First Day of Pre-K

Today is Emily’s first day of pre-K at a local nursery school. I woke her up, got her to eat breakfast with minimal prodding (a rarity!) and dressed her in a cute fall outfit. She was great about taking pictures and ran inside the school without so much as a glance backward at me. I’m glad she’s a social butterfly and not a clingy little thing — she’s affectionate as can be, but she’s an independent spirit.

EmilySchool

 

She came out excited about her morning, but was a little light on the details. I’m sure she’ll tell me more as the days go on — she’ll be going five mornings a week. Right now, I’m enjoying every minute with her while I’m home on maternity leave.

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She’s Here!

Well, she wasn’t as early as our first Baby Frugalista¬†(who was five weeks premature), but our second little miss arrived at 37.5 weeks in the same exact manner — my water broke, and off to the hospital we went. My labor had to be induced again, as my body seems not to know how to start contractions on its own, but the experience was relatively positive. Miss Jenna Rose arrived on July 15 weighing 6 pounds and measuring 18 inches long, another little peanut! I delivered at a different area hospital this time, getting a lovely private suite and room-service meals. The baby was born completely healthy and two days later, we were home and a family of four.

 

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She’s 7 weeks old now. Our 3.5-year-old, Emily, has been trying to adjust to her new baby sister as best she can. We’ve had some hiccups with regressions in the area of toileting, but she’s back on track now. It’s tough to lose 100% of your parents’ attention, so we’re trying to make sure she feels as included as possible — she gets her own Mommy or Daddy & Me time.

I’m on maternity leave until November, and like last time, I’m torn between enjoying my time at home with my children and missing work. We’ve arranged daycare for Jenna when I go back to work, and Emily will be in preschool. Thankfully, my father-in-law has retired and will be able to help with pickup and aftercare until Mr. NSF gets home from work (I work later than he does). Hopefully all will go smoothly!

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What Do You Need for Baby No. 2?

When I was pregnant with our first child, we needed everything — crib, bottles, car seat, burp clothes, high chair, you name it. We received clothing and a number of beautiful gifts.

Now that Baby No. 2 is on her way (another girl!), I’ve had to take stock of what we have, make sure it’s clean and in good working order, and decide what we’ll need to buy new.

Turns out, we don’t need much of anything.

We can reuse our infant car seat, because it’s only a few years old and has never been in an accident. I still have bottles, so I’m only replacing the nipples. Clothes in all sizes, check. Bathtub and baby towels, check.¬†Swing, check. High chair, check. Burp cloths and swaddling blankets, check. I have a pack of newborn diapers, a case of baby wipes, and leftover size 1 and size 2 diapers to get us started.

A good friend is giving me a mini crib, which we’ll use in our bedroom until we’re sure the baby is old enough to share a room with our 3-year-old daughter. We have a three-bedroom house, but only two of the bedrooms are upstairs (ours and Emily’s), and I’m not putting a young child or a baby in the third bedroom downstairs. Since we’ll have two girls and a very large bedroom upstairs, it’s a no-brainer that these two girls will share a room until they can either no longer stand it or we’re comfortable having one bunk in the downstairs bedroom.

We’re so very excited to meet our newest addition — but the poor thing still needs a name!

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We’re Not ‘Thinking Pink’ — Part 2!

This is a two-fer post: We’re happily expecting, and it’s another girl! I’m past the halfway point now and it’s finally becoming more real that we’ll have another little one in the household in a matter of months.

And no, we’re still not ‘thinking pink‘ — although it’s going to be much easier to add another girl to our family, since we’ve saved all of Emily’s clothes and baby things. Plus, with one of our three bedrooms on the first floor, these two will be sharing Emily’s room for as long as they can stand it until we think one of them is ready to move to the downstairs bedroom (we have the other upstairs bedroom, and moving downstairs isn’t an option for us).

Yes baby No. 2 will be getting a lot of hand-me-downs, but most of the clothes are in pristine condition. The beautiful, purple/girlie baby swing gifted to us by my BFF was hardly used. The only thing we’ll need is a new crib, as Emily’s has been converted into a big-girl bed.

So many new things to think about, too — preschool, daycare, new budget. I’m going to have to put on my personal finance hat and figure a lot out. But for now, I’m reveling in the joy of carrying another life inside of me.

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Extreme Couponing or Just Plain-Old Couponing?

My brother, future sister-in-law and a few friends decided to start a couponing club. They’ll be sharing coupons and trying to get the best deals on the necessities for their lives. By pooling their coupons, they can buy items in bulk, which is great for non-perishable items like toiletries and paper products.

But will it work? Only time will tell.

Extreme couponing takes a lot of time and energy. You have to match coupons to sales, which can eat up most of your free time. It usually requires a number of trips to different stores. And what’s on sale isn’t necessarily what you need.

I used to be an avid couponer — nowhere near “extreme” level, but I paid a lot of attention and would go to difference stores to get what I needed more cheaply, especially cat food and litter. But since the birth of our daughter three years ago, my couponing time has dwindled. Partly because I’m working more and partly because I’d rather spend my free time with our little girl. Another variable is that there were fewer and fewer sales on the items we regularly use.

I still collect the Sunday coupon flier, but I find that I’m not cutting out as many as I once did. It’s difficult to match up coupons with sales prices lately. I just try to make smart purchases and use coupons when I can. But I’ll admit there’s a pile of fliers on our dining room table that I haven’t touched in a month, and I’m sure half of the coupons expired two weeks ago.

Has anyone else been having trouble with couponing lately? Is it that the deals and the coupons don’t match up, or that you don’t have the time to expend on couponing?

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Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

I’m still here — work and our almost-3-year-old daughter have been keeping me quite busy nowadays, and I find myself immersed in her world more than the world of personal finance. I’m still clipping coupons and challenging customer service when necessary, but I’m also making cats out of Play-Doh and playing with dolls (and dinosaurs). I’m hoping to post more regularly come January.

Right now, I’m in the middle of my annual Christmas cookie bake-a-thon, but only two varieties in. This weekend I should be making two or three different kinds, which I think will more than suffice. That is, if I can find the time in between wrapping presents, a task I’ve neglected until the last minute again this year.

I can’t wait to see Miss Emily’s face on Christmas morning, when she sees her “prizes” — her adorable name for presents. While she may not remember it forever, it will be the first Christmas that she really understands what’s happening, Santa Claus and all.

Merry Christmas, everyone! If you don’t celebrate, enjoy the season and best wishes for a Happy New Year.

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Summer Infant Customer Service

After expressing my displeasure about my Summer Infant baby monitor breaking after just a few months and posting the link to my blog on Twitter and writing to them through their website, the company immediately responded. Besides the fact that the monitor broke pretty quickly, I was peeved that you couldn’t buy JUST the monitor to replace a broken one — you had to shell out almost $240 for an entirely new system.

After some back-and-forth, Summer Infant decided to send me a new monitor, despite not having a gift receipt or the box any longer. That’s some great customer service. I had the replacement monitor within a week. A good thing, too, as I couldn’t see our 2-year-old on the screen any longer.

I appreciate the faith they had in me, that my gripe was legitimate (it, of course, was). Of course, this gets them a little bit of good press, too.

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