Post-Baby Valentine's Day

If you're like me you can remember every second of labor but somehow you've forgotten an entire day! Yep, Valentine's Day has snuck up on me yet again. Don't worry you're not the only one who hasn't bought a card, made dinner plans or picked up a little something to say "I love you." I'm right there with you. Thankfully, my new mama friends, there's help on the way in the form of the last-minute Cupid.

Valentine's Day means more to some couples than to others. In our house we recognize the day more or less because it says to on the calendar. Even if we agree not to buy gifts for each other (usually because my birthday just passed), I always at least get a card. In year's past we've gone out to dinner or done something special. Even last year, when I was in the first trimester of pregnancy, and there were few foods that wouldn't cause me to curl over with nausea, we ordered pizza. This year maybe I'll get lucky and we'll make steak on the grill. (We grill year-round because we love it!)
Nothing says "I love you" more than an Omaha Steak.

If you're looking for something a little more lasting there are tons of
last-minute Valentine gifts you can get..even if it is less than 48 hours before Valentines Day. A gift certificate is always a welcome gift, if you have a beer lover in your life sign him up for beer of the month club or check out this site for lots more last minute Valentine gift ideas.

If you still need to make a reservation for dinner there's a great website called
OpenTable.com that searches open tables in most major American cities. All you do is select the part of the city or suburbs, pick the type of cuisine you're looking for, and select the date and time. The website takes all the work out of making a reservation...especially on a popular dining out night like Valentine's Day.

And if you're husband or boyfriend doesn't really appreciate cards, don't waste your money on something that will be trashed within minutes of being opened. Instead send a funny and free
e-valentine. JibJab is also a great site that let's you personalize pre-made dances by letting you upload a picture of your face. You have to check out their Valentine Strip tease..it's worth the look even if you don't send it yourself.

So there you have it, you haven't forgotten Valentine's Day afterall...you were just a little late on the planning. But who will ever know? No one but you!


Guilty Pleasure

That's my guilt and my daughter's pleasure.
It's all brought on by this little thing called the television. Doesn't matter if it's Baby Einstein or the NFL the tube can somehow magically lull her into a baby trance when there's nothing else that will.
I know I can't be the only mom who feels a tad bit guilty plopping my daughter in front of the tv..but sometimes, for just a second of peace and quiet, it seems like my only ally. 

Take for example this picture. No, not my handsome husband...I want you to notice my daughter. She isn't looking at me, she's staring straight ahead at the television. (Apparently she's already an Eagles fan).

For awhile letting her watch tv bothered me. I don't want to raise a couch potato. Plus, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no tv for kids under two years old. If you follow that guideline you should be nominated for mom of the year. Seriously, it's hard not only to entertain young babies all day long, but sometimes it's the only thing that will calm my daughter down.
I wonder how many pediatricians honestly follow this standard with their own children. Sometimes it's hard for me to get anything done...a good teeth brushing or a run of the vacuum...without the help of the television.

I try very hard to limit my daughter's television trance to 30 minutes a day. I recognize that no matter how entertaining Baby Einstein is to her it's not teaching her much...not compared to what I can be teaching her through play and communication. But let's be honest, how many of us are learning from television. I flip it on for a little relaxation and entertainment myself.  

So while I feel a little guilty cracking open Baby Einstein, this new mama is a lot more of a pleasure to be around when she's had a shower and a cup of tea...all courtesy of the television of course!


Free Budget Worksheets

As a stay at home mom I'm learning living on a budget is more important than ever. At my house we use an monthly budget worksheet to easily see what's coming in and what's going out. If I had realized before we went through the hassle of creating a budget in Excel, that there are tons of free budget worksheets online, I would have printed one off! To get started
Printable budget worksheets make it easier than ever to live within your means. When you know you have to write down everything you buy, it's a lot harder to justify some of those unnecessary purchases. If you haven't started following a budget yet, you can still use printable budget worksheets to get started. Here are some of the best free budget worksheets I found and here's a link to help filling out free budget worksheets.

Basic Printable Budget Worksheet

Budget Worksheet for Families with Children

Budget Worksheets Specifically Designed for Seniors (but can be adapted for all households)

Yearly Budget Planner


"How Do You Do It?"

...Those were the words of my husband, tonight, as the weekend drew to a close.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
He simply looked at me and said "Hurricane Livvy!" Oh, he meant our daughter and the cranky mood she'd been in for the last four hours.
Welcome to my life as a SAHM!

Then he muttered..."I don't know how single parents do it."
"Or twins," I chimed in..."Uhh!" was his only reaction as he lay collapsed on the bead with his head in his hands!
I laughed out loud at his utter exhaustion and how our not-yet six month old could bring him so much joy and yet such a headache!

Yep, she had a few cranky hours, but as I continually try to remind him...she's a baby and that's the only way she knows how to communicate. I spend everyday trying to figure out what's wrong, not just the weekends. And so the life of a Stay at Home Mom..which no one can fully appreciate until you do it day in and day out. While I don't necessarily disagree that moms find it easier to deal with the crankypants, I just think it comes a little more naturally. I try to rule out as many different things that I can...diaper's not wet, belly's full, room's just the right temperature, socks aren't too tight, gas drops are working...and then I always come to the same conclusion: she's overtired!

And so are we! Goodnight to that!
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