Tag Archives: Mommy Moment

Important Baby Gear Every Fresh Mom Can’t Do Without

Every new mom is keen to find the best possible products that will help her baby to get a comfortable and enjoyable start to life.

There are some terrific products for new mothers that you won’t want to be without in these exciting but busy days.

Feeding Bottles and Accessories

One of the first purchases that many new parents make is that of some feeding bottles. It is important to get high quality bottles that will last for a long time and will allow the baby to drink their milk easily and comfortably.

There are also a number of other useful accessories around that could also come in handy. These include the likes of bottle covers, nipples, and cleaning equipment. All of this should mean that feeding time is easier and less stressful for everyone concerned.

Having the right feeding equipment can also save you some valuable time in the morning, which is a godsend for new moms.

A Stroller Pram

One of the big possible problems that you will want to avoid is that of being stuck at home with the baby all the time. While you will want to spend a lot of quality time together, it is great to be able to get out for a stroll now and then.

Getting a good quality stroller pram can help you to do this. You can find strong but light baby stroller prams online that allow you to head out for a walk whenever you both feel like getting some fresh air.

A Baby Car Seat

While nothing beats getting out with your baby for a relaxing stroll, there may also be times when you are in more of a hurry and need to drive somewhere instead. In this case, you really need a car seat for them.

This needs to be a comfortable and secure place for the little one to travel in while in the car. Be sure to read the safety instructions before you strap them in and head off for the first time.

A High Chair

Different babies get their first taste of sitting in a high chair at varying ages. However, there is nothing to stop from you going out and buying a good high chair as early as you want to.

Once your child gets used to this chair it will be a wonderful experience for them and a big help for you. They will get to sit with the family at the table for the first time and you will be freed up from carrying them around.

Baby Play Mat

A play mat is a wonderful investment, as it is allows the little one to feel independent while playing in a safe environment. This will also mean that the mom can relax and just watch her little treasure play.

These play mats are also important in helping the development of the baby. As well as allowing them to move around on their own, they also introduce the baby to a whole new world of sights, sounds, and textures too.

Finding the perfect baby gear will ensure that your little one gets their life off to a great start. It will also help you to enjoy this phase of your life more and get the maximum amount of pleasure out of watching the little one grow and develop.

*Guest Post: John Miller

Creative Gift Ideas For Crafty Kids

CreativeKidsOne of the greatest things about being a parent is watching your children grow. Not just in size, but as a person, too. Kids develop at such a rapid pace. In short spaces of time they master all sorts of different skills, learn new words and generally amaze you with how much they change.

One of the best way for children to learn new skills is through play. Hands on learning is crucial. You don’t know if you can do something until you try! That’s true for adults and children alike! Children are usually keen to try new things; they haven’t fully learnt the art of procrastination yet! If you make educational activities fun, then your children will pick things up and enjoy learning without it feeling like hard work!

Being creative allows your offspring to express themselves. Kids may start painting a picture without even knowing what it’s going to be. Just the experience of being able to create with no fear is extremely liberating. It’s a brilliant thing to be able to teach your children that there is the potential to make anything, and it can all come from their imagination. Who knows, you might have a budding inventor or fantastic artist on your hands!

Let’s start with the basics. Paper is something kids can go through a lot of. You can never have enough paper! Packs of paper, card, notebooks and sticky pads will give your children something to start their creative ideas with. Pens, pencils and crayons are needed by every child, after all, they need to something to draw on all that paper with! Scissors are essential too, but remember to make sure they are age appropriate. Never leave children unattended with sharp items, and remember that even plastic blades made for toddlers can still cut hair. (And how I found that out is a whole different story!)

CreativeKids1Some parents really don’t like glitter. Why? Because it gets just about everywhere, doesn’t it? And it takes forever to get rid of, no matter how often you hoover. In fact, many craft supplies are messy and in itty bitty pieces. They can be a real pain to clean up. But don’t hamper your kids creativity just because you don’t like the mess. Buy craft supplies like glitter and pom poms and other decorations. Keep them in small plastic boxes to make sure they don’t end up absolutely everywhere.

Everyone should have some basic sewing skills. Schools don’t always teach sewing like they used to back in the day, which is a real shame. It’s surprising even the amount of adults who are unable to do even the most basic of sewing tasks, like fixing a button or darning a small hole. Teaching your child how to do a few stitches is a proper life skill! If your child is a budding fashion designer, then a sewing machine is a great gift. Don’t make the mistake of buying a toy model, it won’t last or result in a decent finish. This Hello Kitty sewing machine is a steal – it’s a smaller version of a quality Janome machine. It’s kind of cute too – any little girl will love it!

Adult coloring books have seen a real explosion in popularity amongst grown ups in the last year or two. They’re still a firm favourite with kids as well! Believe it or not, coloring has whole hosts of positive effects on your health! Coloring not only teaches children about colour and drawing techniques. It’s beneficial to their developing brains! Coloring in can be as relaxing as meditating and can give little ones space in their busy little minds. A growing brain is a busy one! Being able to “switch off” for a while may make your child calmer and less prone to tantrums. That’s a perfect gift for any parent, never mind the child! If you’re buying coloring books as a gift, don’t forget to buy some new pens or pencils two. There’s something really satisfying about starting a new artistic venture with all new stuff to do it with!

Creative Kids 2Learning to cook is something kids can start learning from an early age. Not only is it an essential life skill, but it can also be a real art form too! Encourage their inner chef. Cookie cutters and baking sets are ideal gifts for budding bakers and keen cooks. Of course, you can’t forget an apron either! Keeping clean and tidy in the kitchen is something else you can teach your little chefs! Popcorn machines, cupcake makers, or even mini waffle makers, there are lots of modern gadgets than can help younger ones cook. Even without having to go near a big hot oven. They’re lots of fun, and you can enjoy eating the fruits of your labour afterwards!

If your little guys have green fingers, then there are lots of creative gifts that can get them out in the garden. From making windchimes to casting gnomes, you can decorate your outside with your kids handiwork. Seed sets are fun too. Pair them with a mini gardening kit that has small versions of essential garden gear. Mini trowels and forks are perfect for potting up seeds. Involving children in the processes of growing will teach them invaluable lessons about nature. If your kids aren’t so keen on vegetables, growing them may tempt your fussy eaters to give them a try.

Whatever you choose to buy, you can be sure a gift that encourages creativity is sure to be appreciated. Craft activities, especially those that can be done indoors are brilliant for days when the weather isn’t great! Sometimes it can be hard to amuse kids inside on rainy days, and crafting can keep them busy for hours. Bored kids are not fun!

Have you got any awesome ideas for crafty gifts? What’s your favourite thing to make with your kids? Have you found a hidden skill? Tell us all your tips below in the comments, it’s always brilliant to hear your own experiences!

Handy Financial Tips For Preparing For The Future

FinancialTipsWhen you’re looking to stabilize your finances, it might feel like a choice between spending or saving. To make sure you have the best possible financial future, you have to cut back on any luxuries right? Wrong! Though a lot of people aren’t aware of it, there are many ways you can save for your future, and still enjoy life now. Here are some great tips I’m sure you’ll find useful.

First of all, put some work into understanding your household cash flow. This is perhaps the most useful thing you can do in trying to sort out your finances. Once you have a good understanding of your current spending habits, you’ll find it easier than ever to save money for the future. Start taking detailed records of all your weekly spending. Yes, I’m afraid they do have to be detailed. This is a lot easier than doing a review of a whole month, but will still show you exactly where you’re spending too much. Go over anything you don’t really need, and try to shave off a little here and a little there. When you spread out your savings, you won’t have to sacrifice too many luxuries. Visit Entrepreneur for a more detailed feature on this.

My second tip is to decide on something big, expensive and distant that you want. When you have this larger, overarching goal in mind, it’ll become a lot easier to say “no” to smaller, frivolous expenses. For example, if you’ve had an outdated TV for a long time, you might start feeling like something’s missing. But, if you decide you want to travel the world and visit a massive list of countries, you’ll be saving for this and forgetting about the state of your TV. This is just an example, but it’s good to have some larger goal in mind. This means that when luxuries come up, you’ll remember your larger financial goal, and it’ll be much easier to resist. If life throws you a fast one and things go wrong, your savings will be there for you.

Finally, make sure all the financial elements to your retirement are in order. No matter how far off your retirement is, it will happen eventually. When it does, you need to make sure everything’s in order so that your golden years are smooth and enjoyable. As I mentioned before, life can be unpredictable, so keep your options open. You might be all about saving money now, but in the following years things might change, and you’ll want to accommodate for that. Luckily, there are a lot of pension-orientated services out there like Retirement Line. These firms will help you organize your finances and provide handy, flexible drawdown services. If you want to have a hold on your money now, you’ll certainly want to when you’re not working anymore!

There you have my best financial tips for preparing for the future. I understand that everyone’s situations are different, and certain factors are out of your control. If you look for it though, I’m sure you’ll find something you can do!

Marvelous Money-Saving Ways to Improve Your Home!

MarvelousMoneySaving2Home improvements are something that all of us will get around to at some point. They are a great way of making our homes more attractive to buyers, and making them more pleasant places to live. But, a lot of us find home improvements to be expensive, so we need to come up with ways to reduce the costs. Have a look at some of these money saving suggestions to help get you started.

Get Quotes

There will always be the temptation to take the first offer you get on something. When you need a job done, it’s common for people to try to take the path of least resistance. But, you need to understand that this isn’t always the best approach. Often, you will discover that you can get a much better deal by hunting around for the best prices. Think of it as similar to shopping for car insurance; you need to compare a few quotes before making a decision.

Use the Best People

The best way of saving money on home improvements is to make sure they’re done right the first time. There are so many things you need to consider getting sorted. And, if you try to find the cheapest possible experts you risk them doing an unsatisfactory job. Then you’ll have to pay to get everything redone again. But, if you can use, say, a trustworthy foundation repair company you know the job will be done properly. It may cost you more upfront, but you won’t have to pay to sort the problem out every few years.

MarvelousMoneySaving1Do a Lot Yourself

Whenever you’re planning on making changes to the home, you might consider bringing people in. Outsourcing projects is the simplest and most effective way of getting them done. But, it is going to cost you quite a bit of money to do this. If you want to save money and improve your home at the same time, you should do things yourself. By taking on most of the projects on your own you’re going to save yourself valuable pennies. Sure, there will be a few things you may not have the ability to do yourself, and will need to leave to others. But you should try to do as much as you can.

Upcycle

What better way to save money than to make use of what is already around? This is where upcycling comes into play. The basic idea is not to waste materials and products that you have already at your disposal. If you need something, you should try to create it from other things you no longer need. This is the essence of how upcycling works, and it’s becoming more popular. It’s a wonderful way of making improvements in and around the home without having to spend money doing so.

It’s always good to make changes to your home and try to improve your quality of life. You probably have loads of ideas in mind for things you’d like to do in and around the home. But, we don’t always have the time or the money to get all these things done. That’s why it’s important to look at money-saving tips that will help to make these improvements. Anywhere we can make savings is going to help us improve our homes in a cost-effective manner.

 

Decorate Your Big Event On A Budget

EventBudget When you’re trying to stick to a household budget happy occasions like birthdays can suddenly fill you with dread. The cost of presents, parties and catering can hit you hard when you’re trying to live frugally. If you save ahead for such events, then you may have a budget in mind for the celebration. Even if you haven’t got a pot set aside, you can throw a party without breaking the bank.

Start by figuring out what you can afford. It isn’t always a good idea to accrue debt for a one-off event, so try to leave the credit cards in your wallet. Next you can decide if you can afford to hire a planner and rent a venue. If this is beyond your reach, don’t panic. You can save a lot of money by hosting the party at home, and manage all the party planning yourself.

Choose your guest list wisely. Fewer people mean it will cost less. However, remember this is a party. You’re celebrating, so it’s important to make it good. Buffets cost less than sit-down meals when it comes to catering. And buying in bulk works out cheaper per head. Look for multipacks and the big value bags when it comes to the food. You could also use the opportunity to use up those things lurking at the back of the cupboard that you wish you’d never bought! If they’re in date, see what you can make.

Now the food is covered, it’s time to think drinks. Punch is a popular drink that you can make really cheaply. You don’t need to put much alcohol in it at all. And if you’re catering for a kids’ party, you can use different squashes and cordials to make up an interesting soft punch. Make the ice-cubes in your home freezer, and add a few pieces of fruit to create a beautifully presented drink.

Decor at the party can be quite easy too. Disposable or single-use items can be bought quite cheaply. But if you’re going to be hosting a few parties this year, why not buy some items that can be re-used? Lights make the biggest impact at a party, so invest in some colorful strip lighting to highlight your party area. You can place it under coving, along the floor, or even under the furniture to great effect. Best of all, you can use it again, anywhere you like.

Balloons can be purchased almost anywhere. They just require a bit of lung power and some sticky tape to fasten them to the ceiling or the walls. You can pay for printed balloons, but it is sometimes more fun for the kids to decorate them. They can use markers, or stick paper pictures to their balloons to create a theme. Having happy helpers at the party also takes the pressure off you as the host.

It’s possible to have a really great party on a budget. It can look good, provide the perfect party atmosphere, and be great fun to put together. Try a budget party for your next big celebration.

How To Create A Fun Toddler Bedroom On A Budget

ToddlerRoomBudget3One minute you are pregnant and getting the nursery ready for the impending arrival. The next minute a toddler is here requiring a room upgrade. Time goes so fast. But because of this, it means that things can get a little expensive. With this in mind, I thought it would be a great idea to share with you some tips on how to create a great toddler room. But on a budget.

Work out what you can salvage.

Furniture can get expensive. Especially if you have to buy a fair few pieces. So it’s worth looking into the bedroom and see what can be re-used. Does the wardrobe still function correctly? Could you turn the changing area into storage and display?

Once you have established what can be salvaged, then this is where you can have a little fun. Get some paint and change their colour. Or add a few different details to them.

Shop around.

Once you have established what can be saved, you will have a good idea of what furniture you will need to buy. This is where it’s a good idea to spend some time online and look at different prices to find the best deal. If your little boy or girl is progressing up from a cot, then you may have to consider purchasing toddler beds. With bed’s these days, there are so many to choose from that you can have some real fun with it.

Having saved a few pieces of furniture, this is where you can invest some of your budget into pieces that will last a few more room changes.

Wall decoration.

You may have decorated the nursery in a baby pink or blue. But now they are a toddler you feel the time is right for a different colour. Painting and wall decoration doesn’t have to be pricey. There are a few different options you can do:

  • Stick to a block colour on a feature wall.
  • Paint all the walls white and add artwork you have created.
  • Use prints, photo frames and bookshelves to decorate the walls.
  • Create bunting across the walls to bring plain walls to life.
  • Use your children’s artwork to create a more personalised look.

There are many different options to choose from. But the children will love getting involved. If you are looking for something a little different why not look into a feature wall that has been wall papered. You can now buy wallpaper that gives your child something to draw on. It can look effective and saves any other walls getting drawn on.

Flooring.

If you need to replace the flooring, then a good idea would be to shop around and see what offers are out there. However, if you are unsure about your carpets then instead of ripping them up and replacing them, you could hire in a floor cleaner. A hired in carpet cleaner can be a fraction of the price of a brand new flooring. But it could bring your carpet back to life. Giving you another few years of use before you need to replace it.

By re-using and getting a little creative, a room makeover doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Understanding Your Kids’ Video Games

Photo Credit: JohnnyMrNinjaVideo games are widely misunderstood, and they can seem like a scary prospect to introduce to your child. The media loves to drum up stories about violent links between real-life deaths and video games. The truth is, the vast majority of games are perfectly fine. However, you need to know what they should and shouldn’t be playing. Let’s take a look at some facts about video games to help you in the future.

They’re Beneficial In Many Ways

Video games are great for kids in many ways. There are so many different types, and they’ll learn a lot of skills by playing them. Some games encourage good team-work and puzzle-solving skills. Some will help them to learn about music, physics and even introduce them to team sports. They’re proven to help reflexes, and new devices like the Kinect don’t confine them to the sofa. While there ARE violent games out there (just like movies), there’s a lot of innovative, child-friendly games out there too.

You Don’t Have To Spend A Lot Of Money

While you can drop vast sums on the Xbox One or PlayStation 4, there’s also some great, cheap ways to get your child into gaming. Ebay regularly has cheap deals on older consoles, such as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. There are handheld devices that are normally much cheaper than the home-based ones too. There’s also thousands of free games out there on the internet. Click here for an example of one of these where you don’t have to pay anything to play. There something for everyone out there, and you don’t need to spend a lot of cash for your kids to have fun.

You Do Need To Be Careful, Though

While it sounds obvious, I need to reiterate that should never give your child your payment details. If you have to use them for any reason, make sure those details are removed from the device afterwards. Some games come with in-app purchases. This means your child could use your card to pay for items that will upgrade their character, for example. It’s a technique that’s come on in recent years, and it has proven very successful. Unfortunately, kids don’t always understand the consequences of their actions. You’ll probably have heard some horror-stories in the media about this. Don’t get worried, just make sure they’re not in possession of those details.

Respect The Age Rating

Age ratings come with every boxed video game, just like you’ll find on a DVD. Games like Grand Theft Auto are notoriously violent, so children shouldn’t be playing them. Have a look through your kids’ game collection and see if there’s anything with an inappropriate rating in there. This isn’t always in your control, especially if your child goes to a sleepover at their friend’s house. If you’re concerned about any violent games that have caused a change in your child’s behaviour, seek advice.

If you don’t understand video games, don’t judge them too harshly. They’re a great tool of enjoyment and learning when used in the correct way.

8 Household Items That It Might Be Time To Replace

HouseholdItemsReplace1Running a household is a busy and demanding job. The to-do lists just never seem to go down, do they? Knowing how to prioritize replacements can be tough, so here is a guide to 8 common household items and how to find out if they’re passed their best.

Your pillows

Even if you wash them as often as you should, pillows are used so regularly they can quickly get worn down. You should replace them every two years. A good indication of when a pillow is passed its lifespan is if when you fold it stays that way. This guide will tell you more.

Your smoke alarms

We all know how crucial it is to replace smoke alarm batteries. But did you know that the whole detector unit needs replacing every decade? Keeping your family safe is one of the biggest benefits of home maintenance, so don’t skip this task.

Your blankets

Old tatty blankets aren’t enjoyable to use for anyone! Want to know when to replace? Look out for stains that won’t come out, bad smells and pulling threads. Blankets are incredibly affordable, so there really is no excuse not to replace them whenever they start to get old. Go for with vellux blankets for a longer-wearing, high-quality replacement.

HouseholdItemsReplace2Your washing machines

This goes for dishwashers and clothes washing machines. Dishwashers should be replaced every decade, like smoke alarm units. Washing machines may have a little more longevity to them. For some units, you might get 15 years use out of them. Do bear in mind, though, that replacing sooner could save you money in the long run. This is because energy efficient units are becoming more common and affordable.

Your sponges

On the topic of washing, there could be something far more inconspicuous in the kitchen that needs replacing. Your washing up sponges. Some reports claim that they are the primary source of bacteria in your whole home. You should replace it as often as possible. However, you get can get a little more use of ones that contain no metal by blasting them in the microwave.

Your water filter

If you use a water filter, check the instruction manual (if you can find it!) Most water filters need replacing every six months, if not sooner. If not, your water is not being filtered properly, or at all.

Your medicine

When was the last time you checked the sell-by date on the items in your medicine cabinet? Be sure to throw out and replace anything that has expired.

Your mattress

The rules here vary. Some say five years, other says 10. Some say you can even get away with 12 years. If your mattresses are any older, it’s time to replace them! But what if they’re not. A surefire way to know if your mattress is passed its prime is if it’s lumpy, or making you sneeze. In the meantime, while you save for your new mattress or wait for it to be delivered, flip your current one. This will give it a little more longevity to tide your over.

Essential Home Maintenance Tips

SmokeAlarmAs we juggle our way from season to season and as busy as we are, it is easy to forget that a lot of things we rely on in our homes actually need looking after. The alternative, a bit like a car with no oil in it, is a messy and expensive breakdown. Here are some of the most essential items that should be checked.

Smoke Alarms and Fire Extinguishers

These are upfront because our lives depend on them. If you are guilty of no maintenance then you can put this right now. Test all the alarms to see if they are working. There should be a test button and if it does not work, you need to replace the batteries. Check your fire extinguishers. Again there should be a test button. Remind yourself that you know how to use them.

Range Hood Filters

These can get real yucky. Once every few months, take them out. Power washers are great cleaners. Alternatively spray with a homemade degreaser and rinse off.

HVAC Filters

It is a bit of a scandal that you can be charged for this service. This is another great way to save some pennies. Every few months take out the filters and clean them off. It is also easy to replace with new ones. It will keep your room nice and fresh and your system will be more efficient.

Plumbing check

So many home floods happen as a result of aging or faulty plumbing connections. If you have a WC or washroom in a closed off part of the house give it a check and make sure it is functioning. Check all the pipe connections in the house that you can access for leaks or even signs of damp.

Washing machine connectors take a lot of pressure and these need replacing on a yearly basis. If you have a flood of any description, make sure you take advice from restorationeze.com. Most damage and health problems associated with leaks come from moisture you can’t see behind walls. Hopefully a little maintenance will preempt any bigger problems.

Check chimney, flues and any grille intakes or extractors.

Your chimney should be cleaned once a year. It can be a messy job, so it may pay to get a professional in. Open and clean any extractors and clear any fans.

Photo Credit Pixabay montemariDrains, Roof and guttering.

You’ll need to get up a ladder but this is an essential check. Look for tile damage and anything that needs replacing. Clean and clear guttering and check your down pipes are working and that drains are running clear.

Rodent and insect infestation.

It can be a good idea to try and dissuade these colonies before the warmer weather arrives. Just double check and lay any bait stations you think are appropriate. Make sure your caulking, window and door seals are in good repair. Check and fill any cracks in concrete or masonry.

Garage, Sheds and Basements.

These are all harbours for the detritus of our lives. Make it an annual family chore! Be ruthless and have a good clear out.

Sit back, tick list.

You’ve done a great job for another season and saved a bit of money!

Another One On The Way? How To Get That Bigger Home In Time

Photo Credit Digital Images If you’ve just found out you’re expecting another bundle of joy, you may be looking for a new home to fit your bigger family. But when you only have nine months to get ready, it’s difficult to know what to tackle first. And if you already own your current home, you are part of a chain that makes a quick move very difficult. Don’t panic. It can be done, and there are some clever hacks out there to help you make a smarter move.

Start with your own home. If you’re wondering how to sell your house fast in 2016, get it on the market quicker by taking action now. Before your agent comes to take the photos, you need to present your property well. The view from the street of the front of your house is the first photo that potential buyers will see. The exterior must be immaculate. Give the render a coat of fresh paint if it needs it. Clean the windows and tidy up your front planting and lawn.

Make sure the path is clear, and the door is fresh looking and inviting. Once the exterior is tidy, it’s time to focus on the interior. If your house is a family home, present it that way. Families need a good sized, clean kitchen. Surfaces should be clear of clutter. The living room should have comfortable seating and a TV. And the dining area should only have dining furniture in it. Remove all clutter from the home. You could use a temporary storage unit.

Once your home is ready for photos, you can start to search for the property you need. Gauge the prices in your desired area. Once you’ve visited a few to check they are the kind of home your family needs, it’s time to convince the bank to change your mortgage terms. Have all your financial information in good order. Adding references from your employers is also a good idea. Most importantly, you need to demonstrate that you can afford an increase right now.

You’ll also need a property lawyer to help you secure a new property. They also often act as a go-between for your mortgage company when it comes to buying the house. Last but not least, you’ll need to book a removals company to help you pack up the old house and move your belongings to the new one. By the time you’re ready to leave, you may be heavily pregnant so don’t expect to be doing much of the heavy lifting!

Raising extra funds to cover a deposit or the cost of buying a home can be achieved more easily than you think. Sell anything you don’t use. This may be old fashion favorites, domestic appliances that work but aren’t utilized, or even old CDs. Use auction sites, or preloved listings.

It’s going to be a busy time if you want to move quickly. Choosing an empty property that isn’t in a chain should offer a quicker sale completion. Be proactive in your own sale by readying your house and reaching out to the kind of people looking for your type of property. Happy moving.