I haven't reached the point of dumpster diving for coupons just yet; however, I have started actually paying attention to the coupon section and clipping ones that are relevant to my family. Most of our coupons are baby related. Face it, diapers and formula are expensive and this little monster man demands to be fed. I just really don't understand extreme couponing even though I am all for saving money. For one, most people save a bunch of money but they bought a bunch of shit they didn't need in the first place or will never use. What is the point in that? For two, I am kind of a brand snob about certain products. Coupons are for specific things and brands only and sometimes I just want what I always get.
I can't even watch the show without cringing. I am a major neat freak so theoretically, I should love the rush of organizing all the coupons, going to the store, adding up the numbers just right and checking out, paying nothing. In reality, my anxiety sky rockets when I watch; I just want to get my list and get out of the eight circle of hell(my name for any grocery store, specifically "the-store-that-must-not-be-named.")
Enough of my moaning. The point is, I am starting to do something I really don't like just to help with our budgeting. I also always compare the price of the "brand" verse the knock off because every little penny helps. Amazingly enough I have also tried menu-planning where you only buy what you need for specific meals. Menu planning haas only pointed out how little "cooking necessities" my kitchen really has. What? I didn't know you were supposed to keep spices and stuff stocked all the time.
See, proof of me being a smart shopper.
It just all goes back to that dumpster. There is no way in Hades will I be dumpster diving to save some dough. Although, I guess if I don't save enough I'll be living in the dumpster. Oh the irony!
So, what am I doing wrong? Any advice on how couponing can really help without making me want to yank my eyelashes out one-by-one. What are your secrets to grocery shopping on a dime?
I was complaining that my calf muscles were sore and Kris, being the know-it-allmemorizer-of-all-random-facts, started asking me what muscle is which. Now, I remember memorizing the bones in school but the names of most of the muscles escaped me. For example, I replied "ulna" and "radius" when he was asking about arm muscles.
Our conversation was interrupted by loud, laugh-till-you-cry laughs when he asked me what my chest muscles were called. Almost asleep, I answered: "Um, pectasauras?"(For those of you who don't know the scientific term is actually pectorals.)
Apparently, I am inventing a new species of dinosaur: a buff, meat-head dinosaur that would make those Jersey Shore dudes tremble.
After the laughter died down Kris brought up another one of my mishaps.
"Honey, that was almost as good as that one time in college."
"Not sure what you mean..." I like to play dumb when being reminded of my embarrassing moments. Can you blame me?
"You remember, in Geology class when the professor was asking about active volcanoes?" he prompted. Before I could deny or defend he bursted, "You asked me if Dante's Peak was active!"
In my defense, I thought the movie was based on a true story. How was I supposed to know the blasted volcano was fictional?
Like my loving husband says though, at least I am pretty...
Around my house the hubby and I are both guilty of the "there is nothing in this house to eat" debacle even though there is usually a fridge and pantry full of food. What can I say, we are indecisive people.
When I first decided I wanted to try baby-led weaning with little man, I was stumped. "There is nothing for him to eat in this house." (Hah - we believe in passing on all our bad habits to Jackson.)
But that my friends is the beauty of baby-led weaning, there is ALWAYS something for your little one to eat because they are eating what YOU eat. Homemade?Strictly fresh veggies and fruit? Straight from mommy or daddy's plate? It is all up to you.
Sweet Potato Monster
Incase you are new around here and have no idea what in the heck I am talking about, baby-led weaning is a concept we are trying when it comes to introducing food to our son.
So what does Jackson eat? We try to give him an array of healthy options to choose from but we typically feed straight from our plate.
We started simple and small until we found our groove. Tomatoes, sweet potato slices, avocado, stewed apples, steamed carrot sticks, steamed broccoli, plums and watermelon have all been on the menu. Anything that might be a little hard for little man to chew we typically steam to make it a little softer. Seem like a lot of work? Not at all! Once a week I gather the produce and cut, steam and prepare. It all goes into Tupperware and mealtimes are as easy as one-two-open the fridge.
If we are eating a meal that includes a lot of stuff that works for Jack we just feed him off our plates: beans out of mom's chili or green beans from our meal. He has even sucked on a piece of pork chop after pitching a fit to try some. I hadn't been brave enough to offer him meat just yet but it was clearly what he wanted. He whimpered until he got a piece (after already tasting everything else from our plates.)
Offering him a variety of foods is giving him the chance to discover different tastes and textures and ensure he gets all the nutrients his needs.
We avoid excess salt and sugar, fast foods and any seafood for now; all the while introducing new foods a little at a time to keep an eye open for allergies. Even with those restrictions there is always something for him to eat.
Just like everything else in my short 6-months as a parent, we have decided to be unconventional when it comes to introducing food to the little man. We don't choose to be different just for the sake of being different but my personality makes me question everything that other parents and doctors tell me. In the end whether it is feeding, where my kid sleeps or the toys he plays with, we always do what is best for us as a family. What is best for us and what works for us is not always what works best for others and we are ok with that.
Jackson has had a mind of his own straight from the get-go so baby-led weaning just made sense. It allows us to introduce foods that allow him to feed himself - no spoon feeding and no purees. He sits with our family at mealtimes and explores his senses. I really feel like we are encouraging his independence and confidence while preventing the "picky eater" scenario.
If you want to get all scientific, he is also developing his hand-eye coordination and chewing skills more so then if I were simply spoon feeding.
The basics to get started and keep your little one safe are simple.
Sit upright: your baby should be able to sit up on their own in order to safely feed themselves and prevent choking. A highchair or other baby seat is a great way to keep them safe.
Their choice: always offer your baby food rather than give it to them. It is called baby-led for a reason. Give them a few options and let them decided what to eat. Put food in front of them or let them take it from your hand. Don't try to persuade your kiddo to eat more than they want or stuff anything in their mouth.
Easy Peasy: Thick sticks or long strips are best for easy pick up and to prevent your baby from getting frustrated. It also is the safest option.
Family time: One of the great perks is including your little one in mealtimes. It is best to sit down with them as often as you can and eat similar/the same foods so baby can copy you.
Tick Tock: Choose mealtimes that are a convenient time. A cranky or starving baby will not be able to concentrate. Formula/breastmilk is still the main source of nutrient so treat mealtimes as a chance for playing and learning.
Got Water: Bottle/breastfeeding should remain the same but a few sips of water should be introduced with meals to help with digestion and prevent constipation. Plus, who likes to eat without something to wash it all down?
The dinner dishes are piled up in the sink, patiently waiting for me. A highchair sits in the dining room, small remnants scattered showing a baby learning to eat. The dogs are beginning to snore.
Most nights I am still alone. If I am lucky by this time, I am settling into the couch with little man nestled in my arms. My rhythmic rocking lulls my mind into a state of calm while lulling little man into a deep slumber.
This time of day, right before bedtime, is bittersweet. The sun is not always shining some days, but the sunset - it is always bright -as it signals the end of another day. The creak of the rocking reminds me that we, me and the little man, have survived. I know that I love the small person in my arms more than I have ever loved anything before.
However with each rock I slowly feel like I am becoming myself again, the person I was before I became a stay-at-home-mom. The unstressed, fun-loving, read-all-day-in-bed, person that is still there inside myself. Sometimes it is almost as if the day is drowning me and the nights are that breath of air I so desperately need.
Suddenly, a slight sigh escapes little man's lips and brings my slowed rocking to attention. My heart swells with love. This time of day, it is when I can be both of me. My two worlds - new and old - combine without trouble and I take a break from the stress and worry of day-to-day mothering.
I just enjoy. I don't have to tread water because I have - once again - made it to the shallow end. I can pull my head above water and just breath.
This time of day is enough, enough to get me through the bad times and help me enjoy the good ones. I don't have to be the old me or the new me, the two halves can make a whole.
And some days? I realize that is enough.
Click the button below to read some other amazing stories about Just. Being Enough.
At 4-months of age little man hit that milestone that every family with a baby reaches: the doc gives you the a-ok to start on baby cereal. I was excited because I could tell that Jackson was hungry and wanted something more than formula. His digestive system did well on the cereal but he let me know what he really thought about it.
The thing is, I didn't listen.
He would try to grab the spoon from me and stick his hands straight into the bowl to feed himself. He was reaching for my cup whenever I drank something and he was trying to grab food from my plate.
I want to try and blame it on the damn baby books again but me not listening to my son is my own fault. See those books and doctors tell you strictly cereal or rice and then move on to purees. Well Jackson wasn't satisfied and I felt terrible spoon-feeding.
Why should I shovel food in his mouth and pick-and-choose what he is eating? Yes, babies can open their mouths when they want more or turn away when they are done but let's face it, parents get bogged down by the idea that they "must feed their kid the whole damn jar of baby food or they are not doing it right."
My instincts and my little man kept telling me there was another way. Of course the magic that is Google introduced me to baby-led weaning.
I could say a lot of fancy things about baby-led weaning but simply put:
Baby-led weaning is (in my opinion) a common-sense, easy and enjoyable way to include little man in family meals. It is skipping the purees, spoons and heading straight for the solids; letting baby feed themselves.
Maybe it is just me and that is fine. We all parent differently and there is nothing wrong with spoon feeding if it is right for you and your kiddo.
But for him?
He is a big boy that wants to do it himself (and DOES!)
So there's this really funny, down-to-earth blogger called Untypically Jia. She has a potty mouth (which means she would fit in at my house) and she blogs about her real life not just "fluff."
She's going on vacation and for some unknown, creepy reason she wanted to know about my love life post-baby. I told you, she's a freak like that.
Check out a preview of my post below.(I promise, it is PG and I like to think, actually quite funny.)
The other night Kris and I were laying in bed just enjoying the peace-and-quite. The little man had just went to sleep after being a crank-ass all day. (I swear, I love him but geeze when he doesn't nap I want to shoot myself.)
Suddenly, I started giggling hysterically and was instantly shushed by the hubby.
"Be quite, you're going to wake him up!" Kris threatened.
Still, the giggles kept coming.
"What is so damn funny?" he asked me.
"We're. So. Tired. We. Don't. Even. Want. To. Have. Sex." I spit out in between gasps of air...
Yet, this past week my pride reached a whole new level.
When 6 p.m. rolled around and Kris is usually coming home for dinner, he was actually leaving his office job and delivering another family their dinner. Yes, my college-educated, military-retired husband is delivering pizzalike he used to in high school. You might be embarrassed but I am proud not pride-full.
The reality is the military really takes care of their soldiers and even though we are making practically the same amount of money post-Army, we are just not where we would like to be or where we were. (For our savings, the holidays or the future.) We budget and the bills that we have are not frivolous or optional.
It was Kris' idea, the second job. I was unsure at first because he already works so hard and has limited time at home. I felt terrible that my husband has to take even more time away from his son in order to take care of us.
I am embarrassed to say that I made it about myself. I don't contribute anything financially. I should be using my degree and generating an income. I need to get over the daycare thing and go back to work. I expect too much. We can move somewhere cheaper. I didn't need that iced coffee last week.
But you know what? It is NOT about ME. It is about US, as a FAMILY. It is about setting a good example for our son, that no job is beneath you. That if you want nice things, you have to work hard. That sometimes, things are hard but you will make it through.