Wednesday, July 29, 2015

City Skyline Painting

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For my birthday this year I wanted to go to one of those cool painting classes where they show you how to paint a picture while enjoying a glass of wine but I didn't want to fork out the $60+ bucks it would of cost for my husband and I to do it, especially when I didn't like any of the paintings enough to hang in my house so we came up with a solution... we had our own painting session at our house and called it "Painting with a Martini Twist". My husband came up with the name and I loved it being that our last name is Martini. We spent Father's Day/my birthday painting four canvases and sharing a glass of wine while the babies napped and if I do say so myself, I think it turned out pretty well. Our "Painting with a Martini Twist" date was fun and cheap. It cost us $12 max because we only needed to buy the four canvases but if you don't have all the supplies it will probably end up being around $25 max depending on what brands you buy.

Supplies

  • 4 Canvases 
  • Purple, Blue, Yellow, White, Black, and Gray Paint (I used the cheap acrylic paint from Hobby Lobby)
  • Paint Brushes (regular and sponge)
  • Paper plate too put the paint on
  • Water to wet your brush

How To:

1. First you need cover the table in newspapers to prevent paint from getting on it, then you need to line the canvases up how you want them on the wall.

2. It is now time to start painting. I mixed the purple and blue with black/white until it was the shade I wanted it to be. My husband and I then used the sponge brushes and started to make horizontal lines on the canvases, blending the colors as we went. The excess paint when you barely wet the brush helps blend the colors together. Make sure the top and bottom of the canvased are fully covered. The middle doesn't have to be fully covered because your skyline will go there. Let it dry.

3. Once your background has dried you can begin to paint the city skyline. Make sure the canvases are lined up exactly how you want them on the wall. Using a small paint brush, paint the outline onto the canvases. If you don't feel confident in painting the outline on directly, you can always sketch it first with a pencil then paint over it. 

 4. Next, fill in your city skyline using black paint. We did two coats of black paint because we wanted the city skyline to stand out more and we wanted to make sure the background wouldn't show up through the black.

5. Go back over your city skyline outline with the small paint brush to make sure all the building sides are straight. Let it dry.

6. Once your buildings have dried you can add lights. I mixed a little yellow and white paint together to create a pale yellow for the lights. We used a couple different size small brushes we had to create the lights because every window is different. Spread your lights out and don't put them on every building because not every light is on at night.

Date idea, Cheap date ideas, DIY City Skyline Painting , skyline painting, wall decor, skyline paining tutorial7. We liked the city skyline, but something was missing so we decided to try to make it look like it was reflecting in the water by adding a little bit of gray under the buildings. Be careful with this because it is very easy to add to much and mess it up. If you add to much gray, try to tone it down with a little water or a little purple/blue paint to help blend it into the background. Let it dry.

8. Optional: you can add stars or a moon to the sky if you want or add the reflection of the lights to the water, we chose not to though because we thought it would pull away from the city skyline.

9. Once it is dry you can hang it on the wall and enjoy! We used two nails for each painting so we didn't have to worry about it being crooked but they are light enough so I'm sure you could get away with one nail.


I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and awesome date idea! If you want to go to one of the wine and painting classes I hope you have a blast but if you can't afford it then try doing it yourself for a fourth of the price. Like I said, we paid $12 max compared to the $60+ we would of spend if we went to an actual class. By doing it yourself, you will save money and you can paint and drink in the comfort of your home. If you aren't that crafty it is ok, you can find video tutorials online on painting for beginners to help you out. Just pick a painting and go for it! Let me know how your "Painting with a Martini Twist" paintings turned out!!!

Waiting on paint to dry...

Baby on a Budget


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I've always heard that baby's are expensive but I didn't realize just how true that was until I experienced it for myself. Diapers alone can drain your bank account, not to mention the cost of everything else you need to have a baby. It adds up fast and trust me I know. I may not be the most experienced mother but I recently went through it all back to back, having two babies under the age of two. Here are some ways to help cut back on all those cost from being pregnant to buying things after the baby is born, after all, every penny helps.

Saving During Pregnancy

Pregnancy Test: Whether you've been trying to get pregnant or missed your period and are just curious you will most likely need to take a pregnancy test at some point in your life. Don't waste your money on all the expensive pregnancy test they have out there. Just buy the cheap ones. They sell them for $1 at Dollar Stores and I believe .88 cents at Walmart and YES they work. Pregnancy test essentially all do the same thing and test for the same hormone in your urine so there is no point in spending the big bucks on something you are just going to pee on and throw away.

Prenatal Vitamins: If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, doctors will recommend you take prenatal vitamins before, during and after (if breastfeeding) pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins can be expensive and they add up fast if you aren't careful. Some prenatals cost $20-$30+ for only a few pills. That can add up to $200-$300 easily over the 40 week span you are pregnant. Yes I get that some prenatals contain different vitamins and others can make you sick but that doesn't mean you have to go broke buy them. I recommend buying the Spring Valley Prenatals. It cost around $7 at Walmart and has 240 pills in the container. I used it for both of my pregnancies (technically never stopped using it being that my babies are 17 months apart) and both of my babies were born very healthy. They are cheap and they work. I have also heard that the off brands work just as well as some of the expensive ones but I haven't tried them. You can also ask your doctor if they have any free samples of prenatal vitamins the first time you visit. It may not be a lot but it will get you started until you can get to the store.

Insurance: After your doctor confirms that you are pregnant, try to see if you qualify for Medicaid. This will most likely act as your secondary insurance and cover all the copays and delivery fees that aren't covered by your main insurance. Although everybody doesn't qualify it is definitely worth applying for and seeing if you do (If you are not married or unemployed you will most likely qualify). If you have any form of Medicaid and receive a bill, call the number on the bill and inform them that you have Medicaid and you shouldn't have to pay it. They will bill Medicaid then send you another if you owe anything. Companies will bill you without billing Medicaid first so make sure to read everything first. Also don't be afraid to ask questions and say NO. My insurance for my first pregnancy only covered one ultrasound and I didn't have the money to pay for another so I made sure they knew that because sometimes they will do it and you'll get billed for it.

Health Department Programs: See if you qualify for WIC (Woman, Infants and Children). WIC is supplemental nutrition program out of the health department for pregnant/breast-feeding mothers, babies and toddlers up to age 5. Working families can qualify for WIC and if you don't qualify, it doesn't mean that your child won't. Although WIC doesn't give you enough food for the entire month it still helps out a lot and supplies you with healthy food choices for both you and your baby. WIC lets you get fruits, vegetables, milk, beans, eggs, peanut butter, cheese, whole wheat breads and cereal free of charge. WIC can also supply you with formula, baby cereal, and baby food depending on your package and what you qualify for.

The Health Department also usually has a program called HANDS (Health Access Nurturing Development Services) or at least they do in the state of Kentucky. This is a free program offered to first time parents. You must sign up for it while pregnant or before your baby is 3 months old. The program goes until your child is 2 or you don't want to do it any more. A worker will come to your house each week and teach you about what is going on at that stage of pregnancy or your child's development. You will set goals, talk, make crafts, etc... every week is different. Try it out and if you don't like it you can always quit it.

Maternity Clothes: Maternity clothes are expensive, even the clearance maternity clothes can run you $20-$50 an item which doesn't seem like much of a clearance price to me. Maternity clothes are usually only worn for a few months and several people save them just incase they happen to get pregnant again so check with all your mommy friends and see if anybody is willing to let you borrow their maternity clothes for a few months. Also you can check and see if there is a Pregnancy Help Center in your neighborhood, they will help supply you with a few maternity clothing items free of charge. You can also find cheaper maternity clothes at yard sales and church consignment sales; kid-to-kid and once upon a child usually will have a rack of maternity clothes as well...I bought a pair of almost new maternity jeans for $2 at church consignment sale... I also recommend forking out the $15 at Target and buying a Belly Band. This will allow you to wear your jeans longer during your pregnancy and if all else fails, wear your husbands clothes. It will save you money and they are super comfortable.

Baby Registry: I hate to break it to you but you don't need everything they put on the baby check list. Half of the items are on there as a way to make more money. You can do without the wipe warmer, Sophie the Giraffe teether and the $300 video baby monitor, the $20 baby monitor works just fine. Only register for things you need, that way you are more apt to get them. If you are planning on having more than one kid, register for things in gender neutral colors that way you can save them and use them for every kid. Also I recommend registering for items that grow with your child. They sell highchairs, car seats and strollers that all grow with your child, yes they may cost more but they will save you money in the long run because you will only have to buy one carseat instead of three or four. Also don't forget to pick up your gift when you register!!! (see Freebies below)

Baby Showers: I recommend having a Baby Shower/ Gender Reveal Party instead of just a baby shower. No not just because I had one, but because you will actually get things you need. I have been to several baby showers after the gender of the baby has been revealed and all they got was a ton of clothes because everybody loves to shop for baby clothes because it's so cute. They didn't get anything they needed like a carseat or baby lotion. By having a Baby shower / gender reveal party in one you are forcing people to buy the items you actually need instead of getting just clothing.

Another idea for the baby shower is to have a diaper raffle. Tell everybody to bring a pack of diapers to get their name entered into a drawing to win a price. My friend did this and she got a ton of diapers. Plus the benefit is stores let you exchange unopened diapers if you get to many of the same size.

If your husband and his friends are feeling left out you can also throw him a diaper party. Have everybody meet a a place like Hooters or Buffalo Wild Wings and tell them to bring a pack of diapers for a guys night out. This way you don't have to worry about supplying the food and drinks and you get diapers out of it.

Freebies: You can get free baby stuff if you look in the right places. Sometimes companies are willing to send you free samples of their products if you just ask. If they don't have any samples they will usually mail you some coupons. Sign up on all the baby brand sites like Pampers, Huggies, Luvs, Gerber, Enfamil, Similac, Nuk, etc... that way you will be in the loop about all the new baby items and you will receive coupons in the mail or on your e-mail. Pampers and Huggies allow you to enter their codes and redeem prices and Enfamil and Similac will usually send you free formula around your baby's due date as well. Don't forget to pick up your free gifts when you create a baby registry. Places like Buy Buy Baby, Babies-R-Us and Target have free goodie bags, all you have to do is got to the customer service counter and say you made a registry to get the goodie bag. They come with diaper and wipe samples, a rattle, pacifiers, a bottle, formula etc... it all depends on what companies are advertising at the time.

Saving After Baby


Breastfeed if you can: Breastfeeding is healthier for your baby, helps you lose weight and helps form a special bond between a baby and it's mother; plus it's free for the most part (besides nursing bras, breast pads, and milk storage bags). Formula can cost you well over $200 a month. If you have to use formula make sure you sign up online for Enfamil and Similac. They will usually send you free formula around your baby's due date and send you $5 off coupons every month. If you qualify for WIC, they will also supply you with some formula but you will still need to buy some of your own.

Free Breast Pump- DO NOT buy a breast pump until you check with your insurance first. I made the mistake of buying one then after my baby was born I got a call saying I could get a free one. Most insurances will supply you with a FREE $300 breast pump if you are planning to breastfeed.

Diapers and Wipes: You don't need to buy the most expensive brand of diapers, the cheap ones work fine. Everybody prefers different brands to others so to each their own but whatever brand you do decide to buy, make sure to use a coupon and shop sales. There are so many diaper sales and coupons out there that you shouldn't have to pay full price for a pack of diapers. I also recommend buying the boxes of diapers because you will be spending less per diaper than if you buy individual packages. You can also order diaper boxes online using online codes and get them shipped to your door for free if you spend over the limit. This saves you gas and the hassle of getting the boxes in and out of your car. Another way to save is by switching to cloth diapers. I personally don't use them but I've been told you can save money in the long run by using them.

As far as wipes go, I prefer the Pamper's Sensitive wipes because they are thicker than all the other wipes I have tried. I have been going through wipes like crazy having two kids under the age of two and sometimes I feel like I am wasting wipes when it is just a wet diapers so I have just recently started to tear them in half and only use half a wipe for the wet diapers. This way I'm getting more use out of the one wipe. Another way to save on wipes is to make your own. I have not tried this yet but there are several tutorials on Pinterest on how to make your own wipes using paper towels.

Baby Food: If you qualify for WIC, they will supply your child with baby cereal and baby food, but you will still need to buy some of your own. When buying your own, buy the cheaper brand. Yes it is only a 3 cents difference between Gerber and Beech-nut baby food but 3 cents can add up fast when buying 60+ jars a month. Another way to save on baby food is to look for it for free or cheap on yard sale sites. When somebody's baby has outgrown the baby food/formula or just doesn't like it, they will sometimes post it to a yard sale site on Facebook for free or super cheap. You can also make your own baby food;it is very easy to do, after all, all baby food is is processed food. Buy fruits and vegetables (in bulk if possible) then use a Baby Bullet (you can find these cheap at yard sales sometimes) or a Food Processor to mash them all up. Divide it up and freeze it!

Baby Clothes and Baby Items: NOT EVERYTHING HAS TO BE BRAND NEW!!! Yes new stuff is awesome to have but if you are on any sort of budget then you should be shopping for used items instead. I recommend waiting until after your baby shower to start buying a lot because you never know what you are going to get at your baby shower. NEVER pay full price for baby clothes. Babies grow so fast that they hardly wear their clothes. Places like Kid-to-Kid and Once Upon a Child sell gently used baby clothes and baby items. Be careful though because sometimes their items can be overpriced; I have honestly had better luck shopping at The Children's Place. I have bought several brand new items at The Children's Place for .79 cents. Just wait until they have one of their huge sales and use a 20% off coupon (usually find one online) on top of the sale price to get super cheap items. Also keep watch for bag sales. I paid $15 at Kid-to-Kid and filled a huge bag full of clothing. I came out of there with well over 50 items of clothes. You can also find really cheap baby items at yard sales, yard sale sites on Facebook, and church consignment sales (Churches usually have a sale in the fall and spring). Since babies grow so fast a lot of baby items barely get used and several are in very good condition. Also let your friends know that you will take hand-me-downs if they have any available because for "some reason" everybody wants to give stuff to a baby.

If you are buying new items, shop the sales and bring a coupon with you. Buy gender neutral items such play gyms, swings, pack and play, carseats, etc. Gender neutral items will be easier to sell in the future plus you can save them and reuse them for future children if you are planning on having them. I also recommend buy 2-in-1 items and items that grow with your child. They may be more expensive at the time but you will save money in the long run. We got a bouncer/swing from Target at our baby shower and I don't know what I would do without it. Both of my babies have loved it, it takes up less space than the two individual items would of and it was cheaper than the bouncer and swing would of cost separately.

Do It Yourself (DIY): If you are a crafty person like me then you can make some of your own baby items. It's crazy to pay a fortune on items like a baby mobile or toys when you can just do it yourself for a lot cheaper. I have made a variety of items for my children from toys to wall decor to taggie blankets and crib mobiles. I have even been taking their pictures and editing them myself since they were born. If you aren't that crafty, it's ok because there are tons of tutorials out there on how to do things. You can refurbish old furniture for the nursery, make your own wipes, baby food, baby soaps, toys, etc... you would be surprised on what DIY baby tutorials you can find.

Coupons: You should never have to pay full price for anything. I have yet to come across a baby item that I needed that didn't have a coupon I could use. Stores like Buy Buy Baby and Babies R Us will mail you store coupons every once in a while for discounts on there items. If you search the internet you can usually find coupons for diapers, wipes, and other baby items as well. Another way to get coupons is to contact companies and ask them to send you coupons. I have gotten coupons from telling companies how much I liked there products and have gotten coupons for telling them what was wrong with there product. Also take advantage of stores that have coupon apps like Target's Cartwheel app and Kroger. Some stores like Target and Kroger will also have deals where if you spend so much in baby items you will get a $5 -$10 coupon/gift card to use on your next purchase. Stock Up on sales. This will save you money in the long run. If you wait until you run out of diapers you will end up paying more for diapers because they will most likely be full price and you will of forgotten a coupon.

Day Care and Babysitters: Day care and babysitters can be expensive. I have heard of people paying upwards of $80 just to go to the movies which I think is crazy. Parents need a night out here and there but they shouldn't have to pay a fortune for it. To save on babysitters, you can set up a rotation with other couples. Basically each couple takes a turn watching the other's kids for free so they can have a night out. Another way to save on a babysitter is to ask your parents or a close relatives because they will most likely do it for free, after all Grandparents are usually excited to see/watch their grand-babies. Finding a full-time babysitter that comes to your house or watches a few kids out of their house is going to be a lot cheaper than daycare but if you have to go with a day care then look around and read reviews on them. You can also get government assistance based off your salary for daycare if you make under a certain salary.

I hope this blog helps you when it comes to saving money during your pregnancy and after your baby arrives. A lot of people don't realize just how expensive a baby can be until they have one of their own, after all, every penny counts!!!

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Wedding Olympics aka Beer Olympics



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Last fall my husband and I were both in a wedding. Since he was the best man and I was a bridesmaid, we both decided to throw a pre-bachelor/bachelorette party with just the bridal party. The night before the bachelor and bachelorette party took place, we invited the bridal party out to the house to play Wedding Olympics: Bridesmaids vs. Groomsmen. My husband and I decided on eleven different drinking games, bought the supplies and supplied the alcohol for the bride and groom only, BYOB for the rest of the bridal party. I also made a cute little score board to keep track of who won what game. Team Groom ended up winning by one point but they cheated on at least two different games so technically Team Bride should of won but oh well, everybody had fun so that's all that matters! I apologize that there aren't any pictures to show you how to play the games but we forgot because we were having too much fun playing games!

I have attached a PDF of the supplies and game directions below if you would like to print them out for game day. If the attachment doesn't work, feel free to copy and paste the directions into a word document to print out. I hope you guys have as much fun as we did playing the games and no drinking and driving!



Wedding Olympics
The Bride & Groom must participate in EVERY game!

Supplies:

  • 100+ Red Solo Cups
  • Enough Ping-Pong Balls for everybody participating
  • 8+ Ice Cube Trays (they are 2 for $1 at the Dollar Tree)
  • 8+ Straws (one for each ice tray)
  • 2 Plastic Water Pitchers
  • 2 Baseball Bats
  • Eggs
  • Baby Bottles
  • Beer/Alcohol 
  • Score Board (I used a poster board and sharpies to make mine but you can do it anyway you want)

Drinking Game Directions: 11 games


Beer Pong:
Arrange ten red solo cups in a pyramid-like formation on each side of the table and fill each cup with the desired amount of beer/water/alcohol. Each team will take turns throwing a ping-pong ball into the other team’s cups. Once a ball lands in a cup, the cup is taken away and the opponent drinks the contents of the cup. If both teammates hit cups, the balls are rolled back and they get to shoot again. If both the ping-pong balls land in the same cup, it is game over. The team that successfully makes all of the opponent’s cups wins the game. There are several variations of beer pong so discuss the “house rules” such as bouncing, swatting, rearrangement of cups, etc… before you begin the game.

Flip Cup:
Fill a red solo cup ¼ full with beer. Starting at one end of the table, the first member of each team chugs his beer. As soon as the cup is empty, the player puts it face up on the edge of the table (leave a little bit of the cup hanging off the table) and using only one hand, tries to flip the cup so it lands face down. Once the cup lands face down, the next person on the team can go. The team the successfully chugs and flips all of their cups first wins.

Canoe Races:
All team members kneel at the table in front of an ice cube tray full of beer.  At the whistle, the entire team sucks up the beer from their individual ice tray through a provided straw.  Once you finish your tray step back from the table and place your hands behind your back. First team to finish all the ice trays wins.

Olympic Torch Relay:
Fill a pitcher with 4 cups of beer.  Each team stands in a line and the first person is handed the pitcher.  The first person in line drinks as much of the beer as possible and passes the pitcher to the next player and so forth.  The last player must finish whatever beer is left in the pitcher.  You cannot pass the pitcher again once it reaches the final player.  
  • Spilling all over yourself and on your shirt can be penalized
  • Vomiting is not permitted during the game, but allowed directly following the game

Dizzy Bat:
Each team stands in a line. When it is your turn, you chug a beer then run to your team’s bat that is placed across the lawn. Spin around the bat three times and then run back to your team’s line. Each member of the team must compete. The quickest team to complete the race wins.

Egg Toss:
Each player pairs up with a partner from his or her team. Partners line up across from each other. Start about a foot away and toss the egg to your partner with your right hand while you are holding a beer in your left. After everyone has completed that first toss, take a few steps back and toss the egg to your partner. Keep taking steps back until your egg breaks. Once your egg breaks, you are out of the game and have to chug your beer. The tossing continues until one pair is left.

Hungry, Hungry Hippo:
The rules are very close to the board game, Hungry, Hungry Hippos. Spread out a ton of red solo cups on a table and fill each cup ¼ way with beer. All players stand around the table. Each player simultaneously attempts to bounce their own ping-pong ball into one of the cups. When a player makes a cup, he or she must take the cup and drink it before they can continue bouncing the ping-pong ball again. The game ends when all cups have been removed. The team with the most empty cups in the end wins.

Boat Race:
Pour a beer into a red solo cup and line up, sitting down on the ground. Once everyone is seated with their drink the judge will start the race with “Racers ready! 3-2-1 Drink!” When the race has begun, the first racer on each team begins to drink his or her beer. When the first racer has completely finished his or her beer they put the empty cup upside down on their head. Once the first player has their cup firmly on their head the second player starts to chug their drink. The race continues in this manner until all the beers have been finished, the first team to finish their beers and place their cups on their head wins.
  •      You must keep the cups on your head for entire game.

Best Sucker Contest:
Fill baby bottles to the 2 oz. mark with your choice of alcohol. Everyone must suck the baby bottle empty. First team to finish their bottles is the winners!

Civil War:
3 players on each team set up 4 cups in a diamond in front of them on a table. Throw the ball across the table at any of your opponent’s diamonds and try to make it in the cups. If one of your cups is made you must drink it before you are able to shoot again. Once a player's 4 cups have been made he or she is out of the game and their teammates must continue to play. The last person with cups still on the table wins the game. 
  • Bounce shots do not count
  • If you accidently block a ball that is coming at your cups while reaching for another ball or what not you must drink one of your cups
  • You CAN all shoot at one player's cups if you want
  • If 2 balls are made in the same cup before the player picks it up and drinks it he must take another one of his cups to drink

 NOTE: You can also set the cups up in a triangle of 3 instead of 4.  3 cups per player.

Battleship:
Each team sets up 50 cups on either side of the table in a 5 x 10 square formation. Strategically choose your “battleships.” Out of the 50 cups, designate four battleships: one with five cups, one with four, one with three, and one with two. Fill up the battleships with something different (use food coloring to dye beer if needed) and the rest of the cups with beer. Amount poured in each cup should be a little less than you would use for beer pong. Each team takes a turn trying to sink the other team’s battleships with the ping-pong balls. If a cup is made, you must drink it and take away the cup. If part of a battleship is sunk, yell, “hit”, drink the cup and put the cup back on the table upside down so the other team knows where to keep shooting in hopes of sinking your battleship. The first team to sink all their opponents battleships wins.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A to Z Wedding Anniversary Date Book

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My husband and I recently celebrated our one year wedding anniversary. For our anniversary I had decided I was going to start a new tradition by making him an A to Z Dating Book which worked out perfect because the traditional gift for one year of marriage is paper!


To make the A to Z Date book you will need:

  • A cute little notebook (I bought mine at Walmart for $4)
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • A couple pictures of the two of you
  • Magazine numbers and letters - optional 
  • Time 


This book took some time and planning to make.  Yes I could of just printed off and pasted everything into it or skipped the whole magazine numbers and letters (Q and Z are hard to find) but I wanted it to be more personal, after all I plan on this notebook lasting our entire relationship so it shouldn't be anything tacky.

How To:

1. First I decorated the cover of my A to Z Date book. This step is of course optional if you have a really fancy or cute cover you would like to keep as is but if not then you can put whatever you want on the cover. I printed out the alphabet (A to Z) that says I love you in it, mated it to some paper and taped it to the cover using clear box tape.

2. The first page in my A to Z Date book is the cover page. It basically has the title of the book, our names and anniversary on it.

3. Next is a page showing three important dates in our relationship along with a picture from each of the three dates: When we started dating, When we got engaged and When we said "I Do".



4. For the next couple pages I made a list of 10 Reasons I'm glad I married my husband along with a few of our wedding pictures; after all, this is a wedding anniversary gift so I thought it was only appropriate to let my husband know why I love him and married him! Sorry I'm not going to share the 10 reasons with you because I want you to make your reasons personal to your relationship and not copy mine lol


5. I then wrote a cute saying I came across along with a print out of all the Anniversary Gifts by Year that I found on the internet. This list included the Modern, Traditional and Flowers that match up to that year. I don't know if we will always get gifts to go with the year but I figured it could come in handy, after all we both gave paper gifts this year.

Saying: "Love is not about how much you say I Love You but how much you prove that it's true"

Wedding anniversary gift by year

6. Next is the direction page to explain how the A to Z Date book is going to work along with a list of  some A to Z date ideas incase you get stuck in the future. I found this list on the internet and printed it out.

Directions:  Here’s how it works…. the A to Z Anniversary tradition goal is to plan everything about your wedding anniversaries around the letter that goes with that year. Your first anniversary letter  is A, your second anniversary letter is B and so on until you reach the letter Z (26 years). Once you make it all the way through the alphabet you can choose to start over with A or wait and celebrate the bigger anniversaries like 30, 40, 50, and 60. Be creative with where you go, what you eat and what you do. Don’t forget to take a picture and write it down in this awesome notebook!

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7.  It is now time to start on the alphabet pages. For these I combined the all about the letter dates with the ABC's of why I love you. I used magazine numbers and letters to help the letters and anniversary numbers stand out from my writing.

Here is the order I put everything in:
      - Letter with a reason why I love my husband (A to Z)
      - Where we went: This can be anything from the name of a town to the name of a restaurant
      - What we ate: Any food or beverage you had that starts with that letter
      - What we did: Activities you did (check A to Z date idea page for ideas)
      - Gifts: Gifts you gave each other. These do not have to match the letter.
      - Anniversary #

Leave the page across from it open so you can add a picture or pictures from your anniversary date. I also recommend typing everything up in a word document before you create this book. That way you know everything is spelled right and you can easily change it before you write it if you decide you want to use a different word/reason you love them.

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A few examples of the pages

I gave my husband the A to Z Date book a few days early so we could plan out our date together but I had made an insert with my "All about A" date ideas just incase he wasn't up for an early gift.

For our "All about A" date aka our first anniversary we went putt putt golfing at Adventure Falls then out to eat at Applebee's where we ordered an Appetizer and Alcoholic Beverage with our meal. After dinner we watched Pitch Perfect 2 staring Anna Kendrick. As far as gifts go, I made him this awesome notebook and he made me a dozen beautiful paper carnations with coupons on the petals.  As far as gifts go, I made him this awesome notebook and he made me a dozen beautiful paper carnations with coupons on the petals. Our "All about A" date turned out pretty well and we can't wait until next year when we start planning our "All about B" date.

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8. After I finished all of the alphabet pages I glued a bunch of I Love You's to the back of the Z page. I then wrote a letter (not pictured) to my husband about things I think may happen over the next 26 years, how we stuck it out,  how I still love him, etc... and ended it with the saying, "And I thought I loved you then".

My husband loved this gift and we can't wait to go on the other 25+ dates and come up with creative date ideas. Make this book your own and customize it with different things you love about your husband to better suit your relationship.


Check out some of our other Alphabet Dates:

Monday, July 6, 2015

Food Ideas: Feeding a One Year Old


My baby girl just turned one and a half and boy can she eat. I miss the good old days when I could give her some breastmilk or open a jar of veggies or fruit and be done, but since she turned one the pediatricians are like no more booby milk, no more baby food start her on whole milk and finger foods but no peanut butter, no fish, no meats, no sugar, no salt and the list of nos' goes on and on so we are left with the question, What can my one year old eat? and if you are at all like me you will go through the whole trial and error process trying to figure out what your one year old likes and doesn't like. I literally went out and bought a mini hand broom to keep under the highchair for fast clean up. Plus my baby girl didn't start getting teeth until after she was one so it's hard to feed her certain things since she can't really chew them yet. I felt like I was feeding her the same three meals all the time so I tried to come up with more ideas to feed her. This list is geared toward the early stages of one. Once your child gets closer to two and has more teeth, they will be able to eat a lot more items.

 Here are a few food ideas you can feed your one year old:

Drinks:

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  • Whole Milk- at least 2 cups a day
  • Water
  • Juice (75% water, 25% juice) Too much straight juice can burn their private parts at this age so wait till they are more of a toddler for straight juice.
  • Fruit Smoothies - made with real fruit and yogurt

Breakfast:

  • Dry cereal - Kix, Berry Kix, Cheerios, Multigrain Cheerios, Lucky Charms-easy on the marshmallows, Dora cereal, Fruit Loops, etc...  Add milk ONLY when your child is ready and good with a spoon, probably closer to 2
  • Oatmeal
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Muffins - the Little Bites muffin packets are great for the go and they are bite sized
  • Pancakes-no syrup
  • Waffles
  • Bagels
  • Toast
  • Nutri-grain Bars
  • Pop-tarts - I know pop tarts aren't that heathy but it is something different you can give to your child every once in a while. I only allow my daughter to have the fruit pop tarts, ½ to 1 pop tart at a time with cereal.

Main Dish:

  • Spaghettios
  • Spaghettios with Meatballs
  • Ravioli 
  • Spaghetti
  • Pasta
  • Mac-n-Cheese
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • PB&J Sandwich
  • Oatmeal
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Chicken and Dumplings
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Beans
  • Meat Sticks- Baby Food aisle 
  • Hot Dog - cut into small pieces, #1 cause of choking in infants
  • Ground Beef
  • Rice
  • Stir Fry- rice, peas, carrots, egg
  • Ham and Turkey lunch meat broken into small pieces
  • Ham squares- the ones on a salad bar
  • Shredded Chicken- we sometimes use the can chicken when cooking because it shreds into tiny pieces so she can easily eat it

Fruit: at least 1 cup a day

  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Grapes 
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Blackberries - messy and can stain
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Melon
  • Plums
  • Apples
  • Apple Sauce
  • Avocado
  • Yogurt
  • Cucumber
  • Pickles
  • Fruit cups
  • Canned Fruit Melody

Vegetables: at least ¾ cup a day

  • Frozen Mixed Vegetable Bag- Defrost handfuls at a time
  • Green Beans
  • Peas
  • Cooked Carrots
  • Corn
  • Broccoli Heads- not steams 
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Scalloped Potatoes
  • Black Olives

Meat/Beans aka Protein: at least 1½ oz a day (1 egg)

  • Beans
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Meat Sticks- Baby Food aisle 
  • Vienna Sausages - cut into small pieces, cheaper than the baby meat sticks, dissolves about the same and has the same amount of protein as the baby meat sticks.
  • Ground Beef
  • Ham or Turkey lunch meat broken into small pieces
  • Ham squares- the ones on a salad bar
  • Shredded Chicken- we sometimes use the can chicken when cooking because it shreds into tiny pieces so it is easy to eat it

Breads & Grains: at least 2oz a day, at least ½ should be whole grain

  • Wheat Bread slice
  • Rolls
  • Biscuits
  • Toast
  • Cereal- Cheerios and Kix are my kids favorites
  • Crackers- Ritz or Saltine
  • Goldfish
  • Cheese-Its
  • Animal Crackers
  • Graham Crackers
  • Teddy Grahams 
  • Quaker Popped Rice Crisps- the apple cinnamon ones are softer than blueberry ones
  • Oatmeal
  • Muffins
  • Pancakes-no syrup
  • Waffles
  • Bagels
  • Nutri-grain Bar
  • Pasta
  • Chicken Flavored Noodles
  • Rice

Snacks:

  • Goldfish
  • Cheese-Its
  • Cheese Puffs / Cheese Balls
  • Crackers- Ritz or Saltine
  • Animal Crackers
  • Graham Crackers
  • Teddy Grahams 
  • Quaker Popped Rice Crisps- the apple cinnamon ones are softer than blueberry ones
  • Cubbed Cheese
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Raisins
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Nutri-grain Bar
  • Yogurt- Go-gurts are less messy
  • Welch's Fruit Snack Gummies- Real Fruit, break in half
  • Gerber Graduates Snacks: Yogurt bites, puffs, lil crunchies 
  • Homemade Yogurt Melts

Try to stay away from:

Nuts, Popcorn, Seafood, Hot Dogs, Hard Candy, Marshmallows, Seeds, Gum, Raisins, Salt, Sugar, Peanut Butter, Most Meats, Gummies, Fries, etc... mainly because these foods are harder to chew and can lead to chocking.

***At least wait until your child has more teeth and are closer to age two to try things like Hot dogs, chicken, nuts, raisins, gummies and peanut butter.

If you feed them meats make sure that it is shredded into small pieces making it easier to swallow. The same goes with gummies and fries. I cut or break up almost everything I feed my daughter from fruit to bread to avoid choking because she still doesn't have a lot of teeth.

I have fed my daughter meat, gummies, and fries occasionally but I try my best to listen to the pediatrician and stay away from these foods but that is my parenting choice so more power to you if you want to!!!

Keep in mind that every child is different and will like different foods just like we do. Also make sure that your baby gets at least 2 cups of milk, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and protein each day to keep them healthy and growing! I hope this helps when trying to decide what to feed your one year old!


NOTE: I am not a doctor, pediatrician, or a food specialist. This list is based off of items I feed my daughter and know that one year olds are aloud to eat.

***Check out another one of my blogs: 10 Tips on getting a Picky Eater to Eat


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