Monday, May 30, 2011

Baby Shower on a Budget

You don't have to spend hundreds to throw a fun baby shower. Here are some ideas on how to put together a baby shower on a budget.

  • Use to send email invitations to your guests. For the few who don't have email, such as older relatives, make your own card invitations or print out invitations on themed paper.
  • You can also make an event on and invite people through Facebook.
  • Hang diapers, baby clothes, and baby socks on a clothesline in your house.
  • Buy baby-themed or colored scrapbook paper on sale at a craft store and glue on magazine pictures of babies or baby items. 
  • Tape baby-themed greeting cards you've received on the walls.
  • Place stuffed animals, baby toys, and board books around the room.
  • Consider only decorating the food table or gift area.
  • Serve finger food so you don't need to buy utensils.
  • Consider making it a potluck party. If you don't feel comfortable with that idea, ask a few guests to bring a dish or drink.

Games & Prizes:
  • Play games that require things you already have--paper and pens, baby items, etc.--or you can easily make. Most baby shower games can be easily replicated without buying kits.
  • Buy prizes from the dollar store or the dollar sections of Michael's or Target.
  • Wash and remove the labels from baby food jars. Fill them with candy or a votive candle. Glue scrapbook paper to the lid and tie a bow around the jar.
  • Bake large cookies and put them in paper CD cases. Tie a ribbon around each case.
  • Make your own paper boxes with scrapbook or card stock paper.
  • Fill baby socks with candy and tie the open end with a ribbon.
  • Check your local dollar store for invitations, decorations, eating supplies, and prizes/favors.
  • Also look through the clearance section at party stores.
  • If you throw a lot of baby showers, consider buying solid-color cloth tablecloths and eating supplies and then just changing the wall or hanging decorations to make each party slightly unique. Or buy gender-neutral decorations.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Ultimate Parent

Whenever I have a question about parenthood, I think of the ultimate parent: God. He is the perfect example in all things, and we should follow His actions, especially when it comes to raising His children. There are numerous examples of His perfect parenting style and wise counsel in the scriptures. He teaches us to be patient, loving, just, merciful, forgiving, humble, and charitable. If we have any questions about parenting, we can ask Him and know we will receive the best advice.

Friday, May 20, 2011

What Do Your Groceries Say about You?

photo by Cindy Kalamajka
When I go shopping, I like to look in people's shopping carts. What they buy reveals details about their lives: children, no children, healthy, unhealthy, accomplished chef, rushed cook, etc. I like to think that what I buy reflects good qualities about myself and a balanced life. I like making semi-homemade meals and cooking completely from scratch. I like to eat healthy, but I enjoy a little junk food too. I care about saving money, but I have some brand loyalties.

Here are my top five grocery purchases and what I think they say about me:
  1. Water: I drink nothing but water! I'm not much of a drinker in general and I don't like soda, so when I do drink, it's always healthy.
  2. Whole wheat bread: I am not afraid of carbs, but I make sure they are whole grain. Of course, I love getting an Italian loaf every now and then.
  3. Fresh produce: I grew up in Southern California, so I was spoiled all year round. I love tomatoes. I buy carrots for a healthy snack, especially for my husband. We put onions in everything. Our favorite fruits are oranges and strawberries.
  4. Rice: My husband's half Japanese and I'm half Puerto Rican, so rice is pretty much a staple here. I buy all kinds: brown, white, and Asian.
  5. Chicken: I grew up on poultry and seafood. My husband is from Wisconsin, a huge beef eater and a fish hater (I guess that Japanese part of him never developed). I've compromised and incorporated ground beef into my diet (it's the only red meat I know how to handle), but we eat mostly chicken. I prefer dark meat, he prefers white.
What are your top five groceries and what do they say about you?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

To Bumper or Not to Bumper

When I went shopping for baby stuff, I knew I wasn't going to get a fancy crib set and accessories for the baby's room. I didn't think it was worth the money. We wouldn't use a big, warm blanket in Arizona, and I thought everything else unnecessary or silly. However, I did want a bumper. I found a jungle-themed one at the thrift store for $2.49. We recently replaced it with a cuter same-priced, thrift-store, jungle-themed one.

I did not know until after the baby was born that crib sets are not safe, including bumpers. Bumpers are meant to protect the baby's tender body from bumping into the wooden crib slats. But they can be suffocation hazards. I knew pillows and stuffed animals were, but the bumpers surprised me.

Once my baby started rolling, I removed the bumper. However, then he would wake up because his foot or arm would get stuck in the slats (not really, the slats are wide enough) and he couldn't figure out how to get it out. So we put the bumper back in. Now he uses it to try to climb out of the crib--don't worry, we lowered the crib so he can't.

I also read somewhere that even mobiles could be dangerous. We have a musical one that the baby loves to watch and listen to. Also, blankets can be hazardous to a rolling baby. Luckily for us, it's too hot to use blankets.

My question is, if certain popular baby items are unsafe, why are they sold and bought? What do you have in your baby's room and crib? What safety precautions do you take or not take?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mom's the Word

Some words about mothers, from the book The "Official" Mom Book by Martha Bolton:

There was never a great man who had not a great mother.
~Oliver Schreiner

All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.
~Abraham Lincoln

There is no velvet so soft as a mother's lap, no rose as lovely as her smile, no path so flowery as that imprinted with her footsteps.
~Archibald Thompson

Mother's arms are made of tenderness,
And sweet sleep blesses the child who lies therein.
~Victor Hugo

Life began with waking up and loving my mother's face.
~George Eliot

An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.
~Spanish proverb

My mother is a woman who speaks with her life as much as her tongue.
~Kesaya E. Noder

I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.
~Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, May 7, 2011


The winner of the GigisPetals brooch/hair clip is comment #39 "I LIKE You/The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (Baby Giveaways) on Facebook #2" by Jesselyn. Congratulations! I will contact you shortly.

For the rest of you, remember, you can use the coupon code FOLLOW15 to get 15% off your purchase at GigisPetals!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Easy Marinara Sauce

A while ago, I wanted to make homemade marinara (red/meat/spaghetti) sauce and searched for a good recipe. I tried this one from Tyler Florence, with my own modifications. It was super easy and delicious! The resulting recipe is below.

  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic for 3 to 5 minutes until the onions begin to appear opaque.
  2. Add the ground beef. Break up and lightly brown the meat.
  3. Pour in the canned tomatoes. Add the Italian seasoning, bay leaf, Parmesan cheese, and sugar. Stir thoroughly to mix flavors.
  4. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to your liking. 
  5. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes (longer for thicker sauce). Stir occasionally.
Note: The sauce in the picture was made without onion. It did not taste nearly as good!
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