Time and Money Savers

My blog has a new name! Some days, I feel almost silly blogging, as if it’s a little odd to be projecting information about my children on the internet. At the same time, I thoroughly enjoy reading the blogs of others and I do daily, especially those in a similar position as I am. I look forward to pictures, tips, and developmental leaps my kids will go through in the future. And when I think about that, it makes me want to blog more, so that maybe I can be of help to someone out there with twins.

If you do have twins and you’ve just found me, I want to point you in the direction of a few other blogs I read about twins/multiples. Check them out – it’s well worth it!

Journey to the Finish Line

Tales of a Twin Mombie

I’m Polycystic Inside

Four to Adore

And those are just a few!

So as a new mom of multiple babies, I have been lucky enough to take the entire year off from my job. What that means, though, is that we’re on a tight budget. Tighter than what we have been spending on those nights when we’re exhausted and really – who wants to cook? But now that we’ve kind of taken a big hit to our savings, it’s really time to make some smart money choices. I continue to try and find ways to save money, so I welcome other ideas!

FEEDING –

Costco (Kirkland) brand formula:  B was getting constipated on the type of formula they were given in the NICU, Similac. When he was a newborn he really struggled to poop and he cried…and it was terrible. Anyway, we were given medication to give him for it, but by chance, one day I stopped in Costco and read, ingredient for ingredient, what was in the Kirkland brand vs. Similac. The only difference was the lack of soy in the former. It was also double the amount for the same price. That giant can of 36 ounces is around $17, which is really a steal. It ended up being great in another way, as it completely stopped B’s constipation. The switch was made. I wanted to exclusively breastfeed and I couldn’t – so at least we found a cheap formula that works for our babies. However, our pediatrician throws free cans of Similac our way every time we go there, so I continue to put one scoop in our mixture when I make the meals. Not enough to constipate B, but enough to be using free formula.

As a time saver for making formula, I prepare it in a full-sized Nalgene water bottle I donated to the cause. Where I once used to make one Nalgene bottle full every 36 hours, I now make it twice a day. But I guess that’s to be expected. Anyway, I fill it up with 28 ounces of water and 14 scoops of formula. Once made, I pour it into the day’s bottles and stick them all in the fridge. For warming, I simply put the bottles in solo cups and fill with hot water. They warm in about five minutes. Now, with these big bottles they drink (B’s bedtime bottle is 10 ounces, C’s is 8), I sometimes need to refill the solo cup a second time. A bottle warmer would’ve probably been easier, but this is cheap! As for the Nalgene bottle, I found it a major time saver in those early days, rather than making bottle by bottle for every meal.

DIAPERING –

As you know, I’ve just made the switch to cloth diapers about a month ago and I’m hooked. I understand it’s not for everyone and that’s fine, but I feel that this has been a money saver for sure. I have 24 daytime cloth diapers in rotation, and the twins at almost 7 months go through about 15-16 diapers every day and a half. Somehow, I’m managing just fine to do laundry every 36 hours. I also just switched to a nighttime cloth diaper because C was leaking watery poop every morning all over her pj’s. Yes, this girl poops at night, every night, and I don’t know how to break the cycle. By the 5th night of leaks, I decided it’s time to try a different material than a disposable, which we were using at night to get rid of them. The Pooter hemp diaper with a Blueberry PUL cover was perfect – no leaks last night, a comfy kid in a diaper for 13 hours. I only have 4 of these diapers but in the long run, again, I do think it’s a money saver.

As for a time saving tip – well, when you cloth diaper, it does take a little more time especially in the beginning. Obviously throwing out a disposable is pretty darn quick. But unless I have a poop diaper, it’s just as quick. For those nasty diapers (we use BumGenius Freetimes) – my time saving cloth diaper trick is to use a fleece liner. I save a ton of time cleaning a small liner rather than a big diaper.

My next money saving trick to try is to make my own wipes. I know, it sounds very earthy-crunchy, and when I first read the words “homemade wipes” – I assumed that meant you reused them. And that’s a thing – and good for you, if you can stomach it. But when there’s a gross diaper, I do not want to wash the wipes. I want to throw them away. However, wipes aren’t too cheap either, especially when you use so many a day on multiple bums. That’s why, when my current stash runs out, I’m going to give this a try – making homemade, throw-them-away wipes. Here’s where I found out about this:

http://fourtoadore.com/2013/04/30/diaper-doozies/

FEEDING the adults –

I’m not a chef. I’m about the worst housewife ever. My husband always (jokingly?) tries to convince me to wear heels and a cute apron as I make some delicious meal from scratch  as he walks through the door but let’s face it, I’m in sweatpants on the daily and ready to whip up a mean turkey sandwich. But that has been changing as I’ve decided to embrace my temporary stay-at-home-mom gig. I can’t exactly expect my husband to come home and cook dinner after a full day of work.  When he gets home, we only have about an hour before the babies go to bed, so I’m not going to spend it “cooking”. Instead, I’m doing freeze ahead meals. Holy cow – how did I not do this my entire adult life? It’s my favorite type of cooking – throw ingredients in a bag and freeze for future use! You need a crockpot though – on the day of the meal, dump the contents of the bag (thawed in the fridge first) into the crockpot and you’re good to go. Tonight we had crock pot gluten-free lasagna (which is only gluten-free because of the noodles, and you can’t even tell!) and it was delish. I’m also excited to try the southwest chicken meal I prepared the other day – I literally just dumped corn, salsa, black beans, and chicken into a bag with some salt and pepper. I’ll make some rice with it and stir in some cream cheese to make it creamy. I didn’t make any of this up – here are a few websites I got my recipes from:

http://www.thebusybudgetingmama.com/2013/01/freezer-crock-pot-meals-prep-day.html

http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2012/09/slow-cooker-freezer-meals-make-8-meals.html

This is a crazy time saver for me. I spent maybe an hour over the weekend “cooking” by throwing ingredients into bags. Now I have the whole week’s worth of dinner – done. SO easy. Because of this, it’s probably a money saver in that we won’t be darting out to Chipotle or Panera’s because we’re too tired to cook.

One of the biggest money savers we’ve been lucky enough to have is to simply borrow and steal (not…literally of course, except for that one time…). I once claimed I wouldn’t have too much “baby plastic” in my house – babies don’t NEED a lot of toys. Ha! No, they don’t NEED them to survive, but at the same time, it’s very helpful and fun for them, and a lifesaver for me. We didn’t have the money to buy all the gadgets the babies use but were lucky enough to either borrow items or be given them used, for free. Out of the two jumpers, two “super seats” (Bumbo’s but with a tray with toys – also a booster seat), two bouncers, two exersaucers, two swings, two floor mats, two boppy’s and two high chairs – (I can’t believe I’m admitting to having all of these things) I only bought one floor mat (the Kick n Play Piano) and one jumper ($15 gently used from Once Upon a Child). Everything else was a gift or a loan.  The fact is, with multiple babies, I can’t hold them all day. And I would absolutely LOVE to do that – carrying around a snuggly baby is one of my favorite things. But they’re heavy. And B kicks while C rubs her face all over my shoulders. It would be almost dangerous to even try. So that means they need to be put down, and if one baby is upset and I need to tend to them, that other baby needs to be content with something other than me. That’s where this plastic comes in.

I used to double bottle feed (breast feed one, make him wait, breast feed the other, bottle feed them both) but now I do not. B usually goes first because he’s faster than C – but that means C is left hungry for a few minutes. I need something to keep her occupied – that’s where the bouncer or exersaucer comes into play. And vice versa. Or I’m changing a gross diaper – yes, one baby is left alone for a minute, in a safe place, while I tend to it. I need the plastic.

When the babies are both happy and living their little baby lives, I run a series of “centers”..not unlike what I do in my job. I try to have both babies doing the same activity at the same time, so I can give my attention to them both as I watch/play with them. So we’ll do the two jumpers for a little bit, then some floor/tummy time together. When I try to make myself lunch, I’ll put them in their chairs on the floor in the kitchen with some toys. Then we’ll have more floor time, some exersaucer time..you get the picture. We rotate “centers” all day. It’s a good time.

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I seem to be able to talk about what’s going well at home, but there are always new baby issues that crop up and I’m searching the web for advice. Today’s issue – how to get more than one baby to nap in the same room without waking the other. At night they sleep fine – if one cries, the other stirs maybe, but goes back to sleep. But during the day – wow. They can’t nap together right now, that’s where we’re at. I’m lucky enough to have space to separate them, and I do, but B is in a swing then, as both cribs are in the same room, and he’s really almost too big for a swing. So I’m going to need to do something about this. And teething – I know nothing about baby teeth. There’s biting, chomping, drooling, munching and some fussing…and no teeth. Not even white under the surface. Do they just – pop out super quick all of  a sudden? Or do they take a while to come in?

I go through these blogging spurts every once in a while, but I really do enjoy doing it, as I equally enjoy reading the blogs of others. Hopefully, I can keep up with it – there are always new baby adventures!

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5 thoughts on “Time and Money Savers

  1. Amber says:

    Thanks for the blog love! I like your new blog name, it’s fitting and I know you will reach many others with similar experiences. This post in particular will be oh so helpful. All mommas love to save time and money- two precious commodities.
    I too learned the beauty of freezer meals and the crock pot. I tried the six sisters plan, and a lot were bland. Now I use some of our favorite recipes we’ve had for years (chicken marinade type recipes) and adapted them to freezer meals.
    I love our DIY wipes so much, I hope you do too! Have you tried DIY laundry detergent? That’s another thing we make that’s cheap and works well. My recipe is actually from a friend who cloth diapered too.
    Your twinkies are precious!!!! Naps and teething are the bain of my existence… I still struggle with both.

  2. JustHeather says:

    What cuties!
    When my boy was younger I almost never used wipes, even when out and about (but that’s a Finland thing). Instead most babies here, my boy included, get their bottoms washed in the sink (or tub?) when they poo. And then you just have a towel to dry them off. I would even take a hand towel or spit rag specifically for the purpose when out and about.
    Another diaper related “tip” is that I started my boy on the potty as soon as he could sit up (with help). I have never made it an unpleasant or forced thing to be done. If he really fussed or didn’t seem happy, I took him off or didn’t/don’t put him on the potty. He will pee and poo on the potty, if I can get him there at the right times (usually without any fuss at all). You just learn when they usually make their mess and take them to the potty then (when they wake up, after eating, etc). I have a friend who has done this with her girl and had her easily and happily potty trained quite early compared to most. I hope we’ll have the same results with Paxlet (esp as he’s a boy), but I also won’t stress over it as I know it will happen on his terms. 🙂

    Teething..joy oh joy! Sometimes teeth seem like they pop up over night, but usually there is lots of drooling, chewing on everything and even chomping on mom and dad and even some discomfort..at least that is how it has been for us. Paxlet has been cutting all his molars for the last few months and now I see bumps of his canines coming in… He drools all the time, which by the way can make their poo runny(er). Good luck! You’ll figure it out. 🙂

  3. Jen says:

    OMG your twins are absolutely adorable! I found your blog while googling “10 dpiui” and have read several posts now. I’m definitely looking forward to following your journey!

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