Monday, July 27, 2015

Davis at 9 Months

This month has been busy with some long-awaited developments.

Here is what you are up to these days.

*  You are nursing 4 times a day, with your first feeding around 7am and your final feeding around 7pm.  You nurse well, but are easily distracted.  You get what you need and then you are ready to move on.

*  You are still eating your solids well.  We do oatmeal/fruit for breakfast, yellow veggie/fruit for lunch, and then green veggies/oatmeal/fruit for dinner.  You finally got the pincer reflex down so you are able to pick up foods and put the in your mouth.  We've been offering you soft foods from our meals when we have them.  Plain Cheerios has also become a regular.

*  You are still sleeping well at night.  You seem like you are sleeping a little later than before, usually waking around 7am.  I'd still love to shoot for 7:30am, but I'm definitely not complaining!

*  You are doing well with your naps.  Your morning nap is about 1.5 hours long.  I usually put you down 1.5 hours after you wake up and you go down for the nap pretty easily.  Your afternoon is going well too and you usually sleep around 2 hours.

*  You are still wearing size 4 diapers.

*  You are still wearing size 9-12 months clothes.  I love seeing you in all your summer outfits.

*  You are officially crawling!  You are on the move and get faster every day.  If you see something you want, then you won't stop until you get it.  It's definitely time to baby proof the house again.

*  You sit up very well, although you sometimes do face plants if you are tired.  You can entertain yourself with a basket of toys, which is really nice.  You still like your Exersaucer and Johny Jump Up, but not for too long.  I think you like to be out and on the move, exploring the world.

*  You are a very happy and content baby, unless you are overly tired or really hungry.  I have people ask me all the time whether you are always so laid back.  I am so blessed, but I know it could change at any minute.

*  You are so interested in your siblings and love to be where they are.  They love playing with you and making you laugh.  Lately, Savannah has been a huge help keeping you from getting into mischief.  She'll pick you right up and move you back away from wherever you aren't supposed to be. 

*  You finally have teeth!  Your bottom two teeth finally emerged and I think it's been helping you sleep better.  Right after those teeth poked through, your inconsistent naps started becoming more consistent again.  I think you  may be working on more teeth though because you are still drooling and love chewing things.  

*  You are still sucking your thumb, but I don't mind at all because it helps you self-soothe when you are tired and sleepy.

*  You love clapping.  When you get excited, you bounce up and down clapping your hands.  It's the sweetest thing.

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You continue to be such a joy to our family.  This has been a pretty big month for you - your teeth finally popped through and now you are officially mobile!!  You are so mesmerized by the world around you and want to be on the go discovering it for yourself.  Our baby is slipping away with every passing month, but I'm so excited to have a front row seat to all that God has in store for you.  We love you, Davis Dude!

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

What is a Slush Fund? {and how to get started}

If you follow along with me over on Instagram or Facebook, then you may already know that we have had some hefty expenses over the past few months.  We knew that we would need new tires in the near future and that we were living on borrowed time with our old roof, but we were hoping to wait as long as we could before biting the bullet and spending that kind of money.

I don't know about you, but those are not items that I enjoy spending money on, but they are necessary and unavoidable if you own a vehicle and a home.  If you aren't prepared for expenses like this, they can be devastating to your finances and you may end up slapping them on your credit card or taking out a loan with exorbitant interest charges.  In my mind, neither of those options is ideal.

I wrote a post last year about the benefits to saving up for incidental expenses.  I still stand by that post and hope that you might consider giving this concept a try, if you aren't already.  You can't predict the future, but you can anticipate it.

In order to help us save for those incidental expenses, we've been setting money aside each month into an account we have recently dubbed our "slush fund."

What is a slush fund?
A slush fund account is where you set aside money for large or small expenses that you anticipate having in the future.  This is different than an emergency fund, since that money is designed to be used only for catastrophic events {ex.  job loss, huge medical emergencies, etc.}.

While a slush fund is not your emergency fund, it still acts as a buffer between you and Mr. Murphy.

Getting Started
With most things in life, getting started is usually the hardest part.  If this concept is new to you, then it will likely mean a change in behavior.  It can sometimes be hard to get on a new bandwagon if you are set in an old habit or way of doing things.

1.  Choosing your categories
Find a time to sit down and brainstorm what expenses you might want to include in your slush fund {include your spouse if you are married}.  Take a look at your monthly budget categories and think about your upcoming expenses.  You might consider dividing them up this way:
  • Routine expenses {ex. school tuition, insurance premiums} 
  • Projected expenses {ex. medical/dental co pays, larger home/car repairs}
  • Special savings {ex. new tires, new computer, newer vehicle}
At this point, our slush fund includes:  home repaircar repairvacation savingspreschool tuition, and medical expenses.  {I'm going to add in Christmas when we budget for August, so that I can start getting into the habit of saving all year for it.}

Note:  At the very minimum, I'd recommend car and home owners to set aside at least a little bit each month for larger car/home repairs.  Even if your car and home are newer, putting a little aside each month will help you be ready when you do need to make repairs.  

2.  Decide where you will put the money
Once you have an idea of what you should be saving for, you'll need to figure out the logistics of where you will put the money.  Think about what type of account you'd like to use and what bank.

We opted to use a basic, no frills, checking account at the same bank where we have our joint checking account for bill paying.  This allows me to transfer the money over each month with the click of a button.  If you would be tempted to "steal" from your slush fund, then you might consider using a different bank.  Do what works for you.

3.  How much to save
Now that you have your categories, you'll need to decide how much to save each month.  It should be fairly straight forward for your routine expenses.  Since you know what the expense is, just divide the total bill by the number of months you have to save.

If you are putting money aside for projected expenses, just estimate and then divide it by the number of months you have to save.  You can probably look at last year and have a pretty good idea of what you might need to save.

When saving for specific items, you might also need to estimate.  Unless you have a quote in hand, you might be making a ballpark estimate.

Even if your budget seems stretched already,  I think you'll find that setting aside even small amounts for some of these foreseen expenses will actually help alleviate some of the stress of your monthly budget.

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Do you have a slush fund?

Linking up with:
Cindy for Made by You Monday
Kristi for Inspiration Monday
Abby for Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Jenny for Whimsy Wednesdays
Carrie for Think Tank Thursday
Allison for Handmade Hangout
Sarah for Frugal Friday

photo source

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My FAVORITE Homemade Laundry Stain Remover

At this stage of life, the household product that I use most around here is stain remover.  I use it every single day that I do laundry, which is basically every day since I have laundry coming out of my ears.  Actually, maybe stain remover and laundry detergent are tied for first!  :-)

I've posted here before about my homemade laundry stain remover, but I thought it was time I did an update for you all since my method has been simplified just a tad.  I sort of touched on it when I shared this homemade miracle cleaner.

My updated method for attacking fresh and set in laundry stains is to essentially combine those posts.  The ingredients are still the same as in my original homemade laundry stain remover recipe, but the method is much simpler.  Here's the rundown.

Dawn dishwashing liquid
hydrogen perxide
baking soda

1.  Make a batch of homemade miracle cleaner.  I use 1 cup Dawn with 2 cups hydrogen peroxide in my squirt bottle. {The ratio is 1 part Dawn to 2 parts hydrogen peroxide if you want to make more or less}. 

2.  Spray the stain remover over the affected area and then sprinkle with baking soda.
Note:  A fresh mixture of the spray will start out blue, but don't be surprised if it turns clear in a couple of hours after light hits the solution.  The color change does not affect its effectiveness.  

3.  Spray more stain remover on the area and use an old toothbrush to scrub into a paste.
4.  Let this sit for at least an hour, although I would let this sit overnight for set in stains.

5.  Launder as usual.

**Note:  You don't have to use baking soda with the solution every time.  The spray alone will usually work for me on fresh or lighter color stains, however, I find that the darker or set in stains don't come out completely unless I use the baking soda along with it.  Since I usually want to make sure everything comes out the first time, I usually just go straight for the spray and baking soda combo.

I've been using this method for over a year and I am loving the results.  I can't tell you the last time that I have purchased stain remover from the store.  

Our littlest guy had stained up his church outfit pretty bad, as you can see.

Even though the lighting on this picture is better since it was taken during the day, the fact that the stains are gone is what made me happy!

I don't know about you, but I think these results speak for themselves!

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What is your favorite method of removing pesky stains?

Linking up with:
Kristi for Inspiration Monday
Jenny for Whimsy Wednesday
Allison for Handmade Hangout
Sarah for Frugal Friday
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