Roommates: Yes or No?!

 

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So this weekend we (well actually I) decided that we should put our two girls in the same room. My older is 4 3/4 years old and younger is 3 1/2 years old. Up until now they had their own rooms and were fine with it. But with Baby #3 on the way, I just thought it might be easier if we put them in the same room so that we can reserve our 4th bedroom for when our parents come over to help! So the first night they chatted away and eventually fell asleep. The second night the little one woke up to use the potty and then the older one woke up and couldn’t fall back to sleep. Needless to say that mommy was up all night with her and her constant requests until she passed out when it was time to wake up for school! Then last night, both slept through the night perfectly! So my question is, was this a good idea?!?!?! I remember when I was growing up, my sisters and I shared a room until I want to say middle school and I think that is part of why we are so close today. So that is my intention with my girls… if they spend more time together, then their bond will grow stronger. Is this a safe assumption?! I have 4 weeks left to figure out what to do with this situation before I have to dive into the world of 3 kids!!!! And then what if this one is a girl too?!?!?! What will I do then? Do I pull a “Full House” DJ, Stephanie, Michelle set up?! Oh the dilemmas!

Splurge vs Save: Baby Edition

Splurge vs Save

So clearly when it comes to kids, especially our first, we tend to think we need every new gadget, device, product, etc on the market!!! Well, after some experience, and A LOT of purging, I have realized what kinds of things are worth “splurging” on and what is worth “saving” on. Here is my list:

SPLURGE:

- Car seat – Safety first. This is definitely worth investing in. But, don’t be shy to ask your friends with slightly older kids if they have one you can use – as these can be quite expensive.

- Convertible Crib & Mattress – I think a good crib set is worth the investment, especially if it is the convertible kind that you can use in your child’s toddler years. Again, if you plan for multiple kids, you may be able to transition the older one into a bed and then reuse the crib with the baby!

- Crib sheets – You will use these for a long time (I am going on 4 years and counting). Knowing that your baby’s skin is always on the fabric, I think its worth getting quality, soft, cotton crib sheets that will be around for the long haul.

- Towels – Again, these will be used for a long time in my opinion. I originally had bought some cheaper towels from Babies R Us, but they ended up fraying and were not as good after a few washes. I then bought the Trend Lab towels which I really liked and then more recently the Ikea Kids Towels which I really like and now use for their swim class too! I have also been gifted the Pottery Barn Kids towels which are really nice and hold up as well (also a great gift idea).

- Bottles – This one is tricky because sometimes you end up trialing a bunch of brands before you find one you like, or you may be one of the lucky few who is good to go with your first pick. Since you will likely use these for some time, and maybe even with your future children (minus new nipples for the bottles), it is worth investing in a good set of bottles. HOWEVER, sometimes, you are able to find all the brands at discount stores like TJMaxx and Marshalls. Always check those stores too for a bargain, especially if you are in your trialing stage.

-Baby Monitor – You will likely be obsessive in the beginning with wanting to make sure your baby is breathing, or if he or she is sleeping, awake, what facial expression is happening, etc. Believe me, we have all been there (at least with the first :P). Well, this camera/system is likely to keep you sane those first few months/years (we still use ours and our eldest is almost 4 years old). I think this one is worth the splurge.

- Maternity clothes – Again, I shopped sales for this one, but if you plan to have more than one child, I definitely think getting things that you feel beautiful in and will hold up are worth it. It is hard enough being preggo and getting dressed, might as well invest in a few pieces that make you feel awesome! And you don’t always have to shop the maternity section, you can get away with larger sizes in the beginning! So go for it, afterall, you are working hard growing a little person!!!


SAVE:

- Dresser/Changing Table – I have realized that you do not need a $700 dresser, when the Ikea Malm dresser works PERFECTLY! I had originally bought a dresser that looked beautiful, but the small drawers ended up being super impractical. Reality check – things will not be as perfectly laid out in the drawers as the day you set them up BEFORE bringing baby home :).

- Toys – Gosh, you move through these things sooooo fast, and HONESTLY, kids are just fine playing with your tupperware (you can get these at the dollar store!). I had been gifted SO MANY TOYS when my girls were young to realize that they really didn’t care or appreciate all of them. You are better off getting a few simple things to learn letters, colors, shapes and then use what you already have for them to learn to make noise and stack and sort. Also, hand-me-downs RULE! Start a friend rotation with similarly aged kids so that every 3 months its like your kid has new toys, except you didn’t have to buy them!!!

- Clothes – Again, invest in comfort over looks. You may need 3 party outfits for a whole year because they grow out of their clothes at lightening speed. I usually buy clothes on sale, and at the end of a season since stores tend to come out with the season lines way earlier. And ALWAYS wait for sales and sign up for the emails because you will constantly get coupons which will help you save tons in this department. Kids use clothes for a max of 2-3 months at a time, and some skip sizes all together. Also lets face it, everything will get puked on, peed/pooped on, or spilled on. No need to waste too much of your hard earned dough on fancy fabrics for babies! This may change as they become potty trained, feed themselves without needing bibs and can hold down their meals, but until then, SAVE!

Crib Accessories – Bumpers, skirts, mobiles, toys, and the list goes on. Save your money. None of these things are recommended to place inside of a baby’s crib! All you need is a crib sheet, and if you must, a Breathable Bumper. That’s it! I agree that it makes the crib and room look nice, but honestly you will just end up stashing it away and wasting your money!

There you have it, a beginners list of where to splurge and save on your baby products wish list! For a list of essentials for first time registries, check out this list I put together for you!

Baby Changing Table / Dresser

dresserOriginally when my sister and I bought our baby furniture, we wanted perfectly matched pieces to the cribs we had chosen. Little do you realize that most of these baby changing table are not ideal! One thing I realized was that I like to make sure everything is on the same level – meaning the changing pad and my favorite diaper caddy with all the essentials, plus any change of clothes/socks/shoes/accessories etc.. So after getting dressers that had very small drawers and small top surfaces, my sister and I both switched to the IKEA Malm 6 drawer dresser. It is awesome – 1. its inexpensive 2. its easy to put together 3. it comes in all the colors you would need to match whatever crib you buy 4. the drawers are really spacious and there are 6 of them 5. there are a LOT of them 6. IKEA also sells these organization boxes that fit PERFECTLY inside to help keep all those little baby things organized. We both absolutely love it and would highly recommend it! And now with my toddler, I just removed the changing pad and keep the caddy up there with accessories and lotion and I placed some books and book ends where the pad used to be. It was an easy transition into letting her get herself dressed!

TIP: Place an non-skid shelf lining (available at the dollar store) under the changing pad and caddy to prevent then from sliding around AND make sure you nail in the changing pad to the back of the dresser!

New Use for Dry Erase Markers

dryeraseEver feel like you are labeling your life away, especially in your pantry or fridge? A new trick I started using is labeling containers and jars with dry erase markers! This way I can color code the girls meals, I can put dates on containers I am stuffing in the freezer, I can label what flour is in a certain jar, etc etc! And when I am done with that container, I simply wash the label right off without any additional waste. If I need the label for a little bit longer (flour jars), I simply put a piece of clear tape over it, and voi la – a semi permanent way to label!

TIP – Make sure the outside of the container is DRY before writing on it, or else the marker may not work.

Save Time by Menu Planning

menu2One day after returning home early from work, I spent almost 45 minutes trying to think of what I was going to make for dinner that night, and then spent more time making it. That is when I realized that I needed a better system. So naturally I went online and started to do some research. What do you know,   I am not alone. One idea I came across was the concept of menu planning. So, I gave it a shot and let me tell you, I have saved HOURS… Here is my method:

I used a WallPops dry erase board and with permanent marker divided it up into a grid that reads the days of the week (including weekends) across the top and then breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner down the side. Then using one dry/erase color per meal (red= breakfast, green = lunch, etc) I fill it in. Every Sunday morning I look at the menu and change things that I think will add some variety for that week. It helps me ensure that I am giving enough nutrition and variety to the girls and it cuts down the time on my Sunday night grocery run because I have a targeted shopping list for the week. Less food goes to waste and I am out of the store in half the time! I also try to make a little extra on the weekends and freeze a portion for that crazy night when things don’t go as planned!

There are templates for Microsoft Word and even media apps that you can download that make this task a breeze!

Have you tried a method that helps save you time when it comes to menu planning?