Saving Money

That's right, I have a small solution to help little people save money- and it works! Keep in mind it is a slow process but it WORKS. I promise. It worked for me.

I was living from paycheck to paycheck and many of my checks were spoken for before I even worked the hours! I had no savings what so ever. If something went wrong (say- I needed to fix the breaks on my car) I was in HUGE trouble because I simply did not have any extra money! Life was a financial nightmare.

I wanted a savings, like when I was a teenager, but I was too stingy about it because most banks have a minimum of $200 or $300 and if you don't have that balance you have to pay a small fee. I was not about to let them have my hard earned money!

Well here is my solution- get over it (I will explain in a monent). I tried and tried, and could never save that much money on my own to bring into the bank, because face it- $20 is a lot of stinkin money- much less $200! No amount of money lasted in my house, even if I hid it from myself!

So I sucked it up and went to my bank and opened up a savings. I tried to scrape up a little bit of cash, I couldn't even set it up with even an amount of $20. I just coudn't part with it. I had mouths to feed!

**these days a lot of banks even have those "open an account with us and we'll deposite $50 (or $100) coupons"

So I started direct depositing (it is easier if you direct deposit, if not then you MUST remember to automatically do it when you cash your check)- no joke $5 into my savings. I communicated to my bank and they waived the fee for being under the minimum (you could also put the account in a child's name to get past this fee if you choose- I didn't want to I wanted MY account). Turns out they didn't waive the minmum some "error" but I just sucked it up and took it. I NEEDED the savings.

The $5 dollars was easy to part with per check. I didn't miss it at all. Yeah it would take FOREVER to build up your savings (and it did), but hey- that is an extra $5 you are NOT spending. It DOES build up. After a few weeks I bumped it up to $10, then another few weeks I bumped my amount to $15, and so on. I made a goal to reach $50 per check to put into my savings.

It really did work. It took a long time for the amount of money in my savings to really feel like I had a coushin- but when I saw my first $100 I was so proud of myself! When my car DID need some work and I took the $300 out of my savings to pay for it- that felt WONDERFUL.

Stick to it. Remember you can't save $1000 overnight! if $1000 is your goal, then set a reasonable goal and work at it. You will get there. Be patient. Don't be discouraged if you have to 'dip into the savings' for something. That is what it is there for!

Potty Training

My suggestion is first thing is get your patience and nerves ready! Decide how you're going to go about it- and stick to it. I went back and forth with different suggested techniques with my first child and it was a disaster until I just stuck to my guns on HOW we were going to go about doing it and I made sure babysitters and everyone else was on the same page as me- this is HOW we are doing it at home and this is HOW we need to be doing it everywhere else. Because doing it one way one place and another way somewhere else was too confusing and I think in the end is what caused him a lot of frustration.

That and once you start- don't stop! All the pediatritions say "if they're not ready, stop for a while..." No, I would say don't. I don't know why they say that because when I would see that he started to get frustrated and freak out (of course they do when it's new and scary and they haven't done it before). I would stop after a couple months of trying- that is what Dr's say right?? Well after a while it got to the point where HE was manipulating ME. He knew that if he only cried hard enough, got upset enough, or freaked out enough- that I would go back to diapers and all would be "safe" again for him, right?

Potty training was no fun the 2nd time around either, but once I started I did NOT stop and (perhaps becuase I had learned a lot the first time) it was over a lot sooner... I am not going to say it was easier becuase I don't think it was!

Now here is how I would start:
Start by preparing the child for what you're about to do. Books and videos are a GREAT tool. I utilized any I could get my hands on- I love variety. I talked about our bodies and what they do- and what big people do when we have to go. I let them flush the potty if they wanted or throw something in to watch it go away. My daughter was scared so I told her she didn't have to until she was ready.

Basically I did "baby steps" when it came to the potty training. I talked about it, read bout it, and let them know soon "this is what we're going to do" and eased them into it. I tried to let her feel like she was in control as much as possible.

For example, I let her decide if she wanted a little seat for the house, a seat "just for her" which she loved, and where she was going to put it. And for going places, what kind of seat to go over big potties.

After we got the seat, we decided on "rewards" for making it into the potty and how all this good stuff would happen. You can do charts, stickers, anything the child will like. Gavin wanted a monster truck REALLY bad so once we got down to it and he knew he had to go in it he had to go 30 days no accidents, we made a special calendar, and he got his monster truck! In the mean time he got stickers for going.

I always helped them with the wiping at first, but once they were going on a regular basis I started to teach them the proper way to do it. The flushable wipes were a real life saver here. They are kind of pricey, but I think it helps with the transition, for when they started to wipe on their own and were throwing them in the potty.

I would reward the good behavior and ignore the bad behavior. Don't punish accidents- at least not until they get the hang of it. Later on when I knew they knew, I would have them rinse out their own wet pants and "help" me with the laundry (that really decreased the accidents because it was no fun).

ps, I used to hold thier hands when they first started actually going in the potty. It had to be a lot different and scarier than "just going" in their diaper! It helped.

Dealing With The EX

I have come to learn something about the ex. No matter what you say, do, think, feel, or act out there is aboslutely nothing you can really do about them. They are going to always have had that part of your significant other's life. So don't try to change that because it's a moot point.

I realize everyone's situation is different. Some people were once friends with their SO's ex and some people's ex's are complete strangers. Either way it is probably best not to bother with contact if at all possible. Unless for some freakish reason you get along. In which case- kudos to you!

Realize that at one point or another this person you are with probably at one point loved or thought they were in love with this other person, but right now they are not with them. They are with YOU.

Sometimes you just have to let it go and leave it at that. Easier said than done- but do it anyway. Kind of like jumping into a pool. Just hold your breath and jump. Let the other person go -your significant other has.

Hectic Mornings

Are your mornings hectic, waking up late? Need to get ready faster? I pick out my clothes the night before so I don’t spend all the time deciding what to wear. I’m a busy girl, but lets face it sometimes I can’t choose.

For the kids. When they brush their teeth at night and get their jammies on I have them pick out their clothes for the next day for school and get them laid out for the next day. Seriously- it’s a life saver. Oh and having them get all their stuff IN their school bags and put their bags near the door is also a help.

Breaking The Pacifier- the hard way

My daughter was the harder of the two. She was very dependent on her binky. She simply freaked out if we couldn’t bring it up at bed time. It had gotten to the point where I broke her of it during the day, but she absolutely had to have it at night.

I started by letting it get “lost” for a few minutes and she would be patient for me to look for it and when she really started to fret I would “find” it. It started to get “lost” for longer and longer periods every night. I would tell her to go to sleep while I looked for it (sometimes I would have to reassure her I was looking everywhere- and name places I was looking for it) and eventually she started to fall asleep while I was “looking” for it, but would wake up and I would tell her I found it.

I don’t remember how long this went on, but it seemed the least stressful way for me to break it from her because of her attachment. And it was the least stressful for me, too.

Of if you’re wondering, I did try the cold turkey thing- she would cry until she puked.

Breaking The Pacifier- the easy way

This is another where I can’t stand seeing the 3 and 4 year olds with the binky in the mouth. And sad to say with at least one of my children I was one of these parents. It was pretty easy breaking one of my children. I thought it would be easy with the other. So I’ll give you both stories and you can be the judge (this one is the easy way). I would be interested in hearing how you broke your child from the elusive pacifier. And for you moms who didn’t give your baby one- you suck!! Just kidding! Kudos to you! But seriously I think there is almost nothing more adorable than a baby with a binky.

Okay with my older. He was about 18 months. I knew he didn’t need the pacifier, he wasn’t really that interested except when he saw it. It was to the point where he was helping me with everything. I got him to help me pick up and throw things away. I started seeing all kinds of things in the trash. Things that didn’t need to be thrown away. So it was to the point where I had to check the trash to make sure there was nothing good before I pitched it.

Then I had an idea. Gavin picked up a binky off of the floor and stuck it in his mouth and I was like “ooh yucky that was on the floor, it’s dirty, throw it away.”

He ended up throwing away all this pacifiers. When it came to the last one he threw away and it was bed time- he asked for it I reminded him it was dirty and gross and he had to throw it away. I told him we didn’t have anymore, maybe we could look tomorrow and he went to sleep. I gave him his stuffed kitty (that I later fried in the drier) He never asked for it again.

Breaking The Bottle

If it’s one thing I really can’t stand it’s seeing a 4 year old with a ba ba. I mean seriously are there that many medical reasons a 4 year old would have a bottle? Sippy cups are your friend. I suppose I shouldn’t judge, but I had both of my children broken from the bottle before they were a year old. I must say I did much better at that than the pacifier.

Here was my trick. I introduced the cup early. As soon as baby was able to hold the bottle on their own I began to put formula in the sippy. I made it with out the non spill thing at first so the baby could get the formula out (and baby made a huge mess, so be sure to have spit rags nearby to clean up). You have to find what works for you though, because sometimes baby doesn’t like it to come out so fast. Once the baby knew what was in there I put the non-spill thing in it. I alternated for a while with one cup a day for a while, to two, three, and by time baby was a year old we had no more bottles.

Also, my grandma let the babies drink from a regular cup. They did okay, but it was very messy, too. What am I talking about? All babies are messy when eating!! They liked it. Maybe that helped with the sippy cup, too?

I did that with both and it worked like a charm. It was getting started was the tricky part, but once we got used to it, it was so much easier. People complimented my “grown up” babies.

Stomach Virus

Being a mother of two I don’t have time to be sick, nor do I have time to have the other child get sick if I can help it. As soon as the elusive “my tummy hurts” or phone call from school comes in I get my mind prepared and forget about the rest of the stuff I have to do- because face it as a parent you can forget about getting anything done if your child has a stomach bug.

First thing I do is have the bucket handy. I always line it with 2 or 3 Wal-mart or Meijer plastic bags. This way if the child (like mine) doesn’t make it to the toilet you can count on them at least making it into a bucket. Double bagging will prevent the dripping of vomit when transferring to the big can/dumpster. I always make sure I have lots of extra bags ready to line the trash can. Changing often prevents the smell and germs from spreading.

If you have a little girl make sure she keeps her hair tied back!!

Keep paper towels, wipes, or some kind of spit rag handy with your cleaner. They are good for wiping mouths as well as getting splatter “in case.” I prefer paper towels because you can throw them away. If you use cloth towels you MUST put them in the wash ASAP.

Get your bleach bucket or Lysol (but bleach is better if you can take it) and a wash cloth, paper towels, whatever you prefer. Go over EVERY door knob in the house. The toilet knob, fridge door knob, car door, phone, remote, pens, drawers, game controllers, everywhere the child and family touches. Sanitize anything that is frequently touched! Do it often. Remember the Norovirus (the most common stomach virus) is still shed by the sickie up to 2 days after they are feeling well.

I know your child wants to be cuddled. Just no kissing if you can help it, definitely not on the mouth or hands! Make sure their head is pointed AWAY from you (this helps with any surprise pukies) so you don’t have any vomit on you. If they are laying on the family couch, line it with a sheet, towels, or a blanket “just in case” even lining the floor if they are forceful. It is much easier (and less germy) to toss a blanket into the wash than to scrub a carpet.

Also and the most important- wash, wash, wash, wash, your hands!! Every time you handle the child, clean a mess, change a bucket, go to the bathroom, or if the other children play with the sick child they need to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20-30 seconds! If your hands get dry use a lotion.


Well before I start on my tangent on unwanted advice on life (and I'm full of it). I'll tell you a little about myself. Incase you haven't read my other blog, I am a 28 year old mother of 2. I am married to absolutely the most wonderful man I have ever known and I have a 9 year old step son. I work full time, I'm a gamer, writer, and scrapbooker. I also have an addiction to myspace as well as the parenting group I've ran since March of 2003. I'm sure there is more because I never get to bed on time, but that is all I can think of for right now.

What prompted me to do yet another blog? I certaintly don't have enough time!! Well for one thing- I think I'm full of a lot of good things I'd like to share. I enjoy writing and I think what I have to say is actually beneficial (if people read what I write).

I have been married and divorced and remarried. I have had my heart shattered and I didn't think I could heal, but I did. Relationships and marriage IS hard work. When I was going through my difficult time a lot of people were there for me and helped me out, but it was in the dark cold nights that was the hardest. When I needed advice, but didn't have any.

I have been through a lot with my children and I think I'm a "seasoned" mom. This past year I think I have known close to a dozen friends and acquaintences that have had or are expecting babies. It funny how all these people go to each other for support and questions, but no one has asked me anything. Am I really that far out of the loop? Maybe I'm jealous. So I thought I'd post my own unsolicited advice. I know it's been years (literally) since I have had babies, but there are some things that never change.