SOCIAL MEDIA

Feb 14, 2018

Smart Ways to Save for Baby

After the initial joy and elation wore off from seeing my first positive pregnancy test, reality started to sink in and I started hyperventilating about everything I needed to buy in order to prepare for baby. I will always be an accountant at heart and it is rare for me to not constantly crunch numbers in my head for everything I do. But preparing for a baby? It was almost too much to handle! I have learned a lot in my first 2 years as a mother though, and in an attempt to pass on some of that wisdom I am sharing a few of my Smart Ways to Save for Baby (that you may or may not be aware of yet).
Have you ever heard of Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade Groups?

Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade Groups are awesome for finding gently used baby products for CHEAP. I live in a large metropolitan area so there are many groups specific to surrounding suburbs and neighborhoods. I have joined several based on the distance I am willing to travel for pickup. Try typing "Your Neighborhood Parent Swap," "Your Neighborhood Online Rummage Sale," "Your Neighborhood Buy / Sell / Trade," or even "Your Neighborhood Garage Sale" into the search bar on Facebook. Chances are, something will pop up! Some of these may be baby specific but I have found a lot of good baby stuff in the general sale sites too. I used to be weird about buying things secondhand, but I'm a true convert now and love finding a good deal. Don't forget, you can use these sites to sell your stuff too (because there will be something you buy or are gifted that baby absolutely hates).

Register. Everywhere.

You don't have to tell anyone that you are registered at 10 stores. You don't even have to finish building your registry everywhere. I found that most stores (even Amazon) offer gift bags upon opening your registry. These gift bags usually include things like: a bottle, a pacifier, wipes, coupons, soaps and lotions, swaddle blankets, bibs, and other baby products. It is a great way to test multiple different bottles and pacifiers to see what baby likes before committing to purchasing a whole set. Babies can be picky and you don't want to be stuck with 20 bottles that he/she won't drink from. Trust me, I made that mistake (and I think it is a pretty common mistake to make)!

Take advantage of Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts if they are offered through your work.

These are pre-tax benefits that you can use to pay for healthcare expenses (things like: office copays, hospital bills, pharmacy expenses) and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts can be used for child care, preschool, even summer camps. Max both of these out. You will use them.

Don't overstock one brand or one size of diapers before baby arrives.

I had no idea that diapers could be so polarizing. I found out quickly that I had a clear preference for a diaper brand and it wasn't what I expected based on recommendations I received from friends. You also never know if a certain brand will irritate baby's skin. So it is best to test a few different kinds before fully committing to one.

If you have the patience for cloth diapers, you can save even more money by going that route. It can be a fairly big investment initially, but eventually the $30 per month you are saving by not using disposables adds up (and if rumors are true, cloth diapers can help make potty training easier)!

Breastfeed. If you are able to.

I am definitely not here to shame anyone into breastfeeding. But on strictly a financial basis, breastfeeding can save you about $120 a month in formula expense. Some of that is offset by the additional calories mom has to consume, but net/net you'll come out ahead! Check with your insurance too. Under the ACA breast-pumps are provided to new mothers free of charge. That's another $300-$400 savings!

Don't stock up on nursing tops just yet either. Breastfeeding won't work out for everyone. Wait to see how it is working for you and baby before you go shopping for expensive nursing bras and tops (or at least keep the tags on). I ended up wearing my normal tops anyway. You just find a way to make it work!

Join Amazon Prime and take advantage of Subscribe & Save.

Amazon Prime members can save 20% on diapers through the Subscribe & Save program. It is easy to change your delivery preference and move different brands, sizes, and products in and out of your subscription queue. We subscribe to everything from diaper cream, baby shampoo, wipes, dog food, vitamins, snacks, and even paper towels. If you subscribe to 5 or more items per month you save 15% on everything in your subscription (20% for diapers). It is a great way to save money on your frequent purchases...and to save yourself from needing to run to the store at midnight because you unexpectedly ran out of diapers.

Start paying for child care when you find out you are pregnant.

I should be clear here because I don't mean that you should really start paying for child care before you actually have a child, but if you start setting aside money every week or month based on child care rates in your area, not only will you get used to adjusting your budget before you actually have to, but you will also have a pretty sizable savings account when baby arrives for any unplanned expenses! Start searching for child care now too. It is never too early. It took me over a year to find an infant opening in my area! Thank goodness we had grandparents willing to fill in until we got everything figured out.

What are some ways that you have saved on baby expenses? Please share in the comments below!

XO, Bev
Jan 5, 2018

Cannon Beach

When we were first planning our trip to Portland and Seattle I knew that I wanted to spend some time on the Oregon Coast. I connected with a photographer in the Portland area to take family photos on the beach to make our trip extra special.

We started our day off with brunch at the Wayfarer. I highly recommend snagging a booth by the big windows for a view of Haystack Rock!

Unfortunately the weather was fairly uncooperative the day we were on the coast, but we made the most of it. It is truly breathtaking (and not just because of the wind).
When the wind on the beach became too much to handle, we headed to the cutest coffee shop in town. The coffee was a literal warm welcome.

Our photographer recommended that we stop at a brewery in Astoria on our way to Seattle. We were already planning on driving the longer route along the coast, so it was added to our list! The glass bottom in the restaurant was an awesome way to watch the sea lions (and entertain a toddler).
Have you been to the Oregon Coast? What did you think?

XO, Bev
Jan 1, 2018

2018

Happy New Year!

2018 just started and I am already daydreaming about the places it will take us! It is definitely harder to travel with a toddler (and an added infant this summer) but I never want that to hold us back from exploring new places, near and far. I started making a list of travel goals for 2018. A first, for me, will be traveling without Keith and Conor. I'm looking forward to it...but I'm definitely a little sad too. They are the best travel companions!
Los Angeles
At the end of February I will be traveling with my sister-in-law and her business partners to LA. It will be a quick 4 day trip, but I'm excited to explore Catalina Island solo while they are in an all day conference. I'll be fairly pregnant at this point so I'm hoping for a smooth, comfortable pregnancy like I had last time. Fingers crossed!

Bemidji
The parents of one of my best friends from high school relocated to Bemidji a couple of years ago. We're hoping to make a visit this summer with Conor and our new baby. Bemidji is gorgeous in the summer and I haven't been there since I was a kid!

Milwaukee
Since we couldn't make our trip to Milwaukee work last summer, I'm looking forward to trying again this year. Hopefully we can catch the Twins while they are in town (and maybe take advantage of grandma and grandpa's offer to watch the kids for a short weekend).

Girls Trip
A couple of my friends who live out of state were talking about taking a trip together at some point next fall. We don't know where yet, and frankly, it doesn't matter where! I am really hoping that we actually go through with it because it has been too long since we have spent quality time together and I miss my girls!

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park
If I'm honest, I don't see this one happening in 2018. Sleeping Bear Dunes is about an 11 hour drive from home and that's a lot of driving for a 2.5 year old and an infant (even if we break the drive up into 2 days). I want to keep it on my list though because it looks like a beautiful place to visit.

Where are you traveling this year?

XO, Bev 
Dec 30, 2017

Totdish

Tater Tot Casserole, Tater Tot Hotdish to those in the Midwest, or more simply, my toddler's favorite food that we have lovingly nicknamed, Totdish.
My mother-in-law made this for Conor when she was babysitting one afternoon and he loved it. No really, he LOVED it. A lot of parents will hear me when I say it is HARD to find something that a two year old will actually eat consistently, and not only did he eat this for grandma, but he ate all of the leftovers too. He ate every last bite and...are you sitting down? Every. Last. Vegetable.

Um, recipe please? The icing on the cake, or tots on the casserole, is that the recipe could not be easier to make and we usually always have the ingredients on hand. As my GG would say, "We're having hotdish and you're going to like it!"

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound lean hamburger
Salt and pepper (to taste)
1/2 package frozen tater tots
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 can milk (or milk substitute - water works too)
1 package mixed, frozen vegetables (I add a can of mushrooms, too)
optional: shredded cheddar cheese, ketchup

DIRECTIONS:
  • Preheat oven to 400°F
  • Brown 1 pound of hamburger, season with salt and pepper as desired, drain, and put in the bottom of a casserole dish
  • Cover hamburger with a layer of frozen tater tots (about half a bag)
  • Dump the mixed vegetables on top of the tater tots
  • Mix one can cream of chicken soup with 1/2 can milk (or milk substitute)
  • Evenly pour soup mixture over the top of the tater tots
  • Bake at 400°F for 30-40 minutes
optional: top with shredded cheddar cheese (add with 10 minutes baking time remaining and finish bake with cheese on top to melt), you can also add my tot's favorite right before serving, ketchup!
What is your toddler's favorite meal? I'd love to add more recipes to our routine.
XO, Bev
Dec 21, 2017

Santa

We were so excited to bring Conor to see Santa this year. Lucky for us, a local photographer was offering mini sessions with Santa. I love this approach because you get a little bit of extra time to "warm up." I think she really nailed it with these. Would you agree? Oh yeah, and Santa helped us make a little announcement, too!
Do you bring your kids to meet Santa?

XO, Bev


Dec 10, 2017

Placemat Photos for Toddlers

When Conor was born, his Aunt Niki brought the cutest fabric photo album (similar) to the hospital. It was filled with pictures of our family and quickly became Conor's favorite book. One picture in particular really piqued his interest. It is a family picture from mine and Keith's wedding day with all of Conor's grandparents, his aunt, and his uncles. He loves when we tell him stories about all of the people in the photo.

I recently received an email from Shutterfly with a code for a free placemat and I knew exactly what I wanted to use it for. Turning this family photo into a placemat was the perfect gift for my [almost] 2 year old. It is practically indestructible (and fully wipe-able). He carries it all over the house and squeals when we ask him to point to different people.
I wish I had a great promo code to share with you, but I don't. My best advice is to sign up for Shutterfly's mailing list (or check their promo page here). They are always updating their promotional deals and codes. I can't wait to order a few more placemats with current pictures of our family and our family pets.

Do you know a toddler who would love a placemat like this?

XO, Bev
Oct 24, 2017

Hello?

Is this thing on?

Wow. It has been a while since my last post. It's so weird to be back (although I can't promise that this will be a regular appearance). If things look a little different to you, it's because they are! I was surprised to see that my page had basically exploded since my last update so I had to spend a few hours rebuilding. I guess I'm not ready to give up...yet. Originally I wanted to share some updates from the past 10 months, but instead, I decided to move forward here. If you are really curious about what I have been up to, you can check it out on Instagram. I do plan on posting a Portland and Seattle travel guide at some point. Hopefully it helps you if you are planning a trip there soon. If you aren't, maybe you will!
He's almost 2! Can you believe it?!

Pants: Liverpool | Sweater: Banana Republic | Tee: Gap | Shoes: LifeStride | Scarf: Buckle {similar}
[Conor] Pants: Gap {similar} | Shirt: Carters | Vest: Carters | Shoes: Converse

XO, Bev
Jan 1, 2017

2017

Happy New Year!


In 2016 I made some progress on my 50 Things list. While I quickly realized I wasn't going to complete all 50 things, it has definitely encouraged me to do things I wouldn't have otherwise done (like petting a penguin and traveling to Milwaukee to meet Lauren Conrad at a book signing). I'm having so much fun I'm even coming up with ideas for the next 50!

For the near future, I'm hoping to spend a bit more time on my blog. I love having this creative space, I just have to figure out how to manage it while juggling a full time job and a full time toddler!

Your turn, 2017. Bring it on.

XO, Bev
Dec 30, 2016

Twelve Months

What. A. Year.

It's hard to believe that my baby boy turned one (nine days ago)! We spent a lot of our holiday break with family; celebrating Christmas and Conor, and remembering all of the fun we had this past year. I was worried about Conor having an almost Christmas birthday, but now I think it will be really fun for him as he grows up. During this time of year we are surrounded by family, treats are endless, spirits are high, Keith is on winter break, and there are so many fun activities and celebrations to attend. It's a great way to end the year (and celebrate a new one)! I think it is perfect for a birthday.




  • Conor is 20 pounds, 5 ounces and 33 inches tall. He's off the charts for height and around 36% for weight (but now that he is finally eating some real solid foods, he is sure to bulk up)!
  • He loves the snow! We bought a little sled and drag him around the yard while he laughs endlessly and Morgan runs around him in circles.
  • He loves water. Bath time is becoming more and more active and vibrant. He loves to splash, giggles when we splash back, and heads straight towards any water he sees (toilet, dog bowl, water bottle...)
  • Unfortunately he has another ear infection (in both ears). The amount of snot that has been coming out of his nose is enormous, he has a cough, and a red throat. He has been great through it all though and we are hopeful that this round of antibiotics will provide some relief.
  • He is crawling everywhere, pulling up on furniture, walking with his walker, and bonking his head into everything (do they make helmets for this stage)?
  • He is wearing size 4 diapers, size 12-18 month clothes, and size 4 shoes.
XO, Bev
Nov 29, 2016

Eleven Months

My sweet little boy is eleven months old! We are keeping busy around here between Keith's 30th birthday, Thanksgiving, Conor's 1st birthday, and Christmas celebrations.

  • Conor started crawling just after his 10 month landmark. It has been very exciting for us to watch him discover everything around him.
  • He babbles all of the time. He says "dada" the most but has also been saying "I did it" and "eeeee" and loves when we say "you you you you you" to him. 
  • He is just over 20 pounds (20 pounds, 3 ounces).
  • He has 7 teeth! 4 on top, 3 on the bottom and we have started brushing them every night.
  • He was baptized last month.
  • He is wearing size 4 diapers, size 4 shoes, and 12-18 month clothing.
XO, Bev
Nov 1, 2016

Ten Months

At ten months I can finally say that Conor has been on the outside longer than he was "inside."

  • He had 2 ear infections this month. The first was in his left ear and almost as soon as we finished the antibiotics he was tugging on his right ear and we were back in the pediatrician's office.
  • He is starting to pull himself up to stand and officially started crawling forward about a week after he officially hit the 10 month mark.
  • He is very happy and full of personality.
  • He loves his BeatBo, singing piggy bank, and dinosaur ball bouncer.
  • He LOVES monkeys. For some reason he giggles every time he sees one!
  • He interacts with Morgan more now. He reaches for her tail and tries to play tug with her toys.
  • He is wearing size 4 diapers, size 4 shoes, and 9-12 and 12 month clothing.
XO, Bev

Oct 1, 2016

Nine Months

It's officially October so it's safe to say I'm later than usual on this update. The picture is pretty poor quality, too. It was a really dreary week so we did the best we could. Conor is still so darn cute though.

  • Conor finally has some teeth! Surprisingly his top two teeth poked through first. The bottom two weren't far behind (and he is working on two more on the top)! Pretty big change from last month.
  • At Conor's nine month appointment he weighed 19 pounds, 14 ounces and was 30.5 inches long. He's still 99% for height!
  • He's not crawling yet but moves backwards instead.
  • He says "dada" all the time (and other consonant/vowel sounds).
  • He is so happy, lovey, and giggly all the time.
  • We started ECFE with Conor and it has been great so far! He really loves circle time at the end when we all sing together (he especially loves when the teacher pulls out the parachute with bells).
  • He does have his first ear infection now, but I guess technically we are in his tenth month since this update is so late!
  • He is wearing size 4 diapers and 9 and 12 month clothing (and is in between size 3 and 4 shoes). 
XO, Bev
Aug 22, 2016

Eight Months

Yesterday Conor celebrated his 8 month "birthday." We had a great time playing outside with our friends from Amma!

 

  • He is showing signs of his first 2 teeth on the top. I keep hearing that the bottom two always come first, but I don't see anything there yet although I am sure they are on their way.
  • He sits so well and plays with anything we put in front of him. He doesn't seem interested in crawling though.
  • He loves teething wafers. I love watching him feed himself and Morgan loves to help with cleanup.
  • He wears size 4 diapers and size 6-12 or 9 month clothing. 
XO, Bev
Jul 24, 2016

Every Day

If you see me at any point over the next month or so, there's a 90% chance I'll be wearing head-to-toe Evereve. Everything in store and online is 15% off so I went a little crazy. Today is the last day so you'll have to hurry if you want to stock up too! It's a pretty big deal since they carry a ton of designer denim that rarely ever goes on sale. I finally pulled the trigger on these skinny jeans.


What's in your shopping bag?

Jacket: Willow + Clay | Pants: KUT from the Kloth | Tee: Peyton Jensen | Shoes: Converse

XO, Bev
Jul 21, 2016

Seven Months

It is getting increasingly difficult to take these monthly posed photos. Conor never stops moving! Or drooling. There is so much drool...

  • Conor started sitting on his own.
  • He went camping for the first time.
  • He is starting to actually like some solid foods (emphasis on starting to).
  • He is sleeping much better at night (after we took away middle of the night feedings per our pediatrician).
  • He pulls hair (and loves it).
  • He loves holding onto his feet and putting them into his mouth.
  • He loves being outside. When we can't seem to settle him down inside, we take him outside.
  • He stands really well. We often prop him on the coffee table and he will just stand there and play with his toys on the table for 15-20 minutes.
  • He doesn't have any teeth and still doesn't have much hair.
  • He is wearing size 4 diapers and 9 month clothing.
XO, Bev
Jul 9, 2016

Camo Convert

I don't think I have ever worn camo before, and if you would have asked me a few years ago I would have sworn that I never would. Fast forward to last week when my stylist from Evereve sent me these pants and I instantly became a camo convert. It definitely helps that the camo print is subtle (and blue) and that the pants fit like a complete dream. If you are crushing on these as much as I am, I recommend you order them soon. I know they are selling out in stores! Tip: Size down. They run big!





Yea or nay to camo print?

Jacket: KUT from the Kloth {similar}{similar} | Pants: Sanctuary | Tank: Peyton Jensen | Necklace: Evereve | Sunglasses: zeroUV | Shoes: Converse

XO, Bev
Jun 27, 2016

Trapeze

I usually prefer pants to dresses but I couldn't pass up this easy trapeze dress. I have been wearing it ALL SUMMER. I really like the cut and of course, stripes. We have been spending a lot of time at grandma and grandpa's pool (as evidenced by my Instagram) and I love having a cute dress I can throw on over my suit. Today I paired it with a lightweight jacket and my favorite sandals for a busy afternoon running errands. Tomorrow I will probably pair it with this jacket and these sneakers. I think I may even throw a sweatshirt on over it when I'm lounging around the house later today. It is so versatile I could wear it every day and never repeat the same combination.




What is your go-to item this summer?

Jacket: Willow + Clay | Dress: Peyton Jensen | Sandals: Dolce Vita | Necklace: Evereve | Bag: Etsy | Sunglasses: YHF Los Angeles

XO, Bev
Jun 21, 2016

Six Months

I wish I did a better job at keeping track of all of the little details. When it comes time to post a new month, I find myself at a loss for words!

 

Happy 6 months of life, Lil Bub.
  • Conor finally found his feet! He loves grabbing his toes and rolling around while holding onto them. He also loves putting his toes in his mouth!
  • He has started to blow air (raspberries).
  • He went sailing for the first time.
  • He LOVES swimming.
  • He is wearing size 3 diapers and 6-9, 9, and 6-12 month clothing.  
XO, Bev
May 28, 2016

Currently Reading

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, everyone! Memorial Weekend? It sounds kind of weird to call it "Day Weekend" but I guess that's what it is.

May 22, 2016

Flyaway

This year I spent Mother's Day in Chicago with Keith and Conor. We started the day with donuts from Do-Rite and then headed to the Twins vs. Sox baseball game. On our way to the game, I received a notification that I was one of 5 winners of Evereve's Mother's Day Instagram Contest (and a $1,000 gift-card)! On top of that, my boys got me a Meyer lemon tree that I appropriately named Liz Lemon Tree.

I first fell in love with Evereve when I went in to pick up a gift-card for my sister-in-law's birthday present. I accidentally spent 30 minutes chatting with the girls working there and looking through the racks (while Keith and Conor circled the block waiting for me).

My love affair quickly grew when I signed up for Trendsend (Evereve's subscription stylist service). After filling out a quick style profile online, my first box was on its way. It has been really hard shopping for myself since having Conor in late December and I am extremely grateful for my stylist (Conner)! Is it fate? I didn't think I would love these pants so much but I can't stop wearing them. And the "flyaway" detail on the back of this blouse?! She gets me.




I really want to point out that another reason I love Evereve so much is because they support moms. Not just moms like me, but they also have a micro-loan sponsorship program to empower mothers in developing countries to start their own businesses. I honestly don't think I could love a company more.

This post is in no way sponsored by Evereve. I paid full price for all items (prior to winning the gift-card).

Where are you shopping lately?

Jacket: KUT from the Kloth | Top: Allison Joy | Pants: Sanctuary | Flats: LC Lauren Conrad | Sunglasses: zeroUV | Necklace: Tess + Tricia

XO, Bev
May 21, 2016

Five Months

It's easy to say that life is an adventure when everything you do is the "first time" you have done it. That being said, Conor had a very adventurous month!








  • Conor took his first trip on a plane this month!
  • He rode his first bus. 
  • He went to his first baseball game (in Chicago)!
  • He started swimming lessons at Aqua Tots in Eagan.
  • He tried out the swing-set at the park near our house.
  • Dad graduated!
  • Conor had a bit of sleep regression. He has been sleeping through the night since he was about 6 weeks old, but last week he was waking up every 1-2 hours.
  • He is now sleeping in his crib in his own room! It was a big step for him (and for me).
  • He tried solid foods for the first time 3 days ago! We started with Homemade Oatmeal Cereal.
XO, Bev
Apr 21, 2016

Four Months

A little over a year ago I found out that I was pregnant. Now, I have a 4 month old! I'm trying not to let time slip by too fast but summer is quickly approaching and we have so much to look forward to (especially our trip to Chicago in a couple of weeks)!





Life with a 4 month old is a lot of fun. He is reactive to his surroundings and isn't so fragile anymore. Playtime is definitely more interactive these days!
  • Conor has been rolling from his tummy to his back for about 2 weeks now and he is getting really comfortable rolling onto his sides from his back (maybe too comfortable since it is getting hard to change his diaper when he is rolling so much)!
  • He loves jumping in his doorway jumper and still loves singing and dancing. He uses his voice so much and is gaining more control of his arms and legs.
  • He drools SO MUCH...and loves chomping on his hands.
  • He went on 2 mini vacations this month! The first one was a weekend trip to Milwaukee (first trip out of state). He did well in the car with me sitting in the back with him. We did have one "blowout" on the way there and it was pretty funny running with him into the gas station, covered in poo. When I finally had him all cleaned up, he peed on the changing table. We both laughed. Our second trip was last weekend to Izatys. We had great weather and spent a lot of time outside by the lake. He slept the entire way home so I guess we must have worn him out.
  • Conor is wearing size 3 diapers and 6 month clothing.
XO, Bev