Valentine’s Day Heart Suncatchers

20140204-100457.jpg

I have seen things floating around Pinterest using Borax to make crystals, so I thought I’d try it myself. This activity was super easy and the results were great! The kids really enjoy looking at them hanging in the kitchen window. One word of caution, do the pouring of the Borax yourself, I’m not sure if it’s safe for the kids to touch!!

I started with 4 mason jars filled with very hot water, a box of borax, and some pipe cleaners. I had the twins “help” me form the pipe cleaners into heart shapes, then added a pipe cleaner so they would fit across the glass jars. I added 3 tbsp. of borax per cup of water (for this size jar it was 6 tbsp. total), and added the pipe cleaner heart. Make sure to stir it well so the borax dissolves.

20140204-100508.jpg

Be careful not to let any part of the heart touch the side and make sure it is completely submerged in the water. I let mine sit overnight and it was plenty of time to really crystallize. I have read that you can re-dip them by reheating the water, but I found mine plenty crystallized.

This is how they turned out!

20140204-100521.jpg

They look even better hanging in the window!

20140204-100540.jpg

I found that disposing of the borax was the most difficult part, as I didn’t want to dump it down the sink. I dumped the water in a jug I was throwing away anyway, then pounded on the borax with a fork until the rest came out:)

You could really make any shape out of these, snowflakes, hearts, suns, etc. Have fun and enjoy!

Until our next adventure,

Moving Mommy

20140204-100448.jpgI

5 Money Saving Tips for New Moms

I have a very good friend who is pregnant right now with her first child. That had me thinking how completely clueless I was when I had Luke. I spent a fortune on things I didn’t need to, and didn’t have things that I now couldn’t imagine living without. So this post is for the new moms and expectant moms, maybe you’ll save a little money (and sanity)!

Diapers- Whatever you do, do not buy the regular size packs from Target or CVS. You’ll end up spending twice as much to diaper your one child as I did diapering twins. Consider using Luvs, they are seriously the best diapers on the market and are also cheaper. Buy them through Amazon’s subscribe and save and you’ll be able to diaper and wipe your baby for $20 per month. It cost us about $38 per month for the twins. They also sell the very large boxes at BJs for around the same price as Amazon, I’m sure Costco and Sam’s have similar deals.

Don’t be afraid of hand-me-downs- I registered for a brand new everything with Luke, it seemed like the right thing to do. As he grew, I realized that he only used all of those things for a few months at most and it was a giant waste of money! He had a brand new bouncer that he didn’t like and only used once. If people have baby stuff that they are willing to give you, take it!! Even if you plan on having more kids, the stuff will last just fine:)

Breastfeed- Not only is it so much better for your baby than chemical-laden formula, but it will save you $1500- $2500 in the first year, depending on the type of formula that you use.  I realize it’s not for everyone and that it’s a very personal decision. I’m a huge supporter of breastfeeding, but that’s for another post.

Make your own baby food- Again, it’s much better for baby and all you really need is a blender and some small jars. They also make baby food processors, but I just used a blender and it was fine. There are tons of recipes and resources out there as well!

Coupon- I know, couponing can be time-consuming and annoying. It works though. I typically don’t use coupons every week because there aren’t many real food coupons out there, but I do still use them for our personal care stuff. Even Tom’s has coupons for their natural toothpaste and deodorant. I generally look for the sales on the things I use at CVS and buy a paper the week they are on sale. The sales are usually the same week that the coupons are in the paper and I can buy shampoo, toothpaste, body wash, etc. for little or no cost.  If you have a BJ’s near  you, consider a membership. They have high value store coupon books that are sent out every month, along with in-store weekly coupons. They are also the only warehouse club that takes manufacturers coupons.

Those are my top five tips, and how we survived financially with the twins! What are your favorite money-saving tips? Stay tuned for the next post “Things I Never Knew I Couldn’t Live Without… Until I Had Kids!”.

Until our next adventure,

Moving Mommy

Flu Shot

20140121-163057.jpg

*Disclaimer: I know that this is a hot button topic and I ask everyone to please be respectful of other people’s views in the comments. I am not writing this post to upset anyone, I am looking for honest opinions and advice*

Do you get your kids the flu shot? I have always been skeptical of it, and my kids have never had it. I am not anti-vaccine, all of my kids are vaccinated. I understand the risks of all types of vaccines and after a lot of research, we decided that the benefits outweigh the risks for us. Except for the flu shot. It seemed to me in the past that my kids are healthy and have healthy immune systems, so it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they got the flu. This year I’m a little concerned, as it is at epidemic levels here in New Jersey and I read an article that 20 children have died this year from the flu.

The article didn’t give specifics, like the overall health of the children affected, but that’s scary folks. When the twins were babies, I asked my pediatrician about the vaccine when he offered it. He asked me if my kids went to daycare and I said no. He told me that honestly, none of his kids had the flu shot until they were old enough to have the nasal one. That pretty much sealed the deal for me, I mean if my doctor didn’t think it necessary than why would I inject something unnecessary into my child?? The nasal version does not contain Thimerosal (mercury), while the injection does. No other vaccine approved for children under 6 contains Thimerosal, and that has been my main reason for not getting it before. Toxic substances and my children’s blood stream just don’t mix. But now I’m concerned that maybe I’m not doing the right thing.

The twins have a doctor’s appointment next Monday and I have to make a decision before then. I’m not sure if they offer the nasal version at their office. If they do, I will probably get it. If not, I’m still unsure…

Any advice from my wonderful readers???

Thanks!

Moving Mommy

 

Child Care

20140115-110003.jpg
I was reading an article the other day about the cost of child care, and while I remember it being expensive, I didn’t realize just how expensive. Before the twins were born I worked full-time, and Luke was in daycare. We spent about $9,000 per year, which is a lot, but I thought it was reasonable because we only had one child at the time. I still made enough to bring home a decent salary after child care. Then came the twins. We decided as soon as we found out that I wouldn’t be able to work. I mean, $27,000 per year? Can anyone afford that? That’s more than the majority of Americans pay for their mortgage or rent.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think that child care providers deserve every penny that they make, but how much of that do they really see? Considering the BLS shows the average child care workers’ salary is $19,510 per year and preschool teachers’ salary is $27,130, I would say not much. Can there really be $130,000 of overhead per classroom per year? I’m not sure, I guess it’s possible, especially in small centers. It doesn’t change the fact that child care is becoming more and more unattainable for the majority of Americans. I have a master’s degree and can’t afford to work. Seems crazy right?

In 2/3 of the US, child care for one year is more expensive than college at a public university. As parents, we are spending more money to get through the preschool years than we will spend to ship them off to college. Child care costs are rising faster than incomes. What are families supposed to do? Are we stepping back in time to a place where women will no longer be able to have a career and children?

I realize that these costs vary wildly by state and that some states are actually affordable. Most of them aren’t. The county where we live averages $12,000- $14,000 per child, per year. Full-time preschool is around $20,000 per child and doesn’t include summers.

What are your thoughts on child care costs? I would love to hear opinions from child care providers and those who work!!!!

Until our next adventure,

Moving Mommy

Sources:

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Childcare Costs Continue to Rise

New Year’s Resolutions

20140102-082848.jpg

Did you know that only approximately 8% of people actually keep their new year’s resolutions? Sounds about right:) I think I’ve made a million of them throughout my lifetime and only kept a few. This year instead of making resolutions, I decided that I would make some goals for the year and try to make them realities. I also figured that if I put those goals out there for everyone to see, I’d be much more likely to work toward them! So, here they are!

1. Run a half-marathon- The current plan is to run either the New Jersey half-marathon or the North Face Endurance Challenge in May, but I’m unsure if I’ll be ready by then. I’m starting to train now and I’ll do my best!

2. Finish the CPA exam- This isn’t a goal, it is a must! I have three more sections to take, and I would like to have them done by the beginning of July. That means lots of studying between now and then!

3. Become a better blogger- October and November were great months for the blog, but I have so many other ideas to implement! I need to dedicate more time to writing and take the time to move to a self-hosted site.

4. Reduce my reliance on electronics- This is a hard one for me. It seems that half of my life is spent on the computer or iPad. I need to spend more time playing with the kids and enjoying the outdoors. So, basically the exact opposite of goal #3:)

Those are my biggest ones for the year! Do you make new year’s resolutions? If so, what are yours for this year? I’d love to hear them!!

Until our next adventure,
Moving Mommy

Pine Cone Bird Feeders

20131206-092109.jpg
My sister-in-law had this fun activity for us to do while we visited for Thanksgiving last week! The kids enjoyed it, and although I’m pretty sure we don’t have many birds around right now, we brought them home and put them outside. It was a bit messy and Will kept trying to eat the peanut butter:) Enjoy!

20131206-092327.jpg

You will need:
1. Peanut butter
2. Pine cones
3. Bird seed
4. Twine, or something to hang them with

We spread newspaper out on the table to keep the mess to a minimum, and had the kids spread peanut butter all over the pine cones. Then we rolled them around in the birdseed. That’s it! Super easy and fun for the littles!! After they dry a bit, just take them outside and hang them in your tree or off the deck.

20131206-092505.jpg
Until our next adventure,
Moving Mommy

Gluten-Free?

I’ve always been a little skeptical of the gluten-free craze that has taken off over the past several years. It seemed like out of the blue tons of people stopped eating gluten; why? Then I started doing some research, and maybe there is something to it. Obviously, people with Celiac disease cannot have gluten, but that is only about 10% of the population. What I’ve found is that many more people have gluten sensitivities, which can only be diagnosed by cutting out gluten. Many people who I have spoken with feel so much better since going gluten-free. Wheat is in a much different, more processed form than it was when our grandparents ate it. Maybe it’s the gluten, maybe it’s the process used now, I’m not sure. I still didn’t really have any desire to go gluten-free, as it would be a total nightmare for the kids.

Will has eczema, and has since about the time I stopped nursing. It comes and goes, and until now I just used Cetaphil to moisturize his skin and it has worked ok. All of a sudden, it has gotten really bad. He’s covered in it and I feel terrible for him. The only thing the doctors can do is put him on steroids, which I only want to do as a last resort. Hydrocortisone cream works some, but I would much rather find the source of the problem than constantly have to treat it. The problem is that no one really knows what causes it, only that it is an autoimmune condition. That’s probably because it isn’t one thing that causes it in all people.

My goal is to figure out what is causing it in Will. It could be candida overgrowth, an unhealthy balance in gut bacteria, a food allergy, lots of things really. I may not find the answer at all. The first thing that we are doing is cutting out gluten. If it’s a food sensitivity, that is the most likely one. Even if it isn’t, cutting out gluten will help with the other likely culprits too. We will see!

I’m baking a loaf of gluten-free bread right now, wish me luck!

Does anyone have any advice on eczema or going gluten-free? What are your thoughts?

Until our next adventure,
Moving Mommy

Misconceptions of Stay-at-Home Moms

MjAxMi0wNzIzODBlMDBmZTU4ZTM0

I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with the kids since the twins were born. I can’t believe I have been out of the real world for three years! It has been really fulfilling and really, really difficult. Especially since we moved here where I have no support system. The majority of my day is spent talking about poop, pee, or cartoons, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Our kids are little for such a short time, and I’m blessed to be able to spend so much time with them and to teach them while they are young!

I watched a video on Upworthy the other day that was really cute. It was a little girl talking about her mom, and she called her a doctor, a chef, an angel, and some other things. I took the video as being about all moms, not just those of us who don’t work outside the home currently. Then I read the comments, which is always a mistake. One comment really got under my skin. It went something like…

All of you stay-at-home moms should go out and get a job and do something with your lives. You’ll be sorry when your husband divorces you for a younger woman and you don’t have rights to his pension or salary. Then you’ll have to get a minimum wage job and the taxpayers will be paying for your kids.

Seriously?? I’ve heard some of the stereotypes, but I’ve never really been witness to one. That blanket statement pretty much says
A) All men are jerks
B) SAHMs are lazy
C) Raising productive citizens isn’t “doing something with your life”
D) SAHMs are uneducated and unqualified to be anything but a Walmart greeter (and there’s nothing wrong with being a Walmart greeter!)

Most SAHMs that I know don’t plan on doing it forever, I know that I don’t. And even if I did, that wouldn’t make my value as a person any less than someone who works full-time. Raising kids is hard, whether you work or not, and being a parent is important. Everyone’s situations are different, but we all try our best to be good parents and that’s what matters. We are all in this together, shouldn’t we be supportive of each other along the way?

Until our next adventure,
Moving Mommy

Holiday Shopping Madness

The holiday shopping madness has already begun. Today I went to Target to pick up a few things for our trip this week, and I could already tell that the season had started. People were crabby, inconsiderate, and all over the place. What is it about shopping during this time of year that brings out the worst in people? I went to the store knowing that I would have to park far away, wait in line, and make my way through the crowd just to get a few toiletries. Doesn’t everyone realize that? I was ok with it, the world wasn’t going to stop because it took me 15 extra minutes in Target. I just don’t think it’s necessary to ram your cart into the lady pushing two kids because she’s not moving fast enough for you. Excuse me would be fine, really. Then as we were walking to the car, some crazy person almost ran over Will. Literally. He fell and instead of waiting for the three seconds it would take me to get him up, she decided to speed right by. The only problem was that she didn’t cut her wheel enough and I had to dive on top of him to prevent her from running over his hand. He was fine, but he was scared. A couple of people ran over to make sure he was ok, which was nice, but I think it scared him even more.

If you will be joining the masses this weekend, try to be patient and kind! I know we all want to save a little money on our holiday gifts, but remember that it’s not the gifts that this season is about. It’s about love and kindness and being grateful for what you have.So smile at the cashier working 12 hour days to provide a great Christmas for her kids, let the mom with all the kids cross the street without mowing her down, tip your server well, and be nice to other shoppers:)

Until our next adventure,
Moving Mommy

I Have a Confession to Make…

I already put our Christmas decorations up. Yes, on November 18 I was in a Christmas frenzy. I dug all of the decorations out of the garage, and to my children’s dismay, sang Christmas carols while decorating the house. If you had asked me 5 years ago if I would ever decorate before Thanksgiving, I would have rolled my eyes at you.

Last year I was never able to get warm and fuzzy about Christmas. Right around Thanksgiving we found out we were moving to New Jersey, so I spent almost the entirety of the holidays packing our house. My husband was working in New York the whole month of December, so the kids and I were on our own. When the kids opened their gifts on Christmas morning, I immediately put more than half of them in a moving box and they weren’t opened until we got settled in our new home.

So this year, I’m a little over-excited! I’m almost completely done with my shopping and I really want to start doing Christmas activities with the kids. I’ll wait until after Thanksgiving for that. The kids are happy, they love all of the lights but my husband thinks I’m a lunatic:) I’m hoping I won’t be disappointed when I have nothing left to do come mid-December!

When do you decorate for the holidays? Do you think it’s too early?

Until our next adventure,
Moving Mommy