Thursday, February 26, 2015

Don't throw away your MONEY!

Don't throw away stale cookies, donuts, cake I mean MONEY! Throwing away dried out baked goods is the same thing as throwing away your money. If you paid to buy those baked goods or paid to buy the ingredients to make those baked goods then you should eat every last bite. Even throwing away just one cookie is wasting 4% of your money (that you spent on those cookies)!

Let's put that into perspective...pretend you make $50,000 a year and you throw away that last cookie (4%) in every area of your life. It may seem like nothing but with that mentality in one year you would have throw away $2,000! Now that will make you think twice next time you decide to just throw away something that you paid good money for!

So what do you do with stale baked goods?...re-moisten them by placing a piece of bread with the stale baked goods in an air tight container. Wait a couple of hours and you will have a soft cookie again! And if you don't think you will eat all 24 cookies (which never happens for me unless I make a double or triple batch) put the extras in the freezer for later. Or make extra on purpose and plan to freeze some. I usually have extra muffins, loaves of bread, banana bread, cookies, and other goodies stocked up in my freezer. You can also re purpose a lot of those goods into crusts and crumbles to be used in new recipes (think Chopped Leftover Edition)!



Once you are done using the slice of bread, which has now become stale, make sure not to waste it! You can use it as panko, bread crumbs, or bake into croutons.


Monday, February 23, 2015

How I saved over $30 in one grocery shopping trip by buying 8 bunches of broccoli (Veggie Broth recipe included)


When I usually pay at least $2.59 for a bunch of organic broccoli you could probably imagine how excited I was to see it on sale for $2.00. If $0.59 off doesn’t sound like a lot of money to you, think about it this way, that is 23% off! So I grabbed 4 bunches thinking we could probably eat one bunch raw, steam two for dinners, and blanch one to freeze. Then I saw asparagus was on sale too for $2/lb and I almost broke out in a happy dance. My husband and I both love asparagus but it usually costs $3-4/lb and even in season this past spring it was still $2/lb. So whenever I see it for $2/lb or less I buy it because it is 33% off. And it was perfect because I have a soup that we love that contains broccoli and asparagus. So I grabbed 6 bunches of asparagus and went back and grabbed 4 more bunches of broccoli. Crazy, I know. So my new plan: one bunch of broccoli raw, two bunches of broccoli steamed for dinner, two bunches of broccoli for soup, three bunches of broccoli for blanching and freezing, two bunches of asparagus for soup, two bunches of asparagus for meals, and two bunches to blanch and freeze.

Savings so far:
8 bunches of broccoli X $0.59 off= $4.72
6 bunches of asparagus (approx 1lb) X $1 off= $6
= $10.72 total savings

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Next to make our Spring Asparagus and Broccoli Soup from Whole Foods Market on-line. (Click here for a PDF version for easy printing). I have to admit that this is not the cheapest soup I know how to make, but we love it and it is super easy to make. To save money we try to make this soup when we find broccoli and asparagus on sale and we use homemade vegetable broth


Spring Asparagus and Broccoli Soup
By: Whole Foods Market
Serves 8

  • 6 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided Free
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts only, sliced $1
  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces $0.60
  • 1 (1-pound) bunch asparagus, woody stems snapped off and discarded, spears cut into 1-inch pieces $2
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped broccoli florets $2
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives $0.10
Heat 1/2 cup broth in a large pot over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, add leek and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 6 minutes. Add remaining broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Stir in asparagus and broccoli and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside to let cool slightly.

Carefully transfer soup to a blender and purée in batches until smooth. Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with chives and serve.

Per Serving:80 calories (0 from fat), 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 125mg sodium,15g carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 3g protein

Total cost to make =$5.70

When I make double batches of this soup I store some of it in Pyrex bowls ready to pack in my lunch for work, some in mason jars to freeze, some in small bowls for baby food and I leave the rest in the pot so it is easy to put back on the stove to warm up for lunch or dinner. Since it is a pureed soup it is also easy to put in a thermos and take with me when I am out doing errands, on a road trip, or anytime on the go. A Pyrex set that we use and like can be found here. The best way to get the mason jars is to garage sale or thrift shop them because they last forever, but if you have to buy new we like these.

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If you freeze this soup in a 16oz mason jar it is just as convenient to grab one out of the freezer as it is to grab a can of Campbell's chunky soup out the cabinet.
16oz mason jar soup= $1.43
Campbell’s chunky soup= $2
=$0.57 savings per can

Another way I  use this veggie soup is for baby food. When I make this soup with our homemade veggie broth it does not contain salt so the entire soup is veggies and makes for perfect baby food.
After washing and destemming 8 bunches of broccoli and 6 bunches of asparagus you can imagine we had a lot of  “waste” leftover . We compost our food scraps but vegetable scraps we have a greater use for= veggie broth. It is super easy to make your own veggie broth for free! With these vegetable scraps we were able to make 9 quarts of veggie broth for FREE!!!!

Organic veggie broth=$1.83/quart (the best deal I have found at Costco)
9 quarts of free veggie broth X $1.83 per quart = $16.47 savings

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How to make veggie broth from veggie scraps

  1. Take washed trimmed ends or scraps from any vegetable and place in a crock pot. It is best to have enough scraps to fill to the top of the crock pot.
  2. Fill the pot with water until the vegetables are submerged. For increased flavor feel free to add chopped carrots, onion, garlic, celery, and/or fresh parsley. If you choose to add fresh herbs we recommend adding it 10 minutes before you finish cooking.  We have also had good results adding dry herbs such as italian seasoning, basil, parsley, or oregano. Feel free to add dry herbs at any time during the cooking process. If you use any spicy peppers scraps such as jalapenos make sure to label your broth as spicy so you know before you put it in your recipe.
  3. Cook on low for 8-48 hours. If too much water evaporates just add more water.
  4. Place a small-holed strainer over a large bowl and pour veggie broth into the strainer to remove all of the vegetable debris.
  5. Pour collected broth into containers to store. Veggie broth can either be stored in the refrigerator or freeze. We like to use quart size canning jars but any container will do.
  6. You can make another batch from the same vegetable scraps by placing them back in the crockpot and covering them with water again. Then re-cook them for another 8-48 hours but realize that the broth will be less concentrated and so less flavorful. For the second running I do not add more water as it evaporates so it becomes more concentrated. Repeat steps 4 and 5.
Helpful Hint: Everyday we prepare vegetables we take all of our leftover scraps and trimmed ends and store them in a container in the freezer until we have enough stored up to make a batch of veggie broth.
****Remember when you use this veggie broth in recipes to add more salt because this veggie broth does not contain any salt like the store bought kind.

Yield: Depending on the size of your crockpot but the crock pot we use makes approx 3 quarts of veggie broth per batch for FREE!

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So at the end of the day I saved $10.72 by buying broccoli and asparagus on sale, $4.56 by making soup in mason jars instead of Campbell’s, and $16.47 by making homemade veggie broth.

Total savings = $31.75



Rose

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Quick, Easy and Free Fire Starters


Save your dryer lint and used toilet paper rolls to make quick and easy campfire starters



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  1. Collect and save your dryer lint each time you empty your dryer lint trap. We collect our lint in a plastic bag hung on the door knob to the laundry room. 0212151028a.jpg

  1. Save used toilet paper rolls (works with paper towel or wrapping paper rolls too but you may want to cut them to be shorter).
  2. Roll up dryer lint and push into toilet paper rolls. It may take multiple loads of lint to fill your toilet paper roll.

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  1. Put finished product back in your storage bag/container with your saved lint or put with your camping stuff. When we pack for camping I just take a full plastic bag of prepare fire starters and the leftover lint.

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  1. Place fire starter in a fire pit or wood furnace with some kindling and light toilet paper roll with a match.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Having a Baby Doesn't Have to Break the Bank - Baby Items You Do and Don't Need (The Ultimate Baby Registry)

Having a Baby Doesn't Have to Break the Bank- Baby Items You Do and DON’T Need


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My husband and I had the unusual situation of becoming parents with just a three hour warning! Unlike most parents who get 9 months to prepare, plan, and register for every possible baby item we had to wing it and we learned that you don’t need as much stuff as the baby industry makes you think you need.
To be fair we did have some warning because we had completed the training to become foster parents and we knew that at some point we would receive that call asking us to take in a child. But we still were not prepared that morning when we were asked to take in a two day baby boy about to be discharged from the hospital.
Again, to be fair we had requested children ages 0-3 and friends and family had given us some supplies. Since we didn’t know when or if we would get a call or the ages or genders of the children we would be taking care of we didn’t really buy any more supplies. So that morning after getting the call about Baby Y I frantically pull out all of our baby items, wiped down the car seat, and tried to find an outfit to bring him home in. To show how unprepared and naive we were the outfit he came home in was size 0-3 months and he was swimming in it. I also had to stop at the store on the way home and pick up diapers and formula.
Through this experience we learned first hand what was truly necessary and what we could do without despite what companies will try to convince you, the baby industry is a huge money making business and they will make you think you need many things you don’t.


For those that want to cut to the chase simply scroll to the bottom for the list of baby items that are absolutely necessary and those not to waste your money on.
Quick tips before buying anything for your baby:
  1. Decide whether it is necessary or if you can wait to see if you really need it
  2. Ask family, friends and co-workers if they have one you can borrow
  3. Ask them what products they love and would recommend/ read reviews
  4. Buy it used at garage sales, mom-to-mom sales, consignment shops, on-line, etc
  5. Just because it is cute doesn’t mean you need it!
  6. Don’t let the baby industry convince you that you NEED anything
  7. Keep it simple! "Live simply so that others may simply live" - Mahatma Gandhi


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First, you will need somewhere for your new baby to sleep. Now before you run off and register for the beautiful convertible crib to toddler bed that everyone buys, consider if this what you need and would use. For example, do you plan to have more than one child? For most people the answer is yes! Then you need to consider about where you next child is going to sleep. It is better to think ahead and be prepared and not just go with the status quo or go with what baby industry wants you to think. So if you convert your crib to a toddler bed then become pregnant again do plan to move your toddler to a different bed and use the crib version again OR do you plan to buy another convertible crib. If that doesn’t sound confusing enough then you have to consider if you want to use a bassinet, co-sleeper, in bed “nest”, or pack n play.
With our foster son it was an easy decision because the state has very rigid guidelines for “safe sleeping practices”, but with our biological son it was a much harder decision. Our plan changed many times throughout the 9 months because I am very indecisive and did a lot of research and read a lot of pregnancy books. After learning that a newborn’s body temperature, heart rate, and respirations are regulated and stabilized and their risk of SIDS is reduced by being within 6 feet of their mother I insisted that our baby sleep in our room. Due to limited space in our bedroom we were not going to be able to fit the convertible crib to toddler bed which made us stop and consider what would actually work for our house and parenting style. After realizing that we would not use the toddler bed option of the crib until our last child we decided it was impractical. So our first plan was the baby sleeper Rock’N’Play because we already had one that someone donated to us for Baby Y. But I was considering EVERYTHING and I foresaw it being difficult to pick up the baby while still in bed to feed him during the night.  A co-sleeper or bassinet appealed to me because I would be able to reach the baby and feed him in the middle of the night without getting out of bed because the co-sleeper would be right next to the bed. But when we went the store and look at them the price of a co-sleeper and we saw the cheapest one was $140 that plan was out. So we looked for a in bed “nest” which was surprisingly $50 and in our opinion not worth it for what it is. These options did not seem practical first because they were expensive, and second because we would still need something else once they outgrew them. So we had to settle with planning to have our baby sleep in the baby sleeper “Rock’N’Play despite my concerns with night feeding.
After outgrowing the baby sleeper we planned to either use the pack n play (just a side note: some claim that pack n play are not safe sleeping environments so do your research before planning to use one) we already had and adding a thicker mattress or the bottom bunk of our bunk beds which has the mattress resting directly on the floor. The bottom line: consider what is best for your family and what you will actually use before buying what the baby industry wants you to buy.




Another way to save money on the car seat is to skip the infant car seat altogether and buy an infant/toddler convertible car seat (we wished we would have know this trick before buying our car seat!) These are seats can generally accommodate a rear-facing child 5lb-40lbs and forward-facing child 20-65lbs. This would allow you to only need two instead of three car seats per child: the infant/toddler convertible seat and the toddler booster seat. The main disadvantage to this plan is the seat is not easily portable so if your newborn is sleeping in their seat you cannot simply take the whole car seat out while keeping them asleep. Personally, our son hated his car seat and rarely stayed asleep once the car stopped so we almost never carried him in his car seat. We also thought that carrying the bulky car seat into places was more of an inconvenience than a benefit. But living in Michigan this winter made us realize that if we had a newborn in the winter it is easier to keep your child warm by carrying them in their car seat into a store, church, etc. So you will have decide if a $200 car seat is worth the convenience of more easily keeping your child warm and possibly keeping your child asleep after getting out of the car. If you are really strapped for money the inconvenience may be worth the money.





So now we have somewhere for the baby to sleep and a safe way to get home, what’s next? Well, I guess your baby is going to have to wear something- clothes. This is an easy area to save money or waste a ton of money. This is wear the tip “just because it’s cute doesn’t mean you need it” comes into play. I’m not saying you shouldn’t get your baby cute clothes, but you should resist the urge to look at them while registering. It is better to get hand me down clothes from friends and family, shop at mom-to-mom sales,  garage sales, consignment shops, etc. The biggest mom-to-mom sale in the country is called “Just Between Friends Sale” so find out if it is being held in a city near you. For our local readers it comes to Grand Rapids each September and March. I take an inventory of the items we have and the items we need before each sale so I only buy what we need. Another mistake we made was buying too many outfits for ages newborn-6 months. During these 6 months babies grow so fast that some clothes they will never get a chance to wear before they outgrow them. It is better to be picky and find a handful of outfits you love than to have a closet full. Realize too that newborn outfits are usually size 5-8lbs and some babies are born bigger than that! At age 9 months babies naturally slow down how fast they are growing so you can get more outfits for this age because they will fit in them longer!




The next area where you can save money is by not having multiple similar items. For example, you do not need a swing, hammock, bouncy seat, AND a mamaroo. It is wasteful to buy all of these items because you don’t even know if you baby is going to like any of them! And isn’t a swing that has stopped swimming the same as a hammock?! If you find out your baby loves the swing you borrowed from a friend THEN you can go out and buy your own. Same idea with the high chair. With our foster son we thought the highchair that was donated to us was way too big and bulky. We felt like it took up half of our dining room and he was always throwing food overboard onto the floor. 
What we found to work better was a booster seat model similar to this that we could sit right on the table. This way we can easily feed and interact with him while we eat dinner and when he gets older we can attach this same booster to a chair. It is also more compact and easier to take with you while on vacation or visiting family. No need for multiple highchairs! You can buy a booster seat model new for as cheap as $20 instead of paying $80-$200 for a stand alone highchair. Or if you would prefer you could use a hook-to-the-table model ($40-60) which again will be the only high chair you need because it works for babies 6-36 months and is also portable (we like this one for camping).



I know this is counter-cultural and will shock a lot of people but you do not need a baby-themed nursery! Things to consider: Do you plan to have more children? Do you plan to keep that room a baby room once you have more children? Will you actually use it as a baby room? Do you plan to have the baby sleep in your room at first? For us a baby-themed nursery seemed ridiculous because the baby sleeps in our room at first, we plan to have older children use that room later, and we hate decorating (mostly because we suck at it and we try be practical and not over complicate our lives). Our “baby room”, if you will, is a bedroom with the baby’s clothes and changing table as well as a bunk bed. We already talked about how it is safer for a baby to stay near his mother for at least the first couple of weeks so unless you want your master bedroom to be baby-themed forget spending all of that time and money in a baby-themed nursery!
There is no need to buy specialty nursery furniture that cost twice as much as “normal” furniture. Again the same tip “just because it’s cute doesn't mean you need it” applies. Your baby will not care about his dresser, changing table, etc. So figure out what will be the most practical for the space you have and what you can use for older kids once your baby grow out of it. Then find the best deals at garage sales, consignment shops, hand me downs, furniture stores, etc. We did not buy any baby furniture because a friend gave us a bunk bed set, short dresser with a mirror and a tall dresser. We put a changing table mat and a basket of supplies on top of the short dresser and it works great as a changing table. (Thanks Cortney!)




Moving on to another big ticket item your stroller! You can save a lot of money here by only buying one stroller for all of your needs instead of multiple strollers for different occasions. So figure out what you plan to use it for. Shopping/walking? Pavement running? Trail running? Single or multiple children? Foldable/compact? Our goal was to get one stroller that would easily fold and compactly fit in our car, use for pavement running, compatible with our infant car seat and expand to fit more children in the future. We ended up with a City Select by Baby Jogger that was not designed to be a running stroller but was high enough quality that I could use it to run on pavement and it can expand to fit three children. It was a huge upfront cost (with the second child attachment it costs more than my first car!) but we should never need another stroller even after having more children. This was one item that we choose to pay more and get high quality since we were being simply and minimalist with a lot of other items. Luckily, we had enough gift cards and in-store credit that we did not have to pay a penny (post about how to get the most out of your registry to come later). Also, we did decide to have an umbrella stroller for times that we could not fit our larger stroller but umbrella strollers can easily be found used at garage sales.  



Unless you are a rock star mom and have mastered the diaper-in-your-purse simplicity you will need a diaper bag. We opted to have a color neutral bag so that John could carry it too. We have found that a back pack style is much easier to carry because you don’t have to worry about it falling off your shoulder or only weighing you down on one side. Some disadvantages to our backpack is at times we feel it is too small, you can’t carry your baby in a backpack carrier at the same time, and there is no compartment for a parent water bottle.




I looked over the baby registries of Target, Buy Buy Baby, and Babies R Us and was reminded of how overwhelming it seems because of how many items are listed! Below I made a comprehensive list of all the same items they recommend and I gave my opinion of them and if you really need them!


The Ultimate  Baby Registry- The only registry you will NEED (covering nearly 100 items)
Click here for a printer friendly PDF
  1. Somewhere to sleep (crib, bassinet, pack in play, in bed “nest”, Baby Sleeper Rock’N’Play, bed sharing, baby hammock, etc) - necessary
  2. Car seat- necessary
  3. Clothes- only buy a handful of outfits for newborn, 0-3 months and 3-6 months because they outgrow them so quickly (especially true for newborn clothing often sized 5-8lb which may be too small for your baby at their birth); try to buy used
    1. onesies- depends what type of outfits your baby is going to wear. Our son never wore onesies in the summer but wears one everyday in the winter. Other registries recommend 10-12 but I think if you plan to use them you will need 5-6 whites ones and a couple of pattern/colored ones.
    2. side-snatch shirts- I never found a use/need for them
    3. sleepers or gowns- yes, you will want at least 6 of these
    4. shirts/bodysuits- yes, but depends on what you plan to dress your baby in. Consider if you plan to use shirts/bodysuits with pants/jeans vs. three-in-one outfits, dresses with leggings, etc.
    5. pull on pants- depends on what you plan to dress your baby in. You will need these if you plan to use shirts or onesie style shirts.
    6. socks- yes, a couple of pairs. I recommend getting simple sets that will match almost every outfit so if you lose one it doesn’t matter. Our son hated socks and never wore them in the warm summer months but now has to wear them every day. The hardest part for us was finding pairs that would stay on his feet. So I try a couple of different brands and find what works for you; try to buy used.
    7. caps/hats- yes, 2-3 is plenty; try to buy used.
    8. mittens- unnecessary and actually not recommended because babies use touch to learn about their environment and not wearing them promotes breastfeeding. Think about it, while they were in utero they were able to move their hands freely why stop them now? Don’t worry about your baby scratching themselves because they heal quickly!
  4. Swing, hammock, bouncy seat, mamaroo- pick ONE and/or borrow or buy used!
  5. Highchair- booster seat or hook-to-the-table model are cheaper and more practical, try to buy used
  6. Changing table- don’t need, only need the changing mat on top of any low dresser or counter
  7. Changing mat - necessary, try to buy used
  8. Changing table mat cover (2 or 3)- necessary
  9. Diaper bag- necessary
  10. Dresser and nightstand - any furniture will do, try to buy used
  11. Glider, rocker, or ottoman-  up to you on this one, if you get one make sure it is wide enough to comfortably breastfeed in while using a boopy pillow (Thanks for the advice Amber)
  12. Stroller- if you plan to use it invest in a high quality multifunctional one
  13. Baby carrier- necessary! There are many benefits to baby including decreased crying, increased bonding and interaction, and promotes brain development and it allows you to take care of other things while still taking care of your baby. Click here to read more about the benefits of baby wearing/carrying (http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/fussy-baby/baby-wearing/benefits-babywearing). There are many different types and brands so I would recommend asking friends and family what they like and borrowing a couple of kinds to try. Once you know what kind you and your baby like then you buy a new or used one. Personally, I loved my sling and Moby when he was small and then I wearing him on back in the Ergo I borrowed from a friend (Thanks Katie!).
  14. Hamper- no need for baby specific type, any laundry basket will do
  15. Small hangers- necessary if you plan to hang up clothes. We have found it faster and easier to only hung up nice clothes, try to buy used
  16. Crib bedding- only if you decide you need a crib
  17. Fitted crib sheets (2)- only if you decide you need a crib
  18. Waterproof mattress pads (2)- necessary wherever you decide to have your baby sleep that area will need the pad to protect against nighttime leaking. Double layer your mattress by layering your waterproof pad then fitted sheet, then another waterproof pad, and finally another fitted sheet. This allows you to quickly removed the top two layers after an accident and the bed is still made and ready to put the baby back to sleep (Thanks for the advise Katie)
  19. Sheet savers- not necessary just buy the two pads above
  20. Receiving blankets- don’t buy any! someone will buy you blankets
  21. Crib blankets- don’t need, not deemed safe to be in the crib anyway
  22. Swaddle blankets- no, how many different types of blankets do you need?!
  23. Wearable blankets- what is a wearable blanket? maybe you should just get the baby some clothes
  24. Breast pump- check with your insurance company first because most cover a pump now if you get a prescription from your doctor
  25. Nursing pads- many moms need these temporarily while their milk supply is still fluctuating (0-6 weeks), buy washable so you can reuse them and save them for your next baby
  26. Breast milk storage containers or bags- if you are going to be pumping you will need these
  27. Nursing cover- I have noticed some moms have better success with scarves so either buy some covers to plan to wear scarves, try to buy used
  28. Nursing pillow- almost necessary, it does make breast feeding a lot easy in the beginning because the baby cannot hold themselves up but you only need it for a couple of months so could just use a couch pillow, try to buy used
  29. Bottle starter set- I had to look up what that even means. If you plan to bottle fed just buy bottles, don’t overcomplicate things. Since you don’t know what style your baby will like I would recommend asking friends and family what worked for them and borrow a couple of different kinds.
  30. Bottles 4 or 5 oz- yes, this size is what you will need at first but again don’t buy a lot of them until you know what kind you like. To save money you can only buy the larger size because you can feed a baby 2 oz out of an 8oz bottle!
  31. Bottles 8,9, or 11oz- the only size you really need if you plan to bottle fed
  32. Slow-flow nipples- make sure the bottles you bought come with slow flow nipples
  33. Medium-flow nipples- do not buy until you know what type of bottles you will end up with
  34. Fast-flow nipples- not recommended, your boobs don’t change speeds so medium-flow is fast enough
  35. Bottle drying rack- yes, if you plan to use bottles this makes it much easier to dry them but read reviews first. We did not buy the popular Boon grass
  36. Dishwasher basket- if you plan to use your dishwasher then this will make your life easier but I see these for sale at every mom-to-mom sale so buy used.
  37. Bibs- some babies need them (our foster son) some babies don’t (our biological son) so only get a couple at first, try to buy used
  38. Burp cloths- again some babies need them some babies don’t but I would get a couple because they are multipurpose. We didn’t need them for burping but have needed them for teething and runny noses.
  39. Bulb syringe, aspirator, snotsucker, etc- necessary, babies will naturally get a stuffy nose around 2 weeks from being exposed to their new environment and they will get sick at some point. The bulb syringe is next to worthless, trust me. We love our Nosefrida Snotsucker! (it’s not as gross as you think!) We have also heard good reviews about the electric nasal aspirator.
  40. Pacifiers- not recommended for the first 6 weeks to encourage feeding on demand and prevent nipple confusion, after that it’s your choice. Sometimes you get free ones in your welcome packet when you sign up to complete your registry or you get free ones in the mail if you register with Motherhood Maternity.
  41. Pacifier Holder/Clip- don’t buy until you know if your baby is going to like the pacifier. Some babies refuse pacifiers!
  42. Teethers- yes, babies love them! Ask other parents what brands they like before you buy them
  43. Diapers- cloth is cheaper in the long run but does have an upfront cost. If you choose disposable we recommend not buying too many newborn size because your baby will quickly outgrow them. Some babies are born ready to wear size 1. And interestingly hospitals use size 1! oh and yes necessary :)
  44. Baby wipes- Match with your diapers- if you choose cloth diapers then you will want cloth wipes and if you choose disposable diapers you will want disposable wipes. This is the most practical because when you change a diaper both items can be stored together in your diaper pail or wet bag and you can wash them together. If you choose disposable wipes you can save some money by making your own out of paper towel.
  45. Diaper cream/ointment- useful, you will probably need this at some point
  46. Diaper pail- you will need one if you do cloth diapers but if you use disposable you can just use your trash can (you will need to take out your trash often enough). We just use a trash can with lid and pail insert ($20 at Meijer). We simply lift out the pail insertion and carry it to the basement to do laundry. When we were using disposable diapers we tried the diaper genie and found it to be too much of a hassle. It didn't seemed to fit very many diapers before filling up and wasted a lot of plastic. It was crazy how much more trash we produced and then had to pay to get take away (and think about the landfills, gross!). The only disadvantage to the trash can we use is our son likes the sound it makes when slaps the top and so he tries to play with it like a drum.
  47. Baby bathtub- useful but not necessary. I bathed our foster son in the bathroom sink until he was able to sit up in the normal bathtub (does require some skill!). Once they can sit up you can try the laundry basket trick like shown below.
  48. Baby bath towel- I have to admit I was a little upset when John said we didn’t need to buy these. I thought of course I need baby towels! But he brought up a good point, why can’t you use normal towels. The only two reasons I could come up to buy baby towels was that I wanted organic ones and baby towels usually have hoods. Neither of which are necessary especially if you are on a budget and trying to avoid complicating things.
  49. Wash clothes- same as above
  50. Shampoo and body wash- we use the same bottle of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap for his entire body and for making our hand soap.  
  51. Body lotion- as long as you use natural body lotion your baby can use the same kind- we use coconut oil or shea butter
  52. Grooming kit (digital thermometer, brush, comb, toothbrush, emery board, bulb syringe, alcohol wipes, nail clippers, etc)- I would not recommend a kit because you will probably never use everything that is included in the kit and you may like a different brand of each product. For example, I already told you that a bulb syringe is nearly worthless and the hospital usually gives you a free one anyway. To my knowledge there is not a difference in baby emery board and an adult emery board except in size maybe. My advice, just buy what you need.
  53. Thermometer- Why list this separate if you already bought one in the kit! Silly stores trying to get you to buy two of the same thing! Necessary but don’t need to buy within the kit
  54. Nail clippers- again, only buy if you didn't get one in the kit. You can use adult size clippers but it is much easier to use baby designed ones. Necessary
  55. Humidifier- If you haven’t found one to be necessary for you then you probably don’t need one for you baby. We always have one running in our bedroom during the winter because it gets so dry in the house. When our son has a stuffy nose I do find it helpful to  hold him next to it before I suck out his nose with our snotsucker. Instead of purchasing a humidifier you can sit in the bathroom with the door closed and turn the shower to as hot as it will go.
  56. Air purifier- again if you haven’t thought to buy one for your house already you probably don’t need it. Just buy a plant instead because they filter better and don’t use electricity.
  57. Laundry detergent- useful, but you already use natural laundry soap like us then you don’t need to have a separate soap just for the baby clothes. It makes it a lot easier to just use the same soap for everyone.
  58. Monitor- this one is up to you and has to do a lot with where your baby will be sleeping. Our main floor is pretty small so we didn’t feel this was necessary. If you do decide to get one try to buy used because they are always for sale at mom-to-mom sales.
  59. Baby gates- if you have stairs in an area that your baby will be in then you will need them but not until they are at least 5 months so you don’t need to get this item right away; try to buy used.
  60. Outlet covers and plugs- probably a good idea to have but easy to buy used (You also may be able to get them for free from your electric supplier)
  61. Cabinet and drawer lock- yes, but you can buy used and in situations use a rubber band around the knobs.
  62. First aid kit- again I don’t recommend kits because you never end of using everything that is included. You could easily end up with two thermometers. For example, I have never used the glow sticks or alcohol pads in my first aid kit!
  63. Play mat or baby gyms- Fun for the first couple of months so you can easily share one with a friend since you only use it for a short period of time or buy used.
  64. Infant toys- don’t worry about registering for these because people will buy them for you anyway!
  65. Stationary entertainer- We learned from our foster son’s occupational therapist that these are not the best toys for development and should be limited to only 15 minutes a day! We still ended up buying one used because I could put it in the bathroom and take a shower knowing he wasn’t getting into something.
  66. Jumper- not the safest toy and similar to a stationary entertainer so I would pick one and buy it used.
  67. Books- yes, but buy used or ask for them as Christmas and birthday presents. We recently read an interesting stat that said that having more books accessible to your children improves reading and cognition.
  68. Music- yes, but you can buy used or ask for presents.
  69. DVDs- it is recommended that kids do not start watching any TV until age 3 so not necessary.
  70. Shopping cart/restaurant high chair cover- not necessary. I bought one used because our son would try to suck on the side rails of the cart but I learned that it was short lived and if you strapped him in tight enough he couldn’t reach it.
  71. Sound/white noise machine- some babies love and need it but until you know that, don’t bother. You can test to see if your baby needs white noise by playing white noise on your computer or phone. A cheap noise maker is a fan.
  72. Car mirror- they are nice to be able to see your baby while driving but you can definitely buy them used.
  73. Car seat cover- helpful if you plan to carry your baby around in their car seat or if your baby is born in the winter in Michigan!
  74. Baby book or picture frame- they are nice to have but don’t buy until after your baby shower because someone will probably buy you one.


Ok, so next are the items I hate to even list because they are totally UNNECESSARY but they are on the baby store registry list so I will keep going


  1. Stroller footmuff- yeah, I had to look that one up. It is like a sleeping bag for your baby while they are in their stroller. Unless you plan to use your stroller a lot in the winter you don’t need it
  2. Stroller rain cover and sun shade- no
  3. Stroller Netting- no, unless you live in an area where malaria is a risk or I guess if you go camping a lot where there are a lot of mosquitos it could be nice.
  4. Mobile or crib soother- no, in my opinion if your baby is in their crib they should be sleeping.
  5. Lamp/night light- could be nice to have next to your changing mat so you don’t need to turn on the main light to change a diaper during the night. I just turn on the hallway light and use that light to change the diaper in the bedroom.
  6. Nursing stool- could be nice but I wouldn’t waste your money
  7. Little table and chairs- no
  8. Car seat neck pillow- not deemed safe so skip this one. Nothing should be between your baby and their car seat.
  9. Bottle warmer- nice but no. We simply use a large coffee cup or 2 cup glass measuring cup and warm up plain water in the microwave first then place the bottle in the water to warm it up. Never put bottles directly in the microwave, it can create hot pockets and burn your child's mouth.
  10. Diaper wipe warmer- nice but again no. Newborns naturally cry when they are disrupted or undressed so they are going to cry either way when you change their diaper. Just learn to be quick so you can hold and comfort them again.
  11. Infant bowls and spoons-no, we have found that using our normal dishes works just fine even the spoons (remember simplify!)
  12. Splat mat- again I had to look this one up, it is a mat that goes under your highchair to keep your floor clean. I guess if you plan to use a traditional high chair and have carpet in your dining room then this would be a life saver.
  13. Formula/snack dispenser- no
  14. To-go and storage container- just use what you already have
  15. Disposable placemats- what? really, no you don’t need that
  16. Feeder for strained foods- nope, you don’t need it
  17. Make your own baby food gear- nope, you can simply puree your own food and freeze in ice cube trays then store in freezer bags.
  18. Baby food cookbook- let’s not complicate things!
  19. Shampoo rinse cup- any cup will do
  20. Bath toys- not necessary
  21. Bath toy storage- not necessary
  22. Bath kneeler- not waste your money unless you have knee problems
  23. Piggy bank- someone will probably buy them one at some point
  24. Pee pee teepee - your baby (especially boys) will pee on you! For the first couple of weeks each time you remove their diaper it is like a reflex that they want to pee but you don't need these commercially made teepees. It is easier to use a wash cloth, burp rag, or reusable diaper wipe than to carry around another product that you need to remember to bring with you and use. Immediately after removing their diaper place your wash cloth, burp rag, etc over their pee pee until you get their new diaper positioned and ready to velcro together.


Necessary Baby Items- All your baby really needs (like always try to buy used)
Click here for a printer friendly PDF
  1. YOU- Not to be cheesy but really the only thing your baby NEEDS is you. While I was pregnant with my son I read this in my breastfeeding book (The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding- I think) and I felt inspired and empowered to be a mom! All your baby needs is you...to hold him, nurse him, and love him. God has given you exactly what you need to take care of your baby don’t stress over the material things.
  2. Somewhere to sleep (crib, bassinet, pack in play, in bed “nest”, Baby Sleeper Rock’N’Play, bed sharing, baby hammock, etc)
  3. Car seat
  4. Clothes
  5. Swing, hammock, bouncy seat, mamaroo, etc
  6. Highchair- booster seat or hook-to-the-table model
  7. Changing mat
  8. Changing table mat cover (2 or 3)
  9. Diaper bag
  10. Baby carrier
  11. Waterproof mattress pads
  12. Aspirator, snotsucker, or bulb syringe (not the best option)
  13. Diapers
  14. Baby wipes
  15. Thermometer
  16. Nail clippers

For those preparing for a baby don't stress about the STUFF but instead focus on preparing to become a mom or dad (especially my friends who are currently carrying precious cargo!). May God bless you with a happy and healthy pregnancy, delivery (or adoption), and baby!

Rose 

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