Category Archives: Baby

Baby Footprint Keepsake

Baby Butterfly Footprint Keepsake

Blue Footprint Keepsake | Money Savvy Liivng

 

Little newborn baby hands and  feet are so cute.  Funny how, as we get older, feet aren’t so cute anymore…  Anyways, I know that bringing each of the boys home from the hospital, I would just look at that little, tiny life in amazement and marvel at how each little finger and toe were just perfectly formed.  I think any new mother can relate to that feeling of wanting to keep your baby that little forever… although, I will admit that the middle-of-the-night feedings do get a bit old after a while.

Sooooo, since your baby won’t stay little for long, you have to capture those little footprints (and handprints!) while you can.

Here is an easy way to capture you little one’s footprints! In these pictures, I used my youngest son’s little feet to make the butterfly and my two older children made the thumbprint ladybugs and the fingerprint flowers.  This was a great way for all of my children to be included in the picture.  So you can definitely get creative to add more than one child without taking a full handprint or footprint, especially when some of your kids are older and a full hand or foot would take up too much space.  A calligraphy pen is great to add the accents. Use any colors you like and then frame it!

*Tip: When working with newborns, you will probably have better luck with footprints because tiny babies tend to want to close their hand, so getting a clear handprint is quite a bit harder than a footprint.

 

Footprint Keepsake | Money Savvy Living

 

This is also a very inexpensive way to make a keepsake of your precious little one. I used a frame that I already had and cardstock. I did have to buy the washable ink pads (make sure it is washable and safe to use on children) and calligraphy pen (less than $10– and you will have these items to use for other crafty projects), but still spent much less than the keepsake plates (shown below) which were done at a studio, and cost at least $25 each.

However, it was my babies’ footprints… and I really wanted to have these keepsakes for display, so I allowed myself to splurge on these for each of the boys.

 

Golf Footprint Keepsake | Money Savvy Living
My husband loves to golf. This is a gift that I made for him when our son was about 18 months old. A great way to give a meaningful keepsake to any dad or grandpa. This was painted on a ceraminc plate, coated, and fired at a local paint-your-own pottery studio.

I would have never come up with the idea for this on my own, but attended a workshop where they walked us through how to do the footprint as a golf green and how to complete the scene.  So after I did this one, I wanted to make plates for the other kids, but not the exact same thing.  So I got creative and below you can see my designs:

 

Football Footprint Keepsake | Money Savvy Living
This is one of my favorite footprint pieces that I have done. The design came out good, even though I could have used a few more coats of paint to even it out! My son was 3 years old when I did this, so I needed a little bit longer plate to make it work. After placing his footprint on first, I drew the football outline with pencil (pencil marks disappear during the firing process) and filled in.  Drew in the field hash marks and done!

 

Baseball Footprint Keepsake | Money Savvy Living

I figured to round out the trio of sports plates, I would do baseball next.  The green came out a bit darker than I had hoped, but my little guy’s footprint stands out, and that is most important!

10 Ways for New Parents to Save Money

piggy bank

Finding out that you are expecting a baby is one of the most exciting and happy events in life! And even when you find out how much this little bundle of joy is going to cost you—the average cost of raising a child is about $245,000—it is still worth it because nothing compares to holding that sweet little baby in your arms. There are some things that you can do though, to save a bit of money:

1. Don’t buy a diaper bag. You won’t need to buy a diaper bag. Seriously, you won’t. Diaper bags can be very expensive, usually starting at about $30 and ranging up to several hundred dollars! And trust me, if you buy one, you are going to be sorry that you wasted your money. There are several places that will actually give you a diaper bag for FREE:

  • your obstetrician’s office often has free diaper bags (with formula samples inside!)
  • vendors at baby fairs hand out diaper bags, among other samples
  • the hospital also gives out free diaper bags and other samples

I learned about all of these free diaper bags after I had already purchases a diaper bag, which I ended up not liking as much as the free ones! If the doctor’s office or hospital are busy or forget to offer these to you, make sure you ask for samples, coupons, or a diaper bag.

2. Don’t stock up on diapers. Ok, if you are a planner, like me, this one is going to be tough. Yes, you will need some diapers to get you started the first few weeks, but don’t buy a bunch of size 1 and 2 diapers until you see what works best for you and your baby. Some brands of diapers that my friends said worked so well for them—never had a leaky diaper—just didn’t prove to be the same experience for me and my baby. You will probably want to test out a few brands until you see what works for you the best, and trust me, it isn’t always the name brand, sometimes store brands are just as good (maybe even better!).

3. Don’t stock up on formula either. Start out using just one type of formula, don’t test these out initially. But you should not buy several bulk cases of it until you know that your baby will be ok with it. You don’t want to find out that you’ve spent hundreds of dollars on a formula that your baby won’t be able to use because of lactose intolerance or acid reflux.

4. Sign up for baby food, formula, and diaper coupons. You can sign up for these easily online. Some of the main ones to check out: Pampers, Huggies, Similac, Gerber

5. Sign up for store rewards programs. Many stores offer rewards programs, such as Babies’ R Us. You earn points for each dollar spent that will earn you coupons for future use in the store, so you can save money on future purchases for your little one! You may also notice codes on products that you buy, such as Huggies and Pampers. Those points can be entered online to earn items, such as a free photobook from Shutterfly!

6. Use cloth diapers. If you really want to save money on diapers, you may want to opt for cloth diapers. Of course, there are some up-front costs for this, but considering that in one month’s time, a newborn will go through about 300 diaper changes (a bigger baby will probably use about 150 diapers a month), you will probably end up spending about $35-75 per month on disposable diapers!

7. Choose breast milk over formula. If you choose to nurse your baby, you will be taking advantage of a free source of food! Besides the antibodies and health benefits to your child, the money savings are a very nice benefit.

8. Use store apps or price matching. It can take a bit of planning to search for sale items ahead of time, but many stores will give you discounts on baby items. Target has created the “Cartwheel” application for smartphones, which offers different discount on items each week. You can typically save 5-10% on store brand baby items, including diapers, wipes, and baby food. Another great way to save is to price match; stores such as Walmart will accept competitor ads on any item in there store, including name brand baby products.

9. Utilize a flex spending account for medical bills or childcare. If your employer offers a Flex Spending account, take advantage of it for medical expenses or childcare for your baby. Money comes out of your paycheck, pre-tax—so you will reduce the amount of taxes withheld from each check, which will increase your spendable cash each month!  You should be able to find several free income tax calculators online that can take the guesswork out of the entire process.

10. Buy gender neutral items. As tempting as it is to run out and buy everything blue that you see as soon as you find out that you’re having a boy, try to restrain yourself if you plan on having more than one child. It can be very expensive to purchase everything that you will need for a baby when you are expecting your first child… and it doesn’t get any cheaper if you need to replace all of these items when your second child is a girl. Items such as strollers, receiving blankets, sleepers, even nursery decorations, can be gender neutral so that they could work whether you have a boy or girl. A little thinking ahead can save you big bucks!

Tips for Planning a Baby Shower on a Budget

Here are some great money-saving ideas for throwing a fabulous baby shower on a budget from Guest Author: Kimberly McLeod, Creator of Life is a Lullaby

A few weeks ago I threw my best friend a baby shower. If you haven’t checked out the details, you can view it here: This Little Piggy Baby Shower.

Throwing a party is never a cheap undertaking, but you don’t have to break the ‘piggy’ bank doing it.

Here are a few tips to save money when planning a baby shower.

5 Tips for Planning a Baby Shower on a Budget

1. Make your own invitations. You can easily invite all the guests via email these days (unless it’s your grandma who doesn’t have a computer – in that case, you may need to do one hand written). I like paperless post. They have a lot of free options to choose from and you can easily see who has RSVP’d. Another option is to create the invitation on the computer and email it out. Finally, if you want to mail out invitations – there’s still a way to save. There are a lot of free baby shower invitations online that you can customize or print off.

Here’s a really unique and fun idea from Oh Happy Day:

Invitation in a Box // Oh Happy DayInvitation in a Box // Oh Happy Day

2. Cook your own food. Getting catering can almost double or triple your costs. Yes it takes more work to make the food yourself, but you’ll save a TON and people will appreciate it more because you made it from scratch. Guests may also offer to bring something. Take them up on this offer if you don’t feel like you can handle it all yourself! Ask another friend to help you on the day of also. Getting a few other friends to bring some appetizers or punch can really help with the cost. I like to serve buffet style that way you can arrange all the appetizers on a table. Cold cuts or egg and tuna sandwiches are always a favourite and usually cost friendly & easy to make.

3. Create your own games. Don’t waste money purchasing special cards or papers for games. There are thousands of ideas for games that don’t cost a thing to do but are still fun!

Here are a few low cost game ideas:

  • Guess the weight of the mom & dad to be when they were born
  • The person with the closest birthday to the due date wins a prize
  • Guess the size of the belly using ribbon
  • Guess that baby song/celebrity baby etc
  • Wishes for baby – guests write out 2-3 wishes for the baby and the mom to be gets to take this home with her

4. Craft the decorations yourself. You can create your own DIY diaper bouquets, tassels, garlands, and pom poms and they can look fantastic!

Here are some tutorials on how to make some DIY decorations:

How to make your own…

Diaper bouquet // Life is a Lullaby

Tassels // Little Mommy Nest
tassel

Easy Streamer Garland // Oh Happy Day

Fringey Streamers // Oh Happy Day
streamers1

Pom Poms // Two Twenty One

5. Get Free Printables for the Finishing Touch. You can find a lot of free printables online that you can create to make cupcake toppers, the invitation etc. Just google your theme and “free printables” and you’ll be surprised what you might find. I threw a ‘This Little Piggy” shower-theme and snagged these free printables from Lil Luna.

Here are a few baby shower free sets from Pottery Barn Kids:

Bundle of Bots // Pottery Barn Kids
bots-templates

Pink or Blue // Pottery Barn Kids
pink-or-blue-templates

Guest Author: Kimberly McLeod

Life is a Lullaby

Kimberly is a new mom, a wife, a marketer, and a curator of ideas. Let Life is a Lullaby inspire your everyday dreams! You can follow Kimberly on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

10 Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep Better at Night

sweet, sleeping angel...

sweet, sleeping angel…

If you are the parent of a newborn, or even a toddler, you are probably a bit sleep deprived. While there may not be a magical wand to wave and make your little one sleep twelve hours in a row, there are some things that you can do to help your baby—and you—get a more restful night of sleep.

 

Bedtime routine

Newborn babies learn from their experiences what is going on in the world around them. Of course, it takes a while, but if you are diligent to put a routine in place that leads up to bedtime, such as bath time, then they will grow to expect that bedtime is coming after bath.

 

Milk

It may be an old wives tale that warm milk before bed helps you sleep better, but it certainly does seem to have some benefits, if for no other reason than making sure your little one’s tummy is full. It is hard to go to sleep—and stay asleep—when you’re hungry. Even as kids get a little older, they may still like to drink a cup of milk (or have a serving of yogurt or cottage cheese) before bed.

 

Quiet activities

Babies or toddlers can remain engaged for quite a while when something is going on around them that they find interesting. Just before bedtime is probably not the best time for a loud toy with lots of moving parts. So put the loud toys with lots of moving parts away and do quieter activities, such as coloring or reading.  Even a baby can sit on your lap and enjoy listening to a bedtime story.

 

Turn down the lights

Yes, your baby probably can fall asleep any time of day no matter what is going on around them when they are really tired, but turning the lights down low is another indicator that bedtime is near.

 

Sing or play soft lullaby music

Hearing a certain song can also indicate that it is bedtime. Not to mention the soft, soothing sounds of lullabies actually encourage relaxation and sleep.  Check out these wonderful lullaby CDs, or just softy sing your child to sleep, such as: Baby Mine, Classics Songs for Bedtime, Bedtime Prayers: Lullabies and Peaceful Worship, Bedtime Mozart: Classical Lullabies for babies, or Piano Lullabies: Babies’ Bedtime Favorites.

 

Ambient noise is a good thing

Have you ever tried to fall asleep in a quiet room that you are able to hear every crack and creak of your house? It’s not easy to do. Running a humidifier or a small fan can give enough background noise to drown out those bumps in the night and enable a better night of sleep.  Or you can try something like the Sleep Easy Sound Conditioner, white noise machine to see if that will help soothe your little one.

 

Keep the daytime sounds going at naptime

Make naptime drastically different than bedtime. Encourage naps during the day in a light-filled room that has typical daytime sounds. Don’t bother pulling the drapes or turning down the television; this extreme difference can help your baby differentiate between daytime and nighttime.

 

Don’t nap in the bedroom

Put your baby down for a nap in a bassinet or pack-n-play in a location other than your child’s bedroom. This is just another cue for your little one that indicates the difference between when they are expected to sleep a short time at naptime or for a longer period of time at night.

 

Don’t hold your baby while they nap

If you get in the habit of holding your baby the entire time that they nap during the day, they may get used to being held while they sleep—and that may carry over to nighttime as well. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t hold your baby while they snooze at all. Snuggle your little one as much as you want, but putting them down to sleep, without being in your arms, should be a part of each naptime too.

 

When your baby cries, go to him

This topic is somewhat controversial. Some people tell you not to run to your child when they cry at night; however, as a parent, I cannot leave my baby in a dark room by themselves, crying in the middle of the night. Your baby needs to know that when they cry, for whatever reason, that you are there for them. If they don’t need a bottle or a diaper change, they may just need a little comfort in order to go back to sleep.  But keep in mind, going to see what is wrong or changing a diaper does not mean that you should have to stay up all night…

 

While those first months are a bit disrupting to your regular night of sleep, it does get better.  Know that you are going to be tired—and make an effort to just be tired, not grouchy with it!  Yes, this can be a struggle, but my husband and I decided that it would be better to simply be tired, not tired and grumpy with each other or the baby.

Honestly, looking back, some of those middle-of-the-night snuggles in the rocking chair, in which I had to struggle to stay awake, were pretty wonderful times.

Priceless memories.

 

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