8 Tips to Save Money on Groceries

The average family’s grocery bill is usually one of the higher numbers on the family budget. There can be an enormous difference in what each family spends on their groceries, depending on many factors, such as whether they buy name brand, more meat, etc.

The good news is that this allows for a large amount of savings if we decide to be frugal with our shopping. Following a few simple tips will have you well on your way to saving a few bucks.

  1. Make a meal plan. You’ll know exactly what you need from the store before you go.
  2. Watch for specials and coupons in store newsletters, and plan your meals around them.
  3. Make a list and stick to it. If it’s not on the list, don’t buy it.
  4. Don’t shop when you’re hungry. That way you won’t be tempted to buy things that you don’t need.
  5. Shop alone. Count on your bill being higher when you bring your spouse or children.
  6. Only buy things you know you’ll use. For example, if your family doesn’t like broccoli, don’t buy broccoli in the hopes that they’ll eat healthier this week.
  7. Keep your eyes on the items on the bottom shelf where the prices are lower.
  8. Buy store brands when the quality is the same. Most of the time, it actually is the same product in a different package.

It’s pretty easy to be frugal once you realise how much money you’re actually saving with these simple steps. Keep a log of your grocery bills, so you can see how much of a difference you are making.

5 Steps to a Balanced Monday Morning

It’s Monday morning (again). You glance at the kitchen clock and gulp down a cup of coffee while attempting to put on your clothes at the same time and realise that you only have 5 minutes to get your 5 year old dressed and ready for school, not to mention you still need to pack her lunch. Not soon enough do you remember that you were warned the previous Thursday by your easy-going boss (not!) for being late the third day in a row.

Sound all-too familiar? Hey, no one said being a working mom would be easy, but here are 5 steps to help you achieve that delicate Monday morning balance:

  1. First and foremost, be prepared. If need be, pack your child’s lunch the night before. Give your child a bath the night before as well. Do your washing and ironing on the weekend so that all clothes are hung and ready to go; prepare at least 5 outfits for each member of the family over the weekend and have your husband and children assist you in the process.
  2. Set your alarm clock 10-15 minutes earlier to allow yourself more time in the morning. If need be, go to bed 10-15 minutes earlier to make up for the time difference. Wake up before your kids to shower and dress.
  3. Keep breakfast simple and healthy. If you feel that you just don’t have the time for breakfast, try keeping bananas (and other easy to eat fruit) and vitamin fortified cereal bars handy and ready to grab and go.
  4. Set a routine for you and your family and stick with it. Our bodies crave routine and that’s a fact. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Sticking with a schedule will make it easier to effectively manage that Monday morning balancing act.
  5. Divide your morning into phases. For example, phase 1: Eat Breakfast, phase 2: Get Dressed, etc. Set the phases in 15-30 minute time increments (phasing increments can vary, depending on the overall time you give yourself). Attempting to accomplish everything at once will only lead to chaos and confusion. Help your family stay within the proper phase and ask them to also pitch in and help. Encourage your family to stick to the morning phases to keep things running smoothly.

The key to achieving any balance, especially that Monday morning balance, is being prepared. Try a more organised approach to your Monday mornings and you will find that they turn out to be a lot smoother and less stressful for everyone.

Baby Food Allergies – How To Identify And Avoid Them

Many parents find the risk of baby food allergies one of the most worrying aspects of introducing new foods to their baby. But there are simple steps you can take to minimise potential problems and make your child’s introduction to solid food a safe and happy one.

Allergic reactions take place when your baby’s immune system mistakenly treats a harmless substance as a harmful one. Baby food allergy symptoms include diarrhea, eczema, nausea, constipation and watery or red eyes. Very rarely, a serious reaction known as allergic shock can occur. This can cause the throat and tongue to swell dangerously, which could lead to choking. In this situation, professional medical help must be sought immediately.

Baby food allergies should not be confused with food intolerance. A baby with food intolerance would have difficulty in digesting a particular type of food, which can be caused by many other things besides an allergen. In either case, diagnosis should be made by a medical professional.

In order to prevent baby food allergies such as these, or to identify foods to which your baby reacts, it is important to follow these simple guidelines:

1. Try to delay feeding your baby solid food until he is at least 6 months of age. His immune system will be better developed by this stage.

2. Only introduce one new food at a time and wait for a few days to see if a reaction occurs. It will then be easy to spot the “problem” food and eliminate it from your baby’s diet.

3. Avoid foods that are known to be more likely to cause allergic reactions. Examples of such foods include eggs (particularly the whites), shellfish, gluten and citrus fruits.

4. Decide whether or not your baby is at a particularly high risk of developing allergies – for example, do you suffer from an allergy yourself? This can often lead to an increased risk of allergies for your baby, although not necessarily to the same allergen (i.e. the substance responsible for the reaction).

5. Discuss any concerns with a medical professional.

Whilst it is sensible to be cautious, it is still important to remember that baby food allergies only affect around 8% of children. So try to keep things in perspective, introduce new foods individually and stay alert for possible reactions — these measures will give you the confidence to safely introduce the delights of solid food to your little one.

5 Movies From Your Childhood To Share With Your Kids

Brand new movies are great! It’s so much fun standing in line at the theater, breathing in the buttery popcorn smell, giddy with anticipation when a new movie is released.

I was at the theather just last week and standing in the line with a couple of dozen kids around me, I wondered – how many of these little movie lovers have ever seen any old movies? The ones their parents grew up with?

Have you introduced your children to the movies you enjoyed when you were younger?

1. Swiss Family Robinson (1960)
The Robinson family gets shipwrecked near an island. With hard work and togetherness, they build a majestic tree house. They are faced with many trials – wild animals, weather, and pirates, but their ingenuity carries them through. Great family values!

2. The Parent Trap (1961)
Twin daughters are raised not knowing about each other, each living with one parent. They unexpectedly bump into each other at summer camp, put two and two together, and work out a scheme to get their parents back together again. This movie is just plain good fun.

3. Mary Poppins (1964)
Mr. and Mrs. Banks are both so preoccupied with their own interests that their children, Jane and Michael are unhappy. When the magical nanny, Mary Poppins enters their lives, she brings the family closer. Between the penguin scene, the chimney sweep dance, and the magic, your children will be entranced.

4. The Sound of Music (1965)
The hills are alive with the sound of music. Your home will be alive with the sound of music once your kids watch this one.

5. Annie (1982)
Oh, how we love Annie! The music, the dancing, the wealthy Mr. Warbucks, and a happy ending. It doesnít get much better than that!

These five movies are a must in every family library. Share the memories, and sing the tunes. Even if you’re a little off-key. Just have fun!

 

P.S. Have you thought of some other movie right from your childhood right now? Share it in the comments below, and we’ll update this list, so other moms can come back for more ideas. Sharing is caring.

 

Love,

Cate