Saturday, August 29, 2009

Building The Family WITHOUT Busting the Budget

Although it's not the very popular in today's culture, my dream is to have a large family! So far, we've been blessed with two beautiful boys and a third on the way. We've prayerfully decided that the best option for us as a family is for me to stay home with the children, reducing us to one income. This has been quite a challenge for us at times, figuring out how to stretch our modest salary while meeting the needs of a growing family, but I believe that with faith in God and plenty of prayer and wise decision-making it can be done! In many ways I feel my family has been blessed more since I began to stay home, even though we may not have all the latest "stuff". Children are a beautiful inheritence from the Lord, and if we put all our trust in Him, He will surely provide. Still, we need to be wise in building and maintaining a budget. Here are some ideas:

Hit the Yard Sales!

We have saved a significant amount of money on kids' clothes by going to yard sales! Just today I found about seven outfits for Henry and a basketball warm-up outfit, pair of cowboy boots(don't ask!) and pricey ski gloves for Brett! I think we spent about twelve dollars. Another good option is consignment or thrift shops, or you could always try , a great website that features classified adds in your area for amazing deals. I'm currently looking for a good, used playpen, so if anyone has one in the southern Indiana area, let me know!

Avoid the Pink or Blue Trap!

The only blue items Henry has were gifts from other people. If you are planning on having other children it doesn't make much sense to by gender-specific clothing/items! Try neutral colors like cream, green or yellow. We recieved some beautiful baby quilts in a rainbow of all the pastel colors, making them not only beautiful but funcional for subsequent babies. For bedding, we chose a Noah's Ark pattern and solid color sheet sets, although he did end up with some football sheets as a gift. Also, choose solid white onsies/tees and socks--they work well for boy or girl.

Stick to Basics (or why you don't need a changing table)

The variety of baby gear available is overwhelming! Do you really need a wipes warmer? What about that diaper genie? Here's a list of what I've found to be necessary, and ones that are not so essential:

--Swing: Great for soothing a fussy, tired baby. This goes for bouncer, too.

--Sling, or front carrier: Babies love to be snug against their mommies, and you are hands-free

do housework.

--Bibs: Seriously, buy lots of these! Don't waste money with those cute little ones; go ahead

and buy the larger-size feeder bibs. This will help you keep clothing in good condition

for the next time around.

--Portable changing pad: It's a really good idea to have one of these for diaper changes in public

restrooms! Purchase (or make) one covered in vinyl so it can be

easily sanitized for the next time.

--Baby-sized nail clippers: Too easy to cut baby's tiny fingers with adult ones!

--Sturdy, large diaper bag in gender-neutral color

--Car Seat and Stroller

Save your cash on...

--Changing table: I never used mine with Brett and found it to be quite in the way!

--Wipes warmer: A complete waste of twenty dollars! Dried out the wipes. Use warm

washclothes instead.

--Mobile: These are really unnecessary, as baby really just wants to see you.

--Baby washclothes/towels: You can use your own towels and washclothes (although those

hoods on the towel are nice!). Chances are good you will recieve

some as gifts anyways.

--Little Mittens: They are always too big and will fall off; use socks!

--Baby powder(bad for the lungs) or oil(overheats the skin): stick with a mild lotion.

--Tons of toys: blocks, stuffed animals and books are great for both boys and girls, and too

many battery-operated toys don't allow children to play creatively, as well

as drive mom and dad crazy!

As you can see, it IS possible to build your family without busting your budget!

What frugal options do you have for raising kids? I would love to hear from you!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Date Nights!

What better a way to bless your husband (and yourself!) than by planning regular date nights? This is a great opportunity to nurture your #1 human relationship and to communicate without interuption with the man you love! Maybe you've had one of those days at home--you burned the childrens' lunch, broke your favorite piece of tableware and listened to your baby scream at the top of his lungs for 2 hours straight (teething). Think about how blessed and relaxed it will feel to spend a couple of hours away with the man you love so much (and who probably had an equaly taxing day)!
How to Make it a Priority...
Schedule in regular date nights on your calendar, just like you would a doctor's appointment! Right now, my husband and I are having 2 date nights a month, every other Monday. I've already made babysitting arrangements with my parents, and they are thrilled to be spending time with their grandchildren, so they are being blessed too! If you schedule your date nights in, you will have not only no excuses to cancel but also something to look forward to. Be very cautious about what you would cancel your date night for...remember, this is a worthwhile investment in your marriage! Stick to it!
If you are like most wives, including me, you may be tempted to worry about the cost of date night...please, remember it's an INVESTMENT! Relax and enjoy your hubby's company! So what if he wants to order the steak, a glass of wine AND dessert? Plan date night into your budget, and if you spend a bit more than you like, try to go a little more frugal the next time!
Some Ideas...
Date night doesn't have to be fancy or expensive...there are plenty of things to do on a shoestring budget. Here are some ideas:
Candelight Dinner--cook up one of your hubby's favorite meals and enjoy together in the romantic glow of candelight--go all out and use your special china or serve drinks in wineglasses.
Community Attractions--consider all of the free or low-cost attractions and events available in your community. Does your town have a zoo, museum or water park? Is there a seasonal festival or fair? Date night doesn't always have to be at night!
Go on a Picnic--relax and enjoy a healthy meal by a waterfront or in a beautiful park
Any other ideas for date night? Let me know what works for you!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Easy Italian--Shrimp Caprese!

This is one of my family's favorite meals! We probably eat this two or three times a month, partly because it's delicious and partly because it's so quick and easy to prepare! You'll need:

1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp ( being frugal, I cut them in half!)

6-8 Roma tomatoes, chopped

2 Tbsp. Oregano or Savory

5 cloves smashed garlic

1 1/2 c. olive oil

pinch of salt and pepper

1 lb. box of angel hair pasta, cooked according to package directions

1 cup heavy cream

Chop tomatoes and marinate them for at least one hour in the oil, garlic and oregano. Place the shrimp in a colander and drain your hot pasta onto the shrimp--the hot water will instantly turn them nice and pink! Return shrimp and pasta to pasta pot and set aside. Heat the tomato/oil mixture to boiling in a seperate pot--remove from heat and add heavy cream, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper and add tomato mixture to pasta and shrimp. Toss to combine.

I like to serve this with a big green salad and fresh breadsticks. I hope your family enjoys this meal as much as mine does!


Hello, and welcome to my new blog, Happy 2 B A Homekeeper! I pray that this blog will bless you in many ways. I plan on covering such topics as homekeeping, children, marriage, biblical womanhood and much more. I look forward to any suggestions for blog topics that may be of interest to you as readers, so let me know.

I guess this would be the best time to tell you a bit about name is Alexis, and my family consists of my wonderful hubby Henry, my sons Brett, 4 1/2, and Henry, 8 months. We will be blessed with the arrival of another boy in early December. I love the Lord, and have devoted my life to serving His kingdom, starting first at home with my family. I am getting ready to start with ministry outside of the home as I co-chair a new MOPS (mothers of preshoolers) group at out home church. My family and I feel that missions are really important, and this is going to be something we really begin to focus on as a family. I also love to read, and as you may imagine, I don't get alot of reading done with a baby! I also love to cook and travel, even if it's just to the nearest city! I take my job as a homekeeper seriously and consider it a blessing! I can't wait to start talking with other like-minded ladies. Alexis