multiples sales are great with products that are barely used! Churches often have annual or bi annual consignment sales. I have walked away with bags and bags of items for under $50.00 at these sales. Butterflies & Blossoms Consignment Shop in West Chester is one of my favorite place to buy my daughter's clothes. They also have a whole room of great quality maternity clothes, some toys and some other items such as a bouncer seat or bassinet.

Do you need furniture for your child? If you are lucky enough to be handy or have a handy husband, don’t hesitate to buy used furniture! It usually only takes some paint and some new hardware to make an old item look brand new! Go to a store that sells used furniture such as Good Will or The Habitat for Humanity. Both of these are nationwide chains. There is Habitat for Humanity store in Coatesville, PA that often has some great items for dirt cheap!

I personally LOVE Craigslist for any of your childs needs. Even though it is a gamble, I bought many baby items including 2 swings, changing table, exersaucer, pack and play, crib sheet set (just to name a few!) and I never had a bad experience. If you use Craigslist, one helpful tip is to type in the town you live in where you search, that way you do not have to drive all over the state to get items you want. Also, remember to try to talk people down in price. People are usually just trying to get rid of the item and will lower their price if you ask. Also, remember to ask them if they have any other baby items they are trying to get rid of. We often got several items from the same person giving a discount for all items.
When using any classified website, be sure to meet people in a public place in daylight and let people know where you are. If you have a bad feeling about it, DON’T do it. Use your common sense.

One final tip when shopping for baby items, keep it simple! Babies don’t require fancy toys or gadgets-they respond mostly to human faces, funny noises and love. Babies also ruin or out grow clothes very quickly.

What are your ideas that have helped you save money with a little one? Please write a comment and let us know!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Why do women worry so much and men seem so carefree?

It seems as though many women (especially moms) worry constantly. Is this normal?

A friend of mine was recently talking about the guilt of sending her child to day care.
She explained that she would feel guilty about her monetary contribution to the family if she didn’t work. She thought long and hard about this decision before going back to work and researched the best daycare centers but yet still feels guilty.

I was chatting with another friend the other day who was expressing her frustrations about breastfeeding. She would like to stop breastfeeding but is afraid she would feel an enormous amount of guilt. I believe this to be a very common frustration among new moms. She further explained that she is not producing enough milk. She dreads feeding her child.
The thing is-she is not happy either way. If she quits breastfeeding then she will feel guilty. If she continues breastfeeding, then she will feel frustrated because every feeding is so stressful for her.

Sometimes, I find it so hard to live in the moment and enjoy the wonderful things in my life. Why do we worry so much about the decisions that we make? Why do men seem to be so carefree? I have been thinking about this topic for a while and researched some ideas. I found the articles to be very interesting. The one thing that all articles seem to agree on is that women DO NOT worry more than men-they simply express it differently.
Check out this article and let me know what you think!