9 Months Already?!

Ems is growing like a weed. Her trend is flying through all her milestones within a matter of a few weeks. At 5 months she still wasn’t rolling over. Within two weeks after she turned 5 months she figured out how to roll over, crawl and stand up and cruise! This month she went from no teeth to sprouting 6 teeth and took her first steps all within two weeks.

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Why do they have to grow up! *ugly mom cry

Maia (my first born) was very steady with her milestones, one every month or so if any. She barely crawled and it seemed like her first year was in slow mo. I couldn’t wait for her to walk. With my second, I can’t seem to stop her. I really can’t keep up with this one! With that difference I truly cherish these days at home more. I hug and kiss my girls a little extra and I’ve been taking so many more photos than the first time around! I’m pretty proud of that because I am the worst at taking photos.

Those teeth!

Those teeth!

Happy 9 months Ems!!

Hello, World!

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Smith's Prep+Pared Meal Kit Review

Meal kits are everywhere you look nowadays. From Hello Fresh to Blue Apron, many companies are creating these prepackaged meal kits that are supposed to be an easy and healthy option for cooking at home. 

The other day I went shopping at my local Smith's Marketplace (Also known as Kroger depending where you live) and saw that they had meal kits as well! I've been really wanting to try the other options but they require a subscription and I'm not too sure I want to dive in that deep yet. Finding this option at Smiths was great! I found one that was half off for $7.00 that served two meals. Not too bad... $3.50 a person! However, they typically start at $14.00 for one kit.

I got a vegan option but they have a variety of recipes that meet different dietary needs. That's pretty awesome because my daughter has allergies and sometimes it can be tough planning out meals that she'll be able to eat with us.

My recipe was for the Corn+Black Bean Chilaquiles. I'm sorry I probably should have taken more photos of the box and how it was packaged but I was really hungry! Basically everything has been cut, pre-measured and packaged for you. You just need basic ingredients like oil, salt and pepper. You'll have to settle for a photo of my oven with some of the food being baked.

Top rack are onions, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers and jalepenos. Bottom rack is tortilla strips

Top rack are onions, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers and jalepenos. Bottom rack is tortilla strips

Easy peasy instructions

Easy peasy instructions

I've always been hesitant to get these meal kits because I feel like there is so much waste involved with each item being individually packaged in a plastic bag. I recycled everything I could but I know that many people don't and that is a lot of added waste in our landfills! Then again, meal kits help save waste from spoiled food that people don't eat because they've bought too many of one food item and forgot about it in the fridge. Using everything up at once and having the perfect portion for a meal really cuts down food waste. 

As far as ease of use, honestly anyone could do this. You just throw things together, saute, bake and put together on a plate and you got a meal! It took me only 30 minutes to make this meal AND I used an oven. Usually when there is an oven involved my cooking time runs to at least 1 hour long.

Voila! My end result.

Voila! My end result.

There it is guys, my end result! I have to say it looks almost like the picture from the recipe card. Not only did it look awesome, it was YUMMY. My husband was pretty upset I got a vegan option but ended up eating it all and actually enjoying his meal. This is coming from the biggest meat lover.

What I love about these meal kits is that it gets you out of the monotony of making the same recipe week after week. You don't have to buy a bunch of things that you might not end up eating just because you are trying out a new recipe. It inspired me to think of other recipes that are similar. Not to mention, it also saves time! Some people might think why would I pay for a kit that I have to make myself when I could get take out and have someone else prepare it for me. Why? It's fun to try out something new, you could easily make these recipes with your kids and get them involved. The meals are much healthier than getting takeout at most places and all around ends up being cheaper usually.

I'm a pretty frugal person so I don't see myself buying these for EVERY meal. I wouldn't mind once a week when I just don't know what to cook. Also, my daughter is so excited she is able to help make a meal for our family with these kits. 

Two portions were MORE than enough for two people!

Two portions were MORE than enough for two people!

All in all, I love these meal kits! It would be a cute option for a date night as well, not just for a family. I could see these as great gifts for new parents as well to help them during those first few weeks. 

 

Baby on a Budget

With your our first baby, almost everything was brand spankin' new. We were lucky to have so many amazing friends and families gift us with practically everything we needed. While I was so grateful, I realized that all that money could have been put to good use elsewhere since some things you end up using for only such a short amount of time. Of course, being a first time mom you don't realize that.
This time around I knew I wanted to buy whatever I could second hand not just to be frugal, but it's so much better for the environment! Here's my list of things that I bought secondhand, items I decided to get new and some tips on how to have a baby on a budget.

Items I Bought Secondhand and how much I paid for them Used:
I chose to buy these items secondhand because they are so easy to find used! Most of the items are used for less than a year, if not at all sometimes. Our first daughter didn't really like the crib so she only used it for a few months! We ended up selling it for half of what we paid but it was in mint condition and whoever bought it saved so much money. 

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  • Stroller and Car seat Combo ($60): When purchasing your car seat please make sure to check the expiration date. Yes, they do expire! I purchased this set used on Facebook Marketplace and it looked brand new! I saved $240 buying it used.
  • Bottle Drying Rack ($5)
  • Sit Me Up Seat ($15)
  • Baby Play Mat ($20)
  • Feeding Chair ($30)
  • Baby Toys ($5) 
  • Baby Bath ($5)
    All items that I purchased used were from Offerup, Facebook Marketplace and consignment shops.
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Items I Bought New:

  • Pack N Play or Crib ($50): I chose to buy this one new because I found a great deal on Amazon during black friday sales and it was almost the same price of finding it used. 
  • Baby Bottles & Nipples ($50): My daughter preferred a certain brand and I couldn't find it used. If you do buy them used, make sure to get brand new nipples and sanitize!!
  • Manual Breast pump ($30): This is one item I will never buy used. It's just a personal decision because I feel that with feeding supplies you have to be extra careful. Someone told me once that old breast pumps can harbor mold so it's always best to buy brand new. 
  • Clothes ($100): I bought new and used clothes along with reusing some of her sister's clothes but I thought I'd place this here as well. For our first daughter we were gifted so much clothes it was incredible. While I did appreciate it, most of the clothes was just not in my taste. While I returned what I could, many items I could not and just chose to put my baby in them. I know it's JUST clothes, but this time around I refuse to put my child in anything that I don't like. With the first I felt pressured from everyone to put her in clothes that they bought her. Now, I look back at her photos and cringe at times because I just can't stand her outfits! I hope I don't come across as spoiled or ungrateful, because I'm not. I feel like so many of us try to please everyone and there is no need to. It is our baby and it's our choice of what we want to put on them, buy for them, etc and shouldn't be guilt tripped for it. When you pop a baby out, please feel free to put your child in whatever you want and don't feel bad! 
  • Auto Rock n Play ($60): I would have loved to find this used but I just could not at the time I needed it.
  • Feeding Bowls & Utensils ($15): Again, you could buy them used but for me feeding items are more personal so I like to buy these new.

Items I Reused: We moved to another state so the only thing that we had saved was clothes and swaddles. We got lucky with having the same gender for our second child so I reused what I wanted to. It had also been 5 years since our last child so most items had to be purchased again.

There are a ton of other baby items that you could buy as well but I feel like these are items you'd use the most in your baby's first year. As you can see, you don't need to spend a lot of money on baby. I bought almost all of this stuff for less than $400!!