BG Area Mothers of Multiples

a small glimpse in our unique journey…our real-life journey

Online Sources of Information October 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — bgmoms @ 2:42 pm

Having multiples is definitely unique…unique in its many joys, and also unique in some of its challenges.

I am so thankful to have a group of other mothers of multiples to share in these trials and triumphs.  In addition to becoming a part of our local community of MoMs, I’ve also found some great online sources for information and support, as well.

Multiples and More Blog Network

Daily posts relating to many aspects of raising multiples (and kids in general).  There are expert interviews, product reviews and giveaways, and editorials on a variety of topics from other MoMs.  There are also periodic craft ideas, money-saving tips, and recipes…all with multiples in mind.  I venture over to this site almost every day, and more often than not, I find something relevant to my family.

How Do You Do It Blog Network

Posts once or twice a week from other MoMs.  Most posts relate a specific experience (like transitioning multiples from cribs to toddler beds, for example), and pose a question to solicit advice from other MoMs (hence, “how do YOU do it?”).  I think this is a great forum to view others’ experiences…and also to add your own, if you’d like.

Twiniversity

An online network, primarily via the Big Tent online group site.  This is another great forum for discussion, as there is a lot of traffic from other MoMs.  For me, this has been the best place to post a question to a large group and get numerous responses.  There are also “Question of the Day / Week” posts on topics relevant to raising multiples, and a product review database.  (You have to be a member of Twiniversity to participate in the forum discussions…the above link will take you to the free sign-up page.)

NOMOTC Facebook Group

I primarily visit this page for links to articles in the news relating to multiples.  Some MoMs post questions on the site, as well, but my experience is that the traffic does not provide as valuable a forum as the Twiniversity site.

And if you’re in the mood for a little twin- / triplet- / quad- humor…check out “The Dumbest Comments About Multiples” group on Facebook.  I drop in once a month or so for a guaranteed laugh.  I usually find myself nodding my head at something that’s also been said to me, or shaking my head in disbelief at a new line some poor MoM has weathered.

Do you have any online sources to add to the list?

Mandy

 

October Meeting Recap October 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — bgmoms @ 3:15 am

The focus of our October meeting was “Cutting Your Grocery Bill”…and with our families having grown exponentially when our multiples were born, who couldn’t benefit from a few cost-saving tips?!

We discussed three primary facets of cost savings, stockpiling, meal planning, and couponing.

STOCKPILING

Buy staple goods at the best prices, ideally combining store sales with coupons to yield maximum savings.  Maintain a stockpile of these staple goods in your pantry / freezer to supply your family’s needs until the next time the item goes on sale.  Use an In/Out inventory sheet to keep track of what you have and what you need.

Utilize your freezer to stockpile many perishable items, including tomato-based sauces, pesto, beaten eggs, shredded cheese, butter, fresh herbs, and many fruits and veggies.  Flash-freeze fruits and veggies to use them most efficiently.

Other freezer tips…freeze single-usage portions; double-bag your food and make sure it’s air tight; and label each bag with contents and date.

MEAL PLANNING

Use meal planning to most efficiently utilize your stockpiled goods.  Not only does meal planning simplify your life and allow you to plan well-balanced meals, it helps you avoid unnecessary purchases, and ultimately save more money.

Create a list of go-to meals as your personal reference, and plan your weekly / monthly meals around what goods you have stockpiled, as well as what’s on sale.

COUPONING

There are multiple sources for manufacturers’ coupons…in the Sunday paper, online from coupon insert sources and manufacturers’ websites, by calling manufacturers to ask questions / report issues (it will be worth the five minutes of your time!).  For store coupons…sign up for affinity card programs where you shop, register your contact information online, collect register rewards (that print out with your receipt), and consider if a store credit card makes sense for you.

There are a few “tricks” of the coupon trade…coupons are usually not specific to the product pictured, but often can be applied to the larger brand / product category; at most retailers, store coupons can be used in addition to manufacturers’ coupons to maximize savings; take advantage of gift card offers for buying a certain number of packages / total expenditure.

Know the coupon policies for the stores where you shop…Walmart and Target match other stores’ sale prices, for example; and Kroger doubles coupons up to $.50.  Know the product categories that frequently have coupons – like lotion and toothpaste.  When paired with a store sale, you may be able to get these FREE!

Develop a coupon filing system that works for you…either the traditional clip and file method; or save the entire coupon insert from the paper and use an online coupon database to allow you to clip only the coupons you will use.

It takes some time upfront to implement these cost-savings techniques…but if you’re consistent and patient, you should be able to cut your grocery bill substantially.

RESOURCES 

www.faithfulprovisions.com – a one-stop shop for details on all these ideas, and so much more!  Check out this site for a fantastic coupon database, hot deals at most of our local stores, “how-to” resources, recipes…go see for yourselves!

Other helpful sites for cost-cutting tips and information on the hottest deals:

www.freebies2deals.com

www.totallytarget.com

www.moneysavingmom.com

www.stretchingabuckblog.com

www.myfrugaladventures.com

Great recipe sites to aid in meal-planning, allowing you to match what ingredients you have on-hand to various recipe options:

www.allrecipes.com

www.epicurious.com

Key manufacturers’ websites for lots ‘o coupons:

www.pgeverydaysolutions.com

www.kraft.com

www.scjohnson.com

www.bettycrocker.com

www.generalmills.com

Happy savings!!!

 

An Indispensable Baby Item…for FREE! October 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — bgmoms @ 3:44 am

Since our girls were born, I’ve had a number of friends and acquaintances ask me what my “must have” baby items are. 

While I certainly have my favorite baby blankets and lullaby CD’s from the girls’ first few months, the real lifesaver for me over the past year has been teaching the girls the basics of baby sign language.

Our girls began signing around 10 months old.  Today, at 21 months old, although they are developing a pretty sizeable vocabulary, they still sign certain words and phrases.  Having had this experience with our girls, I am a big proponent of baby sign language helping to reduce the frustration that many infants and toddlers experience at not being able to communicate their needs and wants.  And it’s also allowed for so much fun interaction.

I used the book “Baby Signs: How to Talk with Your Baby Before Your Baby Can Talk” as a guide.  Jenny posted a few months ago about her success using the “Baby Signing Time” video series.

While I usually appreciate an old-fashioned hand-held reference book, you really don’t have to spend any money to take advantage of the benefits of baby sign language.

You can get an overview of baby sign language, as well as access a dictionary of basic signs, on http://www.babysignlanguage.com/.

Here’s the general methodology I followed:

  • Identify a couple of key phrases to focus on.  For me, those were “all done”, which I hoped would tell me when to stop coaxing the girls to eat their broccoli, and “sleep”, which I hoped would help avoid meltdowns from overtired babies. 
  • Be consistent with using the sign every time you say the word or phrase.  Starting when they were about eight months old, every time the girls would finish eating, I would declare, “All done!” I would make the sign, and I would physically move their hands to make the sign, as well.  I consistently did this until they eventually caught on, around 10 months old. 
  • Gradually expand the sign language vocabulary, using the most common words to the baby’s environment.  After the girls had been successfully signing for a month or so, I opted to focus on two new words, “ball” (of which we have at least 115 in our den) and “bird”.  Every time I picked up a ball, I would make the sign.  And whenever we observed a bird through the window, or as we were walking in the neighborhood, I would flap my arms.  I’m sure I looked a little nutty to the unindoctrinated, but the girls began to incorporate these signs after a couple of weeks.  They would just beam when I would interpret their sign correctly.

We continued in this fashion, adding new words every couple of weeks.   

Teaching the girls sign language did take some perseverance in the beginning, but after they got the first couple of signs under their belts onesies, things seemed to evolve very easily.

Mandy