Category: Family Life

Top 10 Healthy and Cheap Snacks Your Kids Will Love

cheap snacksPreparing cheap, healthy snacks for your kids can be difficult. With 1 in 3 children obese or overweight, preparing a balanced diet for your kids is more important than ever.

But what ingredients do you use for a healthy snack?

Here are our top 10 healthy and cheap snacks your kids will love.

Sweet Potatoes

A great choice for fun snacks for kids is sweet potatoes. Not only are they packed with vitamins, but there are plenty of different ways to prepare them.

While it may be difficult to convince kids to stay away from traditional french fries, the nutrients sweet potatoes bring their diet are worth it. With so many different ways to prepare your sweet potatoes, you’re sure to find a recipe that your kids will love.

Sweet potatoes can work well with any diet. Whether it’s vegetarian or paleo, you can still enjoy sweet potatoes.

Whether they’re fried, baked, or pureed, there are plenty ways to enjoy sweet potatoes.

Smoothies

If you’re looking for a great snack for the summertime, look no further. Smoothies are an excellent choice that will keep your kids cool and healthy.

There are a lot of different ways to make a smoothie. Trying out these new recipes and combinations can be fun for kids.

With a little bit of low-fat yogurt, some orange juice, and a banana, you have a solid base for your smoothies.

From here, you can experiment with different fruits, vegetables, and even grains to create a delicious and nutritious treat for your kids.

Whole Grain Cereal

Another fun snack for you try is whole grain cereal. Whether you just want an easy breakfast meal or a fun mid-day snack, whole grain cereals can give your kids the energy they need to get through the day.

Whole grain cereals provide energy and nutrients to keep your kids’ brains and bodies healthy.

Start their day off right with a little bit of cereal, some low-fat milk, and some fruit. Or use some yogurt to make some flavorful snack bars.

With the right recipe, you can put together a healthy snack loaded with different vitamins and nutrients.

Hummus

If you’re looking for an alternative for dipping your snacks, hummus is the solution you’ve been waiting for.

The pureed chickpea mixture can add texture and flavor to your snacks. In addition to tasting great, hummus is also rich in many different vitamins. But how should you serve it?

There are many creative ways to incorporate hummus into your snacks. Not only does it work well as a dip for your chips, crackers, and vegetables but it can also be used on sandwiches. While hummus has a thicker, paste-like consistency, it’s not as messy as other dips.

Cheese

A popular protein-packed snack for your kids to try is cheese.

Kids love cheese in all shapes, sizes, and forms. With the right recipe, you can create the perfect snack.

Cheese can be one of the most healthy and fun choices for a snack. The key nutrients it provides gives kids energy and can help build stronger bones.

Using full fat or 2% cheese can help keep your kids full until dinner. But it’s important not to give them too much cheese, or they may get sick.

Whether they’re cut into fun shapes or simple cubes, cheese can be a fun snack that kids can enjoy with their hands.

Quesadillas

Snacks with lots of different options are always the most fun. Quesadillas can help keep your kids feeling full until dinner and make sure they’re getting the nutrients they need to get through the day.

There are so many different ways to prepare a quesadilla. It’s important to always have a recipe that’s balanced and healthy. But what ingredients should you use?

Quesadillas are healthy and fun snacks because of the different ways you can make them. Using a combination of meats, beans, and vegetables make these snacks filling and nutritious.

With a little bit of salsa, some cheese, and a helping of beans, your kids will have a filling, energizing snack.

Peanut Butter

Much like hummus, peanut butter is another great spread to add to your snacks. Whether it’s used as a dip or a spread, peanut butter is a great choice for giving your snacks some substance.

Peanut butter is a versatile treat. There are plenty of ways to use it, whether it’s with something sugary or salty.

Because peanut butter is such a beloved childhood snack, it’s important to try to change your recipes up to make things interesting. Instead of the average PB and J, try using waffles or rice cakes.

There a lot of different ways to prepare a peanut butter snack. Because of this, the snacking possibilities are virtually endless.

Snack Mix

Another nutty snack that’s great for your kids is snack mix. Snack mixes are a combination of nuts, fruits, and sweets that are both delicious and healthy.

There are many different ingredients you can use to prepare a snack mix. Typically, nuts are used as a base to provide protein.

Finding the right nuts to use for your snack mix can be tricky. Whether you want normal peanuts, tree nuts, or shelled nuts, it’s good to figure out what will pair well with your recipe. Click here for more nuts to choose from.

When paired with fruits and sweets, snack mixes can taste great and provide kids with lots of nutrition.

Eggs

Eggs are another flexible ingredient to use in your snacks. The protein-rich snack can be prepared many different ways and is great for any time of the day.

While it’s most popular for breakfast, eggs can be served at any time. Whether they’re fried or hard-boiled, eggs can give kids the perfect balance of flavor and nutrients.

Noodles

Noodles are a quick snack that can provide kids with some carbs. When paired with sauces with vegetables, noodles can be a well-rounded snack for your kids.

While too much pasta could be bad, they can be great in limited quantities. When combined with sauces and cheese, noodles can provide them with a perfect balance of nutrients and flavor.

Preparing Cheap Snacks

Snacks are important for keeping your kids happy. Because of this, these snacks also should be healthy.

Finding a balance between cheap and healthy snacks is always tricky. But the first step to preparing healthy snacks is picking the right ingredients. Check out our blog for more tips and tricks for cooking healthy snacks.

10 Strategies to Help a Child Coping with Divorce

child coping with divorce

Divorce isn’t easy on anyone, but this is especially true for children. Everyone in a family feels the stress of loss and anxiety when life as they know it changes. But in order for parents to be the most helpful for their kids, they need to work for it.

We carry around our own emotions, especially guilt felt towards our children.

But divorce is nothing to be ashamed of. It happens.

Children do better when they can have each parent alone in a healthy, happy environment. In order to start really helping your child, you need to be at peace with it yourself.

Here are a few ways you can help a child coping with divorce.

1. Be Straightforward and Keep It Simple

Both parents should discuss together how they are going to approach the situation, when possible. It’s a good idea to handle the discussion of divorce together.

When you come together to tell your children the decision you’ve made, you’re making it known that you’re still a team. Try to let them know that you will still work together on the important things. You’ll both show up to their school functions and that it won’t change how you feel about them.

Keep this talk age appropriate, and try not to let your emotions get in the way. If you think for whatever reason you and your spouse won’t be able to handle the conversation without an emotional outburst, handle it separately.

Answer their questions honestly and as a team, whenever possible.

2. Tell Them They’re Loved

It is so important that you spend as much time and effort as you can making sure your child knows that they have your love. A divorce can wreck a child’s self-confidence, and now more than ever they need to hear how both of their parents are there for them, no matter where they live.

It’s also a good idea to reinforce how much the other spouse loves them too. In order to heal appropriately, they’ll need to hear and believe that both of their parents love them and are there to support them. This might be difficult, especially if you’re dealing with a less-than-reliable spouse, but don’t let up.

3. Talk About Emotions

When you’re talking to your child, it’s important to tell them how natural their feelings are. Explain that it is normal to feel sad and angry and that you’re always going to be there to talk about it with them.

Encourage an open dialogue with you and show how you accept all of their feelings. Kids who spend a lot of time lost in their thoughts and feelings do this because they don’t want to upset their parents. You can counteract this by frequently checking in and asking how they feel.

Likewise, never make your child feel irrational for these thoughts or feelings. If your spouse is being unreliable, it’s important that they can express that frustration in a healthy, productive way. Failure to acknowledge these feelings can lead to acting out in the future.

4. Make Sure They Know It Isn’t Their Fault

Children are ecocentric. This means that they believe they are the source of what happens in the world. This is especially true in a divorce.

It’s common for a child to believe that their behavior or thoughts caused a bad event to happen. They need to know that this decision has nothing to do with them and that it was based entirely on your decision as adults.

5. Don’t Insult The Other Parent

Even when you’re angry, avoid talking badly about the other parent. It’s not a good idea to pass blame around in front of your children. This is hard, especially in cases of divorce due to adultery.

But children love and need both of their parents and this behavior can quickly lead them to feel as though they need to pick a side. This can shut down an open dialogue.

A child is a combination of both of their parents. When you disrespect the other side, children can often feel as though they are the ones being spoken down to. Make sure that they feel as though both of their parents are valuable.

Do not, under any circumstances, fight in front of your kids. When you need to have a heated conversation, it needs to take place on the phone when your children aren’t around. The most poorly adjusted kids of divorce are the ones who are still exposed to fighting between parents.

Often, one of the main reasons for separation is that parents can’t stop fighting and it’s bad for the children. Do not continue this behavior after a separation.

6. Lots of Advance Notice

One earth-shattering moment to a child is when one of their parents move out unexpectedly. Make sure you give your child advance notice before one of you moves away from the home.

A great way to start is by letting your children visit the new place their parent will be staying. If possible, show them where they will sleep and eat. Talk them through some of their routines and show them how things will work.

It’s also a great idea to let the children help furnish the apartment and choose some of their belongings to bring over. Make your child feel at home wherever they will be staying.

7. Therapy

It can be very beneficial to work with a parenting expert or a therapist with experience in dealing with divorce. A therapist can help guide you in dealing with anything out of the ordinary or especially difficult that arises.

Children can also benefit immensely from talking to a therapist on their own. When a third party is involved, they can feel free to express the feelings they have that they think are hurtful to their parents.

It’s common for separated partners to disagree about whether or not their child needs therapy. It’s also normal to blame each other for your child’s distress.

Even if you think your child is having more trouble with their other parent, try not to jump to conclusions. Kids express parts of themselves differently in each house.

If you notice that your child isn’t eating or sleeping normally, or that their sadness is persistent over a period of weeks, it’s a good idea to consider therapy.

Likewise, if they lash out a lot and it is interfering with their normal activities, talk to the other parent about coming to an agreement on therapy. If you’re not sure, it’s always important to be safe rather than sorry.

8. Accept Your Child’s Actions

Your child is going to need a lot of time, support, and open communication to heal from this wound. When a family is going through a divorce, it’s common for children to act out, withdraw, and regress.

Some children wet the bed and refuse to listen. This is all normal, common behavior. You need to be there to understand and support them during this tumultuous time in their lives.

Over time, this will go away. Your child will adapt to the changes in their lives. Consider planning some family events that they love and help them feel as though their life will go on.

9. Be Consistent

Consistency and routine go a long way toward providing a child with comfort and familiarity. Whenever you can, give your child a lot of advance notice about any changes and stick to a schedule.

Kids will benefit immensely from one on one time with each parent. No matter how hard it might be, try to be accommodating with your ex-partner as you decide on a regular, consistent visitation schedule.

As much as you can, work together to keep routines similar in both houses. This includes discipline, bedtimes, rules, and homework.

You can’t enforce rules in your ex-partner’s house but stick to them in yours. Don’t relax limits, but understand when children want to push boundaries.

10. Take Care of Yourself

During this time, get help dealing with your own feelings about the divorce. When you are able to adjust properly, your child will be able to eventually do so too.

You are a model for your children’s behavior. Be patient with yourself and in turn with your child. Healing from this emotional loss and pain will take time and comes in phases.

The sooner you are able to heal, the sooner they will too.

Helping a Child Coping With Divorce

There is no doubt that divorce is hard on everyone. But as long as you continue to make your children feel loved by both parents involved, they will grow. Work together with your spouse to create a stable, calm environment and over time they will find that everything has become a routine in this new family dynamic.

For more information on handling a child coping with divorce, and all other aspects of mom life, check out the blog! You’re not in this alone.

10 Affordable Baby Clothing Ideas You Need to Try

affordable baby clothing

Raising a baby is far from easy. It’s also far from cheap.

Even if you’re pinching pennies and not yet investing in college savings or life insurance for your little one, the first year of your baby’s life is likely to set you back $20,000 or more.

This makes finding ways to save some cash important for all parents, new and experienced alike.

One great way to do this is by learning how to shop for and choose affordable baby clothing. Keep reading to learn 10 great tips for saving on your little one’s clothes.

1. Keep It Neutral

Whether it’s your first child or your third, it can be tough to stop yourself from buying every cute, patterned onesie or colorful pair of leggings you pass in the store.

One brightly colored, trendy onesie might seem harmless enough. But if you’re also tempted to buy pants, socks, shoes, or other items to match, you’re looking at a hefty price tag for a single outfit.

Instead, stick to neutral colors and patterns for the majority of your little one’s clothing. That way, everything matches. Not only will this save money when buying clothes, but it’ll also make it easier to wash the clothes and save you time when it comes to dressing your baby!

2. Don’t Give in to Holiday Outfit Pressure

From Christmas to Easter to birthday parties, it can be tempting to dress up your baby for photos and family gatherings.

But those fancy outfits can also set you back anywhere from $20 to several hundred. And since your growing sprout won’t fit in them the following year, or even the next holiday to come around, you won’t get much use for your money.

Your friends and family are going to think that your little angel looks adorable, no matter what he or she is wearing. So pick something soft and comfortable for passing around your little one, and save your money for other fun holiday ideas!

3. Mix and Match Onesies and Pants

The best baby clothes are also the simplest. Long or short-sleeve onesies in soft fabrics and pants in the same keep your baby comfortable and won’t restrict their range of motion.

But while neutral colors will save you money, adding a little color isn’t a bad thing either. To stay within your budget and add something fun to your little one’s wardrobe, ditch the old rules about what matches and what doesn’t.

Mixing and matching colors and patterns of onesies and pants can be a fun, inexpensive way to brighten your little one’s look without breaking the bank.

4. Skip the Sweaters and Sweatshirts

When the temperature starts to drop, you likely bundle yourself up in sweaters, thermals, coats, and more. First-time parents, in particular, tend to do the same to their little ones.

But if your baby is too small to be walking around in the cold or playing in the snow, you likely won’t be keeping him or her outside for very long. So before you drop a ton of money on sweaters and sweatshirts you’ll take off of them once you get inside or coats that they’ll only wear for a few minutes a day, think again.

You can just as easily dress your little one in his or her normal clothes, and then bundle them in a few blankets to keep out the cold.

5. Buy Big

Babies grow as much as an inch to an inch-and-a-half every month. That cute outfit you bought one month is likely going to be way too small in just a month or two.

While there isn’t much you can do–after all, you want your little one to grow–you can save some cash by buying clothes a bit bigger than your baby’s current size.

6. Save on the Basics So You Can Splurge Elsewhere

If you still want to buy cute outfits and clothes for special events, there are plenty of other ways you can save.

One great way is by saving on the basics. Basics like onesies, sleepers, socks, and leggings don’t vary much among different baby clothing brands.

So skip the expensive options and opt for bulk packs, clearance finds, or bargain brands. That way you can splurge on the cute outfits instead!

One great area to splurge on are accessories like headwraps. These are cute accents for any outfit and can be adjusted so that your baby will get months of wear out of them. Learn more about headwraps here!

7. Don’t Buy Ahead

Maybe you want to snap up that cute winter coat before it sells out at the store, even though it’s still warm outside. Or you want to shop last season’s finds on clearance racks to save some cash.

But buying ahead for clothing for future seasons is a big mistake. If your little one grows faster than expected, you may find yourself with items that are far too small, and that you’ve had too long to return.

When you’re trying to stick to your baby budget, make sure that you’re buying clothing as they are needed, and not a moment sooner.

8. Consider Shopping Secondhand

If you’ve had more than one child, you know that hand-me-downs are a great way to save some money. So why not save some cash by shopping secondhand as well?

Shopping yard sales, secondhand stores, and online shops like eBay are great ways to score great deals on gently-worn baby clothes. After all, no little ones stay one size for long, so it’s likely you’ll find lots of great deals on items that weren’t worn more than a few times.

Just be sure to wash the items before dressing your baby in them.

9. Let Your Little One Go Barefoot

There are few things cuter than tiny baby shoes.

But not only can these be expensive, but your baby also doesn’t really need them. When babies are learning to walk, its best to let them do so inside, barefoot. Shoes can make them unsteady. Plus, like clothing, babies grow out of baby shoes very fast.

10. Choose Unisex Colors and Styles

Planning to have more children after this one? Save yourself some money in the future by choosing mostly unisex colors and styles.

This will make it easy to pass them down to your future babies.

Finding Affordable Baby Clothing

Now that you know a few tips for saving money, it’s time to start shopping for affordable baby clothing for your little one.

Wondering where to start shopping? Check out this list of the best baby clothing companies to help you get started.

3 Common Toddler Sleep Problems (And What To Do About Them)

toddler sleep problems

When is the last time you got a good night’s sleep? Last month, or even last year? There’s a decent chance you’re up late right now searching for answers to toddler sleep problems instead of getting some much needed rest.

If you’re trying to decide whether to laugh or cry at how right I am, then read on. I’m going to give you some tips for helping your toddler through three common sleep issues.

Waking Repeatedly at Night

It may surprise you to know that it’s perfectly normal for toddlers to wake up several times a night. Why does this happen?

One culprit could be the 18 month sleep regression. This is a time when toddlers are developing more skills, exploring more, and have more independence. An expanding world leads to lots of distractions, and even anxiety about sleep.

Establishing and keeping an ideal bedtime with a soothing routine is important to develop long-term sleep behaviors. Over-tiredness contributes to poor sleep.

After dinner, keep evenings quiet and low-energy. No TV, dim the lights and stick to activities like books and puzzles. Winding down in the hour before bed will send signals to little brains that it’s sleep time. It also may be appropriate to cut back the number of naps during the day or move naps to an earlier time.

Bedtime Fears

Does your toddler seem afraid of the dark? Play games during the daytime that involve darkness, like using a flashlight to hunt for toys. You can be with them at first, but encourage their solo play in the dark to build confidence.

A night-light can be a comfort, but make sure to keep it dim. Too much light can actually interrupt the body’s production of melatonin (our natural sleep hormone!)

If it’s nightmares that cause your toddler sleep problems, try to avoid triggers like media with scary themes or characters. Use comfort objects like a soft blanket or favorite stuffed animal to keep stress levels down.

During the day, talk about dreams and pretend. Illustrate with eyes closed, that thinking about an object doesn’t make it real. Draw pictures of their monsters and point out how silly they actually look.

Crying Themselves Sick

A consistent routine is the best advice for calming bedtime tantrums over time, but what if your child is crying to the point of vomiting?

First, reduce liquids at bedtime so there is less to vomit up. Then, put a sheet under the bed liner. When you do have to remove soiled bedding, the bed is already made.

Use a wet wipe to clean your toddler up and save the bath for the morning to create fewer disruptions. Have a sheet on the floor for easy clean-up of any spilled vomit as well. Avoid making the episode more of a production than necessary.

Soothe your child, but have them remain in their bed until they go back to sleep. Keep the clean-up short and sweet so you can focus on comforting them. Make sure you follow this procedure every time until the behavior passes.

Remember: Toddler Sleep Problems Aren’t Forever

Don’t forget to take a breath and relax. You’ll get there.

Bedtime is learned behavior, and the resistance to sleep will pass.

What has helped create successful bedtimes in your household? Let us know in the comments!

Unique Ideas for Your Family Portrait

family photography

Traditional family photography is great, but sometimes, you want something a little more memorable. Looking for unique family photography ideas? Then you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know to get a family portrait that really shows personality. Whether it’s funny, playful, silly, or something else, there are countless ideas that can help your family portrait give the feeling you want.

Keep reading to learn the top ideas for interesting family photography!

1. Use Triangles to Arrange People

Whether your family is large or small, triangles and diagonal lines are a great way to arrange everyone in a way that’s interesting to the eye.

Arranging everyone in squares or rows looks too stiff and formal. For interesting family photography, you’ll need a different technique. The triangle shape is great because it works for any size family.

This shape creates a feeling of closeness since it allows less space between people. Diagonal lines lead the eye from one place to the next, making these photos more visually pleasing for anyone who sees them.

Use height to help make those diagonal lines. Use props like chairs, or have some people sit, stand, or kneel, to create lines between different heights. This pose eliminates the stiff look of standing in rows.

Of course, if you have a large family, you almost need to arrange everyone in triangles. Standing side by side can make it impossible for everyone to fit in the picture!

2. Play With Foreground and Background

Use the setting of your family photography to give the feeling you want. Using depth of field adds creativity and artistry to an image.

Of course, you’ll want a photo where everyone is sharp and focused. However, once you have that shot, try moving things around to give different effects.

Try putting different members of the family at different distances from the camera. This can highlight interesting family dynamics, or give every member their turn in the spotlight. Arrange for a contrast of poses or actions between the foreground and background for a fun, interesting picture.

3. Include Your Pets

What better way to get a great, fun, unexpected photo than to let the pets join in? Furry friends are notoriously bad at posing, which gives that much more potential for a fun, unexpected candid shot.

To get your best photos, shoot in an area that your pet is already familiar with, so they won’t be quite so distracted. Or you can have a play session ahead of time, so they burn off all their excess energy before they need to pose for the camera. (This is great for small children too!)

Bring some treats for your pet to reward them for good behavior. This will make them look forward to future family photography sessions, too. Don’t forget to be sure your pet is clean and groomed – you might want to bring some rags for last-minute cleaning before the photos.

4. Get Playful

Use interaction and playfulness in your photo shoot to get the best image. The candid shots from a play session can make some of the most memorable family portraits.

Choose a picturesque setting, so the background of the photo is beautiful. You might use a favorite park or another outdoor location, or even your own backyard. Pick an activity that the family likes to do together, to capture the memories for years to come.

Maybe your family is more low-key, so you might get a simple photo of everyone walking down a path or trail. Or maybe picnics, beach days, or even playing music together is more your style. No matter what you choose, just make sure it’s genuine so it accurately represents your family dynamic.

The best part about these photoshoots is that they don’t need to be posed or choreographed. Your photographer might give you some instructions on what to do, such as whether or not to look at the camera. However, from there, all you need to do is just be yourselves.

5. Use Props

Props are a great way to make family photography fun and creative.

Pick some props that represent your family. Letters are a great choice: you can use letters that spell out a word like “love” and have each family member hold one letter. Or, you can use letters that spell out your last name instead.

Seasonally-appropriate props are another great choice. In the fall, use props like pumpkins, colorful leaves, or a festive blanket. During the Christmas season, use mugs of hot cider or a sled.

The only rule with props is not to overdo it. Since multiple faces will be in the picture, lots of props can make things look busy. Just choose a couple of props so the picture doesn’t become distracting.

6. Consider the Time of Day

If you can’t decide on where to shoot your photos, you can at least decide on when. Different times of day offer different kinds of lighting, which can give your photos all kinds of different effects.

One of the best times of day for photography is what’s known as the “golden hour.” The first or last hour of sunlight makes for beautiful family photos with warm, soft light that’s flattering for everyone.

Many photographers find this kind of light much easier to work with. A great way to harness the magic of the golden hour is to use backlighting, or stand with the sun to your backs. This can make a beautiful contrast between the people and the background.

7. Focus on Notable Events

If there’s a notable event in the family, like a graduation or a pregnancy, you’ll definitely want to memorialize the event with your family photography. Check out this post to learn more about the reasons to invest in maternity photos.

What Will You Do With Your Family Photography?

There are so many ways to take amazing family portraits. Try different ideas to capture different aspects of your unique family.

For more ways to keep your family having fun, check out these tips for getting your kids to stay active.

How to Find a Surrogate You Can Trust

find a surrogate

From Kim Kardashian to Tyra Banks, a whole host of celebrities have relied on surrogate mothers to help them realize their dreams of having another child.

The reasons why you may want to work with a surrogate are varied, and are often incredibly personal. Maybe you have a medical condition that makes it difficult to conceive, or maybe you’re concerned that your lifestyle would put a fetus at risk.

Whatever the reason, you know that, no matter what you do as a mother, someone out there is probably going to judge you for it.

When you’ve decided on birth through a surrogate, one of the first questions you’ll likely have is how to find a surrogate.

That’s what this blog post is all about.

Whether you’ve fully deciding on surrogacy or are still weighing your options about having a baby, keep on reading to learn more about the process.

Rely On Your Established Network

When you want to find a surrogate, your first instinct might be to rely on the people you already know.

Maybe you have a specific friend in mind, or maybe you even feel comfortable crowdsourcing your social network or simply asking around to help you connect with a surrogate.

While there are many advantages to working with someone you know well, be aware that going this route is certainly not without complications. You’ll need to establish clear boundaries and guidelines for working with your surrogate — otherwise, things can get messy very quickly.

Let’s take a look at the most important questions to ask and concerns to bring up when asking someone you know, or a friend of a friend, to be your surrogate.

“Tell Me About Your Past Pregnancies”

If this person is a friend, you might think that you know the whole story about their pregnancies — but chances are, there’s a lot you don’t know.

You need to be informed about everything from complications throughout the pregnancy to issues within the delivery room.

You’ll also want to ask your surrogate about smaller details, like the foods that they craved, what their diet is like, and if they plan to continue their normal routine and work throughout as much of the pregnancy as is possible.

In addition to helping you evaluate whether or not your friend is a reliable surrogate, you’ll also get a better feel for how to take care of her throughout the process — and if she’s still a good fit at all.

“What Do You Want Your Relationship With My Child To Look Like?”

This is a crucial one.

If it’s a friend, then it’s likely that she’ll be in your child’s life in one way or another. However, if the surrogate isn’t really in your social network, she may or may not want to have a presence in your child’s life.

Make your own expectations and boundaries clear, and ensure that your surrogate does the same. Get as detailed as social media, whether or not they can send/receive photos and letters, and more.

If possible, you may want her to sign documents stating that she’s been informed she won’t have a legal claim to your child.

“Would You Carry For Me Again?”

Once you find a surrogate you can trust, you may want to have them carry another child for you. Be aware that not all surrogates will be open to this.

If you think that there’s even a chance you’d like another child by the same surrogate, be sure to ask this question.

Work With A Surrogacy Agency

Perhaps you’d like to find a surrogate that’s completely outside of your social network.

Maybe you want a more thorough screening process, to offer payment for surrogacy, or just feel that your friends are far too crazy to carry your future child.

Luckily, there are tons of surrogacy agencies out there — the difficulty is finding the one that’s right for you and your family.

Agencies like ConceiveAbilities surrogate mothers are among the most reputable options out there, in part because of their serious screening process and the level of contact that the mother and surrogate have throughout the pregnancy.

Now, let’s take a look at how to ensure that the surrogacy agency you’re thinking of working with is a good fit for you — and safe for your baby.

“Do You Have A Surrogacy Attorney?”

Even if the agency doesn’t have an attorney on hand, they should have connections with the top surrogacy attorneys in your state.

This will help both you and your surrogate to remain on the same terms throughout the process, and ensure that you’re filing all the required paperwork.

It will also help you to sort through any fees that you’ll need to pay to the agency or to the surrogate herself.

“What’s Your Screening Process Like?”

Of course, this is the most important question when it comes to finding a surrogate through an agency.

In addition to asking questions about the history of the agency itself, you’ll also need to know how they find and screen potential surrogates.

Do they conduct background checks? What about health screenings — and medical support for the surrogate over the course of the pregnancy? Are surrogates psychologically evaluated?

Do they ask the surrogates why this lifestyle appeals to them?

The more information you’re able to find, the better you’ll feel.

You’re Ready To Find A Surrogate

We hope this post has helped you to understand the best ways to find a surrogate you can rely on to help bring a new bundle of joy into the world.

Whether you’re planning on working with a surrogacy agency, or if you want to ask a friend to do the job, having the information you need is essential for you both.

Looking for more mom-friendly advice?

Whether you’re a mother-to-be or already a mother of three, our website and blog has tons of posts about how to save money, live better, and indulge in some serious “me time” throughout the entire crazy journey that is motherhood.

Baby on a Budget: How to Prepare for a Baby Financially

how to prepare for a baby financially

Your family’s growing, and you couldn’t be happier. But having a child is a huge financial commitment, just as it is an emotional one. Knowing how to prepare for a baby financially before you enter parenthood is key to enjoying your new blessing without so much stressing.

Research shows that the average family in the United States will spend about $12,000 on baby-related expenses during their infant’s first year.

Translation: As much as we love babies, they certainly aren’t cheap. We’ve compiled a guide on how to prepare for a baby financially and manage your new family budget.

Let’s get started!

How to Prepare for a Baby Financially: Understand Health Insurance

One of the most important moves you can make to prepare financially for baby is to ensure that you have a good grasp of your medical insurance coverage and anticipate your costs accordingly.

After all, giving birth to a child is costly even if you’ve got insurance.

The earlier you forecast your anticipated costs, the more prepared you’ll be for the medical bills that will ensue.

Also, start looking ahead of time for a pediatrician who is within your medical insurance network. Your new baby will need to see this doctor within the first week after he or she is born.

And don’t just trust the clinic to tell you that it is within your network. Call the insurance company yourself to double-check. You don’t want to get hit with unexpected charges for going outside of your network.

Budget, Baby!

Surrogate mothers enjoy the benefit of being paid to get pregnant for other couples. For instance, they can earn $43,000 or more — easily an annually salary — based on their individual circumstances.

But if you’re having a baby for yourself, you may experience the opposite effect: You may lose your yearly salary if you decide to stay home.

This is why it’s so critical that you create a post-baby budget before the baby comes. This will give you an idea of how his or her arrival will impact your finances.

If you decide to stay home, can your household truly absorb the loss of your income? If not, would a day care service in your area be affordable, or could a relative watch your bundle of joy at no cost?

Figure out these answers right away by doing the math. Then, act like these charges are in effect today so you’ll have an easier transition to life with a baby tomorrow.

Save

You may have spent the past few years trying to pay off debt. That’s great, but with baby on the way now, it’s time to step on the brakes.

In other words, stay on top of your minimum debt payments, but quit putting extra money toward your debt. Instead, put it in your savings account for emergencies that might crop up during your pregnancy or after the baby is born.

Then, once you’ve confirmed that both mom and baby are healthy, you can keep moving forward with your debt-payoff plan.

How I Can Help

I offer a wide range of tips and advice about how you can save money. Why pay more when you don’t have to?

Contact me to learn more about how I can help you to enjoy a fuller bank account and thus a fuller life long term.