Category: Family Life

7 Seriously Fun, Low-Cost, Fall Activities for Families

Doesn’t the word “autumn” perfectly represent the season?

What other word could be better suited to describe all that fall goodness of breezy, cozy, laidback days, long walks down pretty roads, and some well-spent time with the family.

Of course, finding fall activities for families can be hard. Sometimes it’s too expensive, and sometimes it’s hard to get everyone on the same page. But here at Thrifty Momma Ramblings, we happen to know that good things don’t require a big budget.

So here are 7 super fun, cost-effective fall activities that the whole family is bound to enjoy!

1. Nothing Says Wholesome Family Fun Like Camping

The fall is such a beautiful time to spend some time with nature. Pack up your bags and board games and head out to a camping spot to create some lovely, happy family moments.

2. Pre-Halloween Adventures at a Pumpkin Patch

It’s fall and Halloween all at once. It’s fall-oween!

And nothing represents this than a full-grown Colorado Pumpkin Patch! Get your kids in the car and drive off to pick and choose some delicious pumpkins for the fall.

3. A Graveyard Exploration for the History and Thrill

And speaking of Halloween, how about a graveyard tour? Granted not every family may enjoy this, but if you think yours would – go ahead! It’ll be a fantastic time to explore some beautiful graveyards and historic cemeteries.

A little insight into the unknown for the whole family!

4. Have the Best Kind of Fight – A Leaf Fight

Leaves all around you? Perfect to mess around in, and your kids will love it. Get the whole family outside in the sunshine, basking in the breezy beauty of the fall.

5. Go Fly a Kite Together!

This is super fun in two parts. You can have a blast making a kite together, and then flying it together. Head off to your local park or another open space and indulge in some fall fun.

6. Scare Boredom Away with a Scarecrow

You don’t have to live on a farm to build a good old scarecrow! You just need an imagination. If you want to make it even more fun, make up a whole story behind the scarecrow. Maybe give him a wife and a family just like your own!

Let your kids create rich back stories for them and watch their creativity unfold.

7. Have a Family Baking Session With Hot Chocolate After!

Grab some delicious recipes online, pick up the ingredients and start baking some amazing pies, tarts, and all that good fall food. Make sure everyone is involved and contributing in any little way they can.

Once you are done baking, make some hot chocolate and enjoy a lovely, warm feast together

Want the Best Fall Activities for Families? Get the Whole Family Involved!

The best fall activities for families are the ones that everyone’s on board with. Get the whole family involved in the fall planning and let them weigh-in on what they think the family should do. Follow at least one of everyone’s suggestions, and brace yourselves for an amazing time together!

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7 Tips to Handling Your Baby’s Nighttime Leaky Diapers

Did you know new parents will get less than 5 hours of sleep each night for the first year of their baby’s life?

According to a study, the average is 4 hours and 44 minutes. That’s nearly half the recommended 8-hours-a-night rule!

And as they get older, it doesn’t get much better. Whether it’s hunger, out of habit, or because they’ve had a nightmare, sleepless nights are common. On top of these issues, you could wake to find them in a puddle.

So, how can you prevent diaper leaks at night? Read on for the 411.

Preventing Diaper Leaks at Night—The 411

Just one diaper leaking at night can turn a peaceful night’s sleep into a chaotic mess. Not only do you have to clean up your little one, but depending on the scope of the problem you may have to change ALL the sheets and more.

But don’t panic. There are ways to prevent diapers from leaking at night. Here are 7 of our top tips.

1. Invest in the Best Diapers for Nighttime Leaks

Rule number one has to be this—buy the best overnight diapers for toddlers and babies. Because if you scrimp on quality, both you and your little one will suffer.

There are some high-quality nighttime diapers available that are specifically designed for the job at hand. Nighttime diapers are generally more absorbent and thicker than regular diapers.

While nighttime diapers are a little more expensive, you only need to use them at night. So the box will last longer than you might think.

Of course, if you’ve opted for eco-friendly options, such as cloth diapers, what can you do? You can use eco-friendly diapers made from bamboo pulp instead. They soak up a lot better than cloth diapers, but they are bio-degradable, which makes them a great choice for eco-friendly moms.

2. Give Them a Boost

While you might have the best diapers for nighttime leaks, what if they don’t work for your child? Or what if you really want to stick to cloth nappies? There is a secret strategy that you may not know about—diaper booster pads!

You may not have heard about them before, but they are a handy invention for preventing leaky diapers. The booster pads look similar to a feminine pad and fit inside a regular or overnight diaper. It acts as a “first line of defense”.

Some booster pads absorb up to 8 oz. of liquid. And once the pad’s full, the diaper absorbs the rest. It really is that simple!

3. Size Up

Size up, the answer could be as simple as that.

Once your baby or toddler is reaching the diaper size limit, leaks may start. Try increasing their nappy size. This may solve their bed-wetting conundrum in a matter of minutes.

If the diaper seems a bit too big and bulky for their day time excursions, just use the bigger ones at night. And keep the smaller size for their daytime activities.

But remember that if the diaper is too big for them, that will actually cause more leaks. Make sure there are no gaps and that it fits comfortably.

4. Positioning is Key

While the size is important, positioning is also vital to preventing leaks. With disposable diapers, make sure the leg bands are on the outside. These frilly edges help create a seal and keep the wetness in.

If they’re leaking out the front, make sure the rise is high enough over their stomach. The front of the diaper should fit snugly under their belly button. And with boys, make sure their penis is pointed down—upwards is a complete no-no!

If they leak out of the back of the diaper, pull the back of the diaper up higher. And make sure it fits snugly around the legs and tummy.

5. Stealthy Diaper Change

How to prevent diaper leaks at night? Make sure to change them right before they go to sleep. When they fall asleep with a fresh diaper, it might not overflow throughout the night.

But if that doesn’t work, you may have to do a stealth diaper change. Before you go to bed yourself, sneak in and change their diaper. This could make all the difference to a dry night’s sleep.

If your little one is a light sleeper, this might create more problems than you can solve, no matter how stealthy you are. Only attempt this if you’re sure they’ll sleep through the change.

6. Toddlers Drinking Routine

This only applies to toddlers as babies need to take in formula regularly. Whatever you do, NEVER withhold feeding your baby to stop their diaper leaking at night.

However, toddlers are a different matter.

If they regularly drink something right before bed, their diaper will fill up quickly. Try to change up their routine and make sure they drink an hour before bedtime. If they are still holding onto a bottle at night, try do away with it for good.

This means on their final diaper change before they sleep, you will dispose of most of the liquid before they catch some zzz’s. This will lead to a dryer night’s sleep.

7. Save the Linen

If all else fails and you still find your little one wet at night, try to make the change as effortless as possible. Use waterproof sheets and linen savers to protect the mattress.

A handy tip is to have two waterproof sheets on the mattress already. This means you only have to strip off the first layer and their bed is ready for sleeping.

Waterproof sheets are worth the investment, as you’ll be needing them when they start potty training later.

Sleep Like a Baby, Finally!

As you can see, you can prevent diaper leaks at night. You just need a good bedtime routine and the right tools for the job. If you follow these tips, one thing’s for sure—both you and your baby will finally get the chance to sleep like a baby!

For more foolproof tips for moms and dads, check out the “Family Life” section of our blog.

11 Inexpensive Family Vacation Ideas That Will Make Everyone Happy

Summer is coming to an end and that means that almost 100-million families have already gone on memorable trips. If you haven’t gotten to enjoy your vacation yet and are planning to, time is running out.

Maybe you’ve been putting off your vacation intentionally because you’re worried that it’s going to cost you too much money to take the whole family out. We appreciate that concern and hope to alleviate it with the information in this blog post.

Our team has scoured the country to cook up what we think are the best, inexpensive family vacation ideas that you can invest in!

1. Scale Lake Tahoe, California

Unless you’re from California, you probably haven’t heard of Lake Tahoe. That’s a shame because this lake is big on fun and small on prices!

Lake Tahoe is flanked by beautiful mountains which means that you’ll have to zig-zag your way up narrow highways to enjoy its splendor. Once you park your car though, you’ll be rewarded by getting to dip into the lake’s crystal blue, refreshing waters.

2. Explore the Nevada Desert

When people think of Nevada, they think of Las Vegas. That’s not a bad association and contrary to popular belief, Las Vegas can serve as an inexpensive family vacation ideas pick if you plan carefully.

The truth is though that Nevada is much bigger than Las Vegas and what lies beyond the City of Sin is what we think packs the most value!

Whether you choose to tour the Hoover Dam or explore Red Rock Canyon National Park, you’ll definitely find ways to create monumental memories in this sunny desert state.

3. Gawk at the Grand Canyon

Bordering Nevada is none other than one of the wonders of the world, The Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon draws in families from across the globe and offers activities ranging from hiking to helicopter rides.

No matter your family’s preferences, we’re confident that you can put together an affordable itinerary when touring this national park.

4. Get Patriotic in Washington D.C.

D.C. is a common destination among people’s inexpensive family vacation ideas because of the volume of free activities that this capital city offers. Touring the Smithsonian, exploring the National Mall or the National Zoo are all 100% free favorites that you and your kids can enjoy!

5. Soak Up the Sun in San Diego, California

San Diego is popular because of its outstanding weather and plethora of things to do. While San Diego can get expensive, if you do the city right, you’ll be able to enjoy a cheap vacation.

For example, San Diego’s La Jolla beach is absolutely breathtaking and doesn’t cost a dime to visit. You could easily make a whole day out of enjoying a picnic on its shores.

In addition to soaking up the sun, exploring San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter or enjoying an affordable ball game at Petco Park are both great activities to enjoy.

6. Find Culture in Ashland, Oregon

Educational vacations might draw some “boos” from your household at first but believe us when we say that everyone will fall in love with Ashland, Oregon’s culturally significant Shakespeare Festival once they’ve seen a couple of shows. Ashland isn’t big on tourists which means low prices year-round and more attention for you and your travel companions!

Be aware that Shakespeare festivities are typically held between March and October.

7. Get Your Thrills on in Anaheim, California

If you don’t know much about Anaheim, California, know this… It’s where Disneyland is. We don’t need to tell you that your family can absolutely create special memories when visiting Walt Disney’s very first theme park.

Unfortunately, Disneyland might get a little expensive for some travelers. If that’s the case for you, you can hop one city over to Buena Park and enjoy the almost as fabulous Knott’s Berry Farm!

8. Experience Nature in Portland, Oregon

Portland is an edgy town in the Northwest that is perfect for families that like good food and even better hikes. Also, if you’re a beer/wine lover, Portland and its neighboring suburbs offer world-class selections.

Getting a hotel just outside of Portland can represent an excellent deal and since much of Portland’s fun revolves around taking in its ambiance, tons of entertainment can be had for free!

9. Step Into a New World in Orlando, Florida

Disney World and Universal Studio’s theme parks live in Orlando. When you grab a hotel in the vicinity of these parks, it’ll literally feel like you’ve entered a new world where fun is the number one priority.

Similar to Anaheim, Orlando can get expensive when buying theme park tickets for the whole family. If you go during the off-season though and stay at non-amusement park owned hotels, you might save enough to make this vacation worth it.

10. Adventure in Astoria, Oregon

Steven Spielberg’s classic film “The Goonies” was filmed in a sleepy beach town called Astoria. Today, that town is still sleepy and makes for a great place to explore the beach, learn about marine biology and enjoy quality time with the family.

If you want to save money and avoid crowds, try visiting Astoria in mid-spring.

11. Enjoy a Larger Than Life Little Town in Independence, Missouri

Want to relax on vacation every bit as much as you want to save money? If you answered yes to that question, head over to Independence, Missouri.

Independence is a town that’s defined by a slow pace of life and an undying love for hometown hero, President Truman.

There’s an unlimited amount of things to do in Independence so learn more about the town on its website and plan your trip today!

Inexpensive Family Vacation Ideas Can Make for Priceless Memories

There’s no shortage of memorable and inexpensive family vacation ideas that you can tap into in order to have a great time this summer!

We hope that you found our suggestions to be helpful and invite you to check out more of the parent-centric content on our blog for additional family vacation tips.

4 Fun and Inexpensive Things to Do with the Whole Family

Let’s face it: going out is expensive, and increasingly so. A night out on your own with your partner can produce a bill that can be headache-inducing. And taking your entire family out for some enjoyment? May your wallet someday recover.

That’s how it feels, of course, but that doesn’t have to be the reality. In truth, taking your family out (or keeping them in!) for a day of fun can actually be inexpensive. You just need to know what kind of activities to look at and how to pull them off at the proper price. 

Looking for some inexpensive things to do with your family? Read on, and we’ll walk you through some of our favorite options. 

Visit a Local Museum

Maybe going to the museum was never really your thing. But if you haven’t taken the time to explore the local museums in your community, your missing one of the most inexpensive and potentially most interesting locations in town. 

Art and historical museums are treasure troves of information and excitement. They can be a great place to expand your children’s understanding of the world and provoke conversation. They can be an amazing learning experience for your kids as well as yourself. 

The added benefit? They are often dirt cheap. Many museums are free to access or offer pay-what-you-want passes. Even museums that are more expensive often have particular hours or days where you can attend for a highly discounted rate. 

There are also many museums that cater specifically to younger children. These children’s museums prioritize interactive and hands-on learning that helps to keep your younger children engaged and excited.

They might be having such a good time that they don’t even realize that they’re learning too. 

Throw Together a Movie Night at Home

Taking your whole family to the theater can be quite expensive these days, with theater prices on the rise everywhere in the country. This is especially true if you want to spring for popcorn or snacks. 

Luckily, with the improvement in home theater systems, you can replicate the theater experience cheaper in your very own home. Instead of watching the latest new release, take a chance on something smaller. If it’s just you and your spouse, take a stab at an independent film that might be more interesting and rewarding than the standard fare. 

If you’re watching with your kids, try picking something out for the whole family. Share with your children a movie you watched and loved when you were their age. While they may initially balk at the idea of watching an ‘old’ movie, you might be surprised how well they end up responding (the power of cinema). 

You might even find that this kind of sharing can help bond you closer over a shared love for a work of art. 

If you really want to make movie night an event, invite over some friends and put a blanket fort together. Throw a projector up and screen it on the wall so the movie is large and loud. It’s one of the best nights in you can imagine, and barely has to cost you a dime. 

Go Bowling Together

One of the best day out activities for a family might be to hit the bowling alley. No matter what age your kids are, they’ll likely get a thrill out of knocking down pins. And if you haven’t bowled in a while, you might be surprised at how much enjoyment you get out of it yourself.

Some bowling alleys are more expensive than others, so you might want to do your due diligence in finding the right spot. Many bowling alleys offer family discounts, so inquiring about those might help save you significant money in putting the day together. 

These days, many bowling alleys also double as arcades. That means even if your kids aren’t huge on the idea of bowling, they might be more into ice hockey, driving games, or other fun and exciting games. You can visit here to see more about what I mean. 

Bowling is a great place to bring some friendly competitiveness into the family dynamic. Who knows, you might even end up with a professional bowler on your hands someday. 

Break Out the Chalk

Remember the simpler pleasures of your own youth? This was a time before cell phones and video games seemed to rule the public attention. If you were handed a ball or piece of chalk, you could entertain yourself hours. 

Instead of decrying the current generation for their media addiction, give your kids a chance to experience the same. If your kids are fairly young, giving them a big collection of chalk and the length of your driveway can be an exciting prospect.

That’s a large canvas within to work, after all. This can be a great family activity, or simply something to keep them occupied while you relax in a lawn chair and watch them work. The key thing is that it’s incredibly inexpensive, and there’s no real clean up involved either. 

Simply allow their chalk masterpiece to exist until the rain comes along to wash everything clean. 

Inexpensive Things to Do with Your Family

It can be hard to afford a real day out with your entire family. With that many heads to feed and entertain, the costs can be astronomical. Luckily, the above inexpensive things to do can keep everyone happy and fulfilled just as easily.

Need more advice about how to run your family on a budget? Check out my blog for more. 

Baby on a Budget: 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.

5 Sweet Ideas for Your DIY Baby Shower Invitation Message

Congratulations! You’re expecting a beautiful addition to your family. 

But with that lovely bundle of joy comes a lot of expenses, including an average of over $10,000 just for the delivery. One way that many expectant families help offset the costs is through a baby shower. 

Are you throwing a baby shower? Use these sweet and original sayings for your baby shower invitation message.

1. Boy, Oh Boy! 

If you’re looking for baby shower invite wording, consider adding in your baby’s gender as an introduction. 

Type the phrase, “Boy, oh boy!” in large blue letters over the top of your invite. Then, the rest of the details can follow. This simple, yet eye-catching design is a great way to reveal your baby’s gender. 

2. Who Runs the World? Girls! 

On the flip-side, there are great sayings for your baby shower invitation if you’re expecting a girl. If you’re expecting to raise a powerful girl, channel your inner Beyonce with this intro — “Who runs the world? Girls!”

3. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

If you’re combining your gender reveal party with your baby shower, try the phrase, “Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how we wonder what you are!”

This cute take on the popular baby song will get your guests excited for the gender reveal. Decorate the invitation with stars and a moon to stick to the theme. 

4. The Adventure Begins

Bringing a new child into the world is a huge adventure, so get your friends excited by welcoming them to the adventure. Pair the saying, “The Adventure Begins,” with hot air balloons or a map background.  

5. Skip the Card for a Book Instead

Invite your baby shower guests to stock up your nursery library. Use the saying, “Skip the card for a book instead, we want our baby to be well-read!” 

Then, after you have all your shower details, ask your guests to leave a special message for your baby inside the book. That way, these books can be a keepsake for years to come. 

Beyond Your Baby Shower Invitation Message 

Now that you’ve picked your baby shower invitation message, you need to design and print your invitations. The sooner you get them in the mail, the better chances guests will be able to come. 

We suggest creating free certificates online. With your baby coming, you’ve got enough expenses to plan for. Try to keep the amount you spend for your baby shower as minimal as possible. 

Then, choose a color theme to go with your saying and design.

Plan the Best Baby Shower Ever

There you have it, how to plan your baby shower invitation message and design your invitations. 

Since you’ve already picked a theme for your invitations, carry that theme over to your shower. Hopefully, a few friends or family members will help out with the decorations and food. Just remember that this is a time to celebrate, not to stress about the little details.

For more great mommy advice, head over to the Family Life section right here on our site. 

5 Smart Baby Toys That Will Turn Your Child Into a Genius

As a parent, you want what is best for your children. You want them to grow up and become better than you. To live a life that is good, healthy and happy.

This journey starts from infancy. By making the right choice when it comes to your baby’s toys and accessories you can help shape their future.

Yet, that can often be easier said than done. The market is flooded with toys, and prices that seem to grow every week. How do you know if you are making the right choice? How can you be sure you are not buying a toy that will stunt or not enable your baby’s development.

Well, keep reading, because in the coming paragraphs we are going to look at the best smart baby toys. We want to help you give your baby a brighter tomorrow, today.

1. Building Blocks are a Great Gift Idea

When it comes finding a great gift that will make your baby smarter, building blocks are a great choice.

Not only are they widely available, but they are a highly versatile toy that can be suitable for multiple age ranges. This is great for encouraging interplay between your children.

On top of that, their abundance makes them a great gift if you are living on a budget.

2. An Abacus Is One of the Best Smart Toys for Babies

Another classic baby toy that you can invest in is an abacus. Teach your children how to count and solve basic maths sums from an early age with this timeless teaching toy.

Buying wooden toys, or juguetes de madera is perfect because their hardwearing nature is ideal for intensive use. If there is one thing a smarter baby toy needs to be, it is durable.

3. Shape Sorting Toys Are a Smart Choice

Another wonderful toy option for promoting and nurturing a smarter baby are shape sorting toys.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of options for you to choose from, and while the basis of each is the same, the variation will keep your child engaged while developing an unshakable intelligence. Repetition is a fundamental part of learning in small children, and so by offering multiple shape sorting toys, you are stimulating development.

4. A Toy Kitchen or Grocery Store

When thinking about how to make your baby smart, there is a logic behind looking at toys that develop their IQ alone, but social skills and interaction is a crucial element behind intelligence.

Toys like a play kitchen or grocery store will stimulate both emotional and intellectual intelligence, as well or increasing your child’s skills at social interaction.

5. Crayons Stimulate Creativity and Coordination

A box of crayons is a wonderful gift for any child. Allowing them the emotional freedom to explore their own creativity from a young age is beneficial for their development.

Crayons allow your child to develop their coordination skills, as well as craft the ability to accurately express through a meidum other than speech. If you want to make your baby smarter, then nurturing their artistic side is a great way to go.

Buying Smart Baby Toys is Investing in Your Child’s Future

Any toy you buy your child should be well considered. Their development is so rapid at such a young age, making the right choice is imperative. It is also almost too easy at times, meaning you may find it hard to decide which smart baby toys would serve you best.

The trick is to trust your gut. You know your child; their likes and interests. Nurture them and provide them with a loving home to develop themselves and any choice you make will be the right one.

Check out some of our other posts for more advice on children and raising a family.