Super Simple Homeschooling: Amy Carmichael Unit Study

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A few times in the school year, we will take a break from some of our regular homeschool lineup to do a missions related Unit Study. We love to learn about current needs around the world for ministry and we also enjoy learning about past missions and Missionaries. In this recent case, we did a Unit Study of the Missionary Amy Carmichael, using materials from YWAM.

The Materials:

HEROES FOR YOUNG READERS – Activity Guide (for books 5 – 8). This activity book actually covers 4 heroes, including Amy. We will be doing Corrie ten Boom next. The activities for the study for Amy include:

  • Coloring pages
  • Songs
  • Character studies with craft projects
  • Facts about the country she mainly ministered in (India), including map work
  • Activities to re-enforce what was read, including matching and crossword puzzle

There is also a CHRISTIAN HEROES: THEN & NOW – Unit Study Curriculum Guide for Amy Carmichael. Since our children are all under 10, we used the Heroes For Young Readers Activity Guide.

HEROES FOR YOUNG READERS – Amy Carmichael: Rescuing the Children. This is the young reader book we used for suggested ages 5 – 10.

CHRISTIAN HEROES: THEN & NOW – Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems. This is the reader for older readers. We did not need it for this study per say, but if you have adults or older children who want to get a more in-depth study of Amy’s life and work, this is great to have.

THE TORCHLIGHTERS DVD – The Amy Carmichael Story – She Rescued the Children One by One. This is an optional component to the study, but so brings the story to life for the children and also contains a documentary.

The Study: 

On the first day of the study, we read the Heroes For Young Readers book together, then we did two activities from the activity book. On the second day of the study, we watched the video and did a couple more activities. On the last day of the study (these were not consecutive days), we watched the documentary and did a couple more activities. We did not do all of the activities, but most.

My oldest (8) read some of the Christian Heroes Then and Now book on her own time and narrated some of it to me.

I made sure to talk to the children throughout the study about what they were learning, hearing and catching from it. We had some great discussions.

Comment on the Cost:

We have a very frugal homeschool budget of $100 per child per year (or $300 total, since some curriculum is joint). This unit study went beyond that budget. We consider learning about missions, ministry, and Missionaries an integral part of our children’s growth. Also, since our purchase of the products are through YWAM, the proceeds are going to support current, active Missionaries, and therefore, we consider the purchase also part of our tithing / charitable giving.

You can reduce the cost of the study in the following ways:

  1. Only purchase one of the books. If the majority of your group is younger (4th or 5th grade and below) get the childrens’ book. If your group is older, get the more mature book.
  2. If you have IAMFlix or similar, the Torchlighters video is available on that network so you don’t need to purchase a copy.
  3. You can check with your local library for the book(s) or ask them to order the books for the library, letting you be the first loaner. Same with the video.
  4. You can search for used copies of the book(s), videos, and/or activity books.

 

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.

YWAM Affiliate: http://www.ywampublishing.com/default.aspx?affiliateid=10451

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Helping Others: What If You Had To Work In A Dark, Dank Room And Barely Made Enough To Eat

Read the story of how Anna and other Artisans in India went from being exploited to being given a fair trade wage.
Read the story of how Anna and other Artisans in India went from being exploited to being given a fair trade wage.

Well, I am about to give you a little poke in the heart: Right now, somewhere in the world, someone is sitting in a dark, dreary room making products to sell to us wealthy Westerners – and they don’t even make enough to purchase proper food or send their children to school.

World Vision went to India and found a group of Artisan Women, jewelry makers, being completely exploited and underpaid for the work they were doing – they didn’t even have enough money for the food they need for their family.

World Vision stepped in, showed them that there were people willing to purchase their products at a fair price through Fair Trade practices, including World Vision’s own Gifts With A Cause store. The group now makes a fair living, has the food, clothing and education they need, and they were even able to move their workshop to a light, airy, comfortable place to work.

For the complete story, visit Anna’s Fair Trade Artisan story .

Here are a couple of the products the group in India make:

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And there are many more!

How can you help end the exploitation of workers:

  1.  Know where your products you are purchasing are coming from. If the site or business doesn’t have a Fair Trade certification or similar, than just ask them where the products are being made and what conditions the makes live in.
  2. Purchase products from stores with Fair Trade Certification like Gifts With A Cause.
  3. Know where the product you are making are coming from. Sell products with Fair Trade Certification. You can sign up and resell Gifts With A Cause Products. Just scroll to the bottom of the page and click Affiliates under the Company category.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate with Gifts With A Cause. If you would like to know more about their products or becoming an affiliate, join April’s Gifts With A Cause FB Group.

Teach Your Children To Cook: Fish Tacos & A Gorton’s Fish Giveaway

Teach Your Children To Cook Fish Tacos + Enter A Gorton's Fish Giveaway.
Teach Your Children To Cook Fish Tacos + Enter A Gorton’s Fish Giveaway.

Getting your children too cook can be as simple as 1) selecting a meal that they like 2) selecting a meal that is simple to make. When we got a some free fish coupons from Gorton’s Smart & Crunchy, along with some aprons and a fish stick stuffy, we knew that Fish Tacos was the meal to make! Read on to see how we made the tacos and then how you can get some free stuff from ASimpleLifeToo.com and Gorton’s Seafood.

First, here are some other recipes, available from Gorton’s, using their fish sticks. Most of these recipes have short prep times and would be good candidates to get in the kitchen and cook with your children!

Let’s Make Tacos: 

I set up my oldest, S – 8, and my middle, T – 6, with the two aprons and then asked them to gather the ingredients.

Sarah and Talitha in their new Gorton's apron with the ingredients for fish tacos.
S and T in their new Gorton’s apron with the ingredients for fish tacos.

1 bag of 24 pieces of smart and crunchy fish sticks

1 container of mixed lettuce

1 tomato

1 pack of lard free tortillas

condiments such as ketchup and ranch dressing

Then I instructed each of them as follows:

1) S has been trained to cut with a knife, so I set her to cut the tomato and place the tomato bits and the lettuce on a tray.

2) T got out a baking sheet and set out all of the sticks in nice, neat rows.

Talitha's nice, neat rows of fish sticks.
T’s nice, neat rows of fish sticks.

3) Mom turned on the oven per the instructions on the bag of fish sticks, put them in the oven, and set the timer.

4) We let the sticks cool a bit, then we wrapped them up two at a time in a tortilla with the tomatoes, lettuce, and favorite condiment. I prefer ranch dressing, but the girls like ketchup!

Talitha putting together her first taco.
T putting together her first taco.

Yes, this is what I call a simple, healthy, cheap meal. If you would like to learn more about cooking with your children, the Simple, Healthy, Cheap Way, check out my eBook. 

If you would like more information about Gorton’s new Smart & Crunchy fish sticks, check out their product info. These fit in with our eat healthy philosophy because they have 50% less fat than their other fish sticks and are made with 100% wild caught Alaska Pollock. We all enjoyed the meal and were were happy to repeat it the next night.

Now Onto Some Free Goodies:

1) Get a coupon from Gorton’s for $1.00 off of a bag of Smart and Crunchy fish sticks.

2) Enter their sweepstakes to win a trip to one of 4 locations, including Orlando, FL. Hmm, I think this belongs on my list of Disney Sweepstakes!

3) Enter my giveaway for a prize package from Gorton’s for: two free bags of fish sticks, a set of Mommy and Me aprons (or Daddy and me), and 1 Smarty Crunchman Plush Stuffy! No obligation here – just leave your name in the comments below that you would like to be entered into the drawing. However, if you feel like it, please share this giveaway and post with others and/or share the Gorton’s coupons and sweepstakes from their site. The giveaway ends April 9th and I will do the drawing by April 11th.

Chloe - 4, helped by setting the table and showing off Smarty Crunchman Plush Stuffy.
C – 4, helped by setting the table and showing off Smarty Crunchman Plush Stuffy.

 

Seven Great Pregnant Mom Hacks

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I am pregnant. It isn’t the first time, but after this, it might be my last! The Midwives are labeling this a “difficult pregnancy,” and it has left me not so patiently counting the days until our new baby girl arrives. Until then, I have to get through a weak core (abdominal muscles), continual pain, extreme nausea (well, at least that part is done), threatened preterm labor, and more.

Here are a few things that helped me and/or are still helping to keep my sanity and made this journey a little easier.


1) The “grabber” – We aren’t supposed to bend over when we are pregnant, but if you have another child or children around the house, then you will know that finding stuff on the floor everyday is part of life. As much as I want my children to clean it all up, all the time, it isn’t quite a reality.

To help pick up some items, my husband got me the “Grabber.” It is awesome and it works for most stuff. My husband got one at the dollar store, but if you can’t find one there (and mine did break after awhile), here is a link to a highly rated, lost cost one on Amazon. There are a few others to choose from.

To use, just position it over the item on the floor, squeeze the handle, and you have got it! Just remember to have the grabber standing or hanging somewhere – otherwise you defeat the purpose of it by having to bend over and pick it up.

2) Body pillow – For my first baby, sleeping was pretty good until the last trimester. But with number four, it seems that I have been uncomfortable since the second trimester and needing some help while I sleep.

I have been blessed by the women who have gone before me in pregnancy. I don’t remember who this specific kind lady was, but she told me about body pillows with my first baby and now I am sharing with you. I can not sleep without it! It takes pressure off of the back and just helps get a much more comfortable side position while sleeping.

There are lots of fancy variations out there, but I use a simple long pillow like the one in the picture above and have had it through all four pregnancies. You can get a cover or two for it, but be sure to get a pillow that is washable.


3) Maternity belt – I am thinking back and now I wish I had, had a belt for my last pregnancy. I remember the last month or two feeling like my tummy just wanted to drop to the floor and my back was telling me how it really felt about all this pregnancy stuff. For this pregnancy, a belt really isn’t an option. I simply can not stand up for more than a couple of minutes w/o it. My core muscles, for various reasons, simply aren’t holding things up.

My Midwives were the ones to recommend a belt. They didn’t give me a specific brand, but I did the research on Amazon, said a little prayer, and stayed within our budget. The belt works great and I would recommend it to anyone struggling with back pain, core muscle issues, carrying twins, or just wants a little help in the end months holding that tummy up.


4) Unisom – There is morning sickness, and then there is all day long, gets worse as the day progresses, can’t stand to eat anything sickness. I was to the point at night where I couldn’t sleep because I felt so sick.

Again, thank you to my Midwives, they told me about Unisom. Now, please understand that I am a total, natural childbirth person. It was really hard for me to accept that all the natural stuff wasn’t helping me and that my next option was over the counter medication. I had never taken such a thing during my previous pregnancies. But, I needed sleep and the Midwives assured me that there were no known risks or side effects with the Unisom. It had been a pregnancy hack for decades.

The key is to only use the littlest dosage possible, so I was breaking the tablet in half and only taking the half. This isn’t about knocking oneself out to “get away” from the nausea, there is actually something in the medication that relieves the nausea and it only takes a little. I ended up using it for about 40 days (or I should say nights) before I did not need it anymore. Check with your OB or Midwife before using.

NSP_Peppermint_Oil_2

 

 

 

 

5) Ginger and Peppermint – Since the Unisom did make me drowsy, it wasn’t useful during the day. I still had to try something for a little relief during the day. Although it wasn’t as useful as it had been in previous pregnancies, I was able to at least function with the help of some ginger tea, peppermint tea, and/or placing a drop of peppermint oil (REPID:  3383365) on my wrists and smelling it on occasion when I got really woozy. For many pregnancies, these should be all you need to get through “morning sickness.” Check with your Midwife or OB before using.

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6) Prenatal Vitamins – I would love to talk about how wonderful we eat and how we get all of our nutrition from food, but that just isn’t the truth. I do believe that we try to eat well and I know we eat better than we used to, but I also know that we still aren’t getting all the nutrition we need from food, especially during pregnancy.

Therefore, we need to supplement. In this case, just a simple, quality prenatal vitamin (REPID:  3383365) is all I seem to need. I can tell the difference when I don’t take it.

I will confess that I also purchased some DHA / Fish Oil, but I have only taken them a few times. I guess I don’t see them as essential and they usually result in “fish burps” for the next two hours that I don’t really appreciate.

7) Community – This last and most important pregnancy hack can not be bought or sold. It is also the biggest and best of them all. Without my community, both family and church, I could not have made it this far. Their prayers, their practical help like meals and housekeeping, and their care is what keeps me going through this trying time. I am so grateful and I hope whatever challenges you may face, you have some sort of wonderful community to support you through it.

Blessings!

Disclosure: Some of these links are Amazon affiliate links and some are April’s Sunshine (Nature’s Sunshine) links. For the April’s Sunshine links, please use my REPID:  3383365 when you order. 

Celebrating Biblical Holidays: Passover and Unleavened Bread

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UPDATE for 2017: Passover starts sundown Monday, April 10th this year. The Feast of Unleavened Bread then continues through to the sundown on the 17th.

Did you know that Jesus is referred to as the Passover Lamb?

Are you aware that Jesus was participating in the Passover feast the night before he was crucified?

Have you ever considered that the Exodus story isn’t just a historical account, but is also an allegory of our life and walk as a Christian?

If you don’t know or have not thought about any of the answers to these questions, you are not alone. Many Christians don’t really know what Passover and Unleavened Bread are and what their significance is to a believer in Christ today.

Passover, which starts sundown April 10th this year, is not only a historical Biblical feast, but is also a pointer towards Christ, and is a reminder of who He is and what He has done.

Unleavened Bread starts sundown April 11th and lasts for 7 days. Unleavened Bread is a great time to learn more about how the story of the Exodus is relevant for Christians today.

The Allegory of The Exodus Story

Many years after Joseph is taken into captivity to Egypt, eventually reunited with his family, and lives and dies as a favorite of the Egyptian Pharaoh, we find his descendants in a very different place. They are now slaves of Pharaoh and Egypt. They are hated and unwanted in the land. They are in bondage, miserably treated, and they are crying out to God.

And God hears them.

Is this not like us before Christ? We are in bondage, slaves to our sin, slaves to the world and culture around us, slaves to our flesh – and we cry out to God.

And God hears us.

Back in that time, God gives them Moses and the promise that He will set the Israelites free. Here and now, we have been given Jesus and His promise is that if we follow Him, we will be free.

So then we find the Israelites have been freed and God is leading them away from Egypt and away from their bondage. But oh, how they struggle! They don’t trust, they complain, and when they don’t like what God is doing, they wine to GO BACK TO EGYPT!

How many of us, after having chosen to follow Jesus and we face a trial or something we don’t yet understand, turn and start whining to go back to our old life and the stuff that had us in bondage? Some of us call this “wanting to go back to Egypt.” We want to return to what we know, because the unknown scares us and our faith fails us. We certainly see how the Egyptians did this again and again in the desert as we read the Exodus account.

How Our Community Celebrates Passover and Unleavened Bread

This year, our community will break up into its small groups, will meet together in a home or facility depending on the size of the group, and we will share a modified Passover Seder together followed by a potluck meal. When I say modified, I mean that we include discussion of and pointers to Christ / Messiah throughout the Seder (vs the “traditional Jewish” Seder), as many of the elements like the bitter herbs and the wine end up showing us to do. The Passover, although a very real remembrance for Israel, was also to be a foreshadow of Christ to come.

And now that He has come, we can see how it all points to Him!

There will also be a time for worship, prayer and fellowship with each other. Passover is a very reverent time, but it is also a Feast, so we do enjoy lots of great appetizers, desserts and many variations of lamb dishes.

As for Unleavened Bread, before sundown on the day after Passover, we rid our homes of all leaven. This is mostly going to be breads, but there are a few other foods that may contain it also. As we do this, we should be examining out hearts, to remove the “leaven” from it – all the things that we do, say, act, and think that are not good for us and contrary to what God has set before us. It is not good to just remove physical leaven and forget the spiritual!

We then will not eat any unleavened bread for 7 days, and as families, we will read through the Exodus story and reflect what it means for us this year. Each year I do this, I see something different in the story that correlates with my life and walk at the time.

For Further Study For the Family

If you and your family would like to explore the Biblical Holidays together, I recommend A Family Guide To the Biblical Holidays. It includes recipes, stories, printables and much more:

Amazon: A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays

Amazon: A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our messiah in the Festivals

There are also some great recipe books for the practical side of the Passover and Unleavened Bread:


Win A Trip To Disneyland or Disney World : Contest Roundup

Win A Trip To Disneyland or Walt Disney World - Contest Roundup By A Simple LIfe
Win A Trip To Disneyland or Walt Disney World – Contest Roundup By ASimpleLifeToo.com

Note:  A new Post has been created for contests for 2016. Click here

How would you like to win a trip to Disneyland? Or would you like to win a trip to Walt Disney World? Yes, it would be better for our character to earn and save for such a vacation. However, if there is a chance to win (someone does), then maybe the money you have already worked for and saved could be used for “extras” on the trip or for something else you have been needing or wanting. Not only is it worth a try, but you might learn about some great products, travel sites, tips or more by entering the contests.

I have scoured the web to find at many current contests that are giving away Disney Vacations and have linked them here, along with the contest end date. I will be updating this post throughout the year, so bookmark or pin it to keep updated.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Contests: 

Jane Disney Giveaway – expires June 6, 2015

Hanes Follow That Sock Interactive Contest – expires June 8, 2015

AD: Find Cheap Airfare and Orlando Vacations with BookingBuddy

AARP Happy Together Disney Sweepstakes – expires June 15, 2015

Disney Nevergirls Ambassador Search for children under 16 – expires June 15, 2015

AD: Save on Disney World Magic Your Way Tickets

Visit Orlando Disney World and More Giveaway – expires June 30, 2015

Get Utz Disney Sweepstakes – expires July 5, 2015

EpiPen Disney Sweepstakes – expires July 9th, 2015

AD: Shop for the Best Prices on Vacation Packages at BookingBuddy!

Pirate And Princess Vacations – expires July 10th, 2015

Frozen Put Me In The Story Sweepstakes – expires July 17th, 2015

Disney Catch the Magic Sweepstakes – expires July 19th, 2015

AD: Purchase a Kids Eat Free card for only $15.00 and get access to FREE meals at over 100 select Orlando restaurants!

Inside Out and Pretzel Crisps Disney Aulani Contest – expires July 19th, 2015

Disney Diamond Days Sweeps – expires September 11, 2015

AD: Save on Disney World Magic Your Way Tickets

AD: Best Orlando Hotels! Rates From $50!


Super Simple Homeschooling: 5 Math Curriculum Under $30

Our family uses one of these curriculums for math this year.

Note: This post originally appeared on another blog of mine called Let There Be Math. I had to take a sabbatical from that project for awhile, but I am now incorporating it into A Simple Life. 

As I shop again this year for a math curriculum for my elementary aged, homeschooled children, I am put off by the cost of the average homeschool math curriculum. With only a few exceptions, most of the curriculum costs between $35 and $100 per child per grade level.

Now, I understand that good curriculum is worth it, but many homeschool families live off of one income and simply can not afford to spend that much – especially using consumable workbooks for multiple children.

One of the goals of “Let There Be Math” is to be affordable, but still of value and quality.

Until “Let There Be Math” is ready for publication, here are 5 Math Curriculum under $30 (links are to the first in the series):

  1. Life of Fred

  2. JUMP Math Program

  3. Spectrum Math

  4. Schoolaid Math (for grades 1 & 2 – an Amish math curriculum)

  5. Ray’s New Primary Arithmetic

One other way to get a math curriculum for less than $30 is to only get the workbooks for many of the popular curriculum like Rod and Staff, Saxon Math and A Beka, and not purchase a teacher’s guide, tests, etc… However, as the grade levels go up, unless you are a math wiz, it will take more and more time to verify the students work. A book with answers included can be a blessing. We choose to use A Beka this year w/o the teachers guide.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links.

What Our Super Simple (And Cheap) Homeschool Looks Like

Be a fly on the wall of our homeschool today!
Be a fly on the wall of our homeschool today!

A blogger friend of mine, thinking of homeschooling, recently asked our blogger group what we used for our homeschools. This post is for her and anyone else that would like to learn from what we are successfully using in our homeschool this year.

Our homeschool family: 3 girls – one in Kindergarten, one in 2nd grade and one in 3rd grade.

Our challenges this year: I, the homeschool mom, am having a “difficult pregnancy” and am due the end of June. I am on rest and light activity only. I have very little energy or strength.

Our philosophy: to teach our kids about God and what He created each of them to be and do with their lives, to teach them to be productive, useful, serving, and free from things like debt and entitlement. We also find it important to teach them practical skills as much as academics, including how to maintain a household and to start and run their own businesses. We teach them that they, at least to a degree, have a choice between reward and chastening, between blessing and cursing, between life and death.

Disclosure: some links in this post are affiliate links.

Math: We are currently using A Beka for 2nd grade and 3rd grade math. To save money, I skipped purchasing the Teacher’s Guides. Other than a couple of exercise here and there, I have not found that I need them. Cost of each book was $16.95.

Language Arts: We find the simplicity of Queen Publishing’s Language Lessons for the Elementary Child and Language Lessons for the Very Young a fun way to learn the basics of grammar w/o painful stuff like diagramming sentences. Cost of each book was $22.95.

Reading: The library. We make a monthly trip to the library to get fiction and non-fiction books that the children enjoy and fits our set of criteria for acceptable reading. I review / scan everything before they read it. We also peruse thrift stores and used book stores to add some classics and such to our small home collection of books.

When we teach reading, we use phonic flash cards and Bob books to start. I used Rod and Staff 1st grade phonics curriculum last year when I had a 1st grader. I am still debating if this is what I will use next year for my kindergartener. The first year we used the Rod and Staff phonics curriculum, it was given to us as a gift. The readers and teachers guides are reusable.

Writing: Pentime Penmanship – I have the girls back one year as their writing /  printing is their weak point. So the 2nd grader is on grade 1 printing and the 3rd grader is on grade 2 transition from printing to cursive. The girls like the dot-to-dots and little saying that are on the pages with the writing practice, makes it more interesting. These only cost $5.50 each.

Spelling: Sequential Spelling Level 1 – The volumes do not correspond to years and contain more than one years worth of work. We will get halfway through the book this year for my 3rd grader and the second half next year. Its cost was about $20.00

Bible Curriculum: We use The Action Bible for morning devotionals and Christian Light Publishing’s workbook based Bible curriculum for each grade. The Action Bible was $14.95 and worth every penny. The one year, CLP Bible Curriculum was $17.00.

Art: We are using A Beka Art Project workbooks this year for the 3rd grader and the 2nd grader. Lots of fun and very colorful projects. There is some supplies to purchase, which has been a challenge for us and we don’t celebrate all the holidays they cover, so we have skipped quite a few projects, but there are so many, we couldn’t do them all anyway. They were $12.95 each.

History / Social Studies: We do a group / unit study type history called Story Of the World – Vol 1 – The Ancient World. The girls love how the book reads like a story, we use questions and narration to reinforce, there are coloring pages and map work, and finally, a choice of hands on projects to make the history come alive. We got the book and activity book used as a gift.

Science: Same as the history, we are doing group / unit study type science. We are using New Leaf Publishing’s The New Astronomy Book for the 1st 3/4 of the year and their Bug Book for the last 1/4. I did reviews of The New Astronomy Book here, along with a sample unit study and the same for the Bug Book here. These books were free to me for doing reviews.

Music: We were using Music for Little Mozarts Volume 2, but the children were fighting it and I did not have the energy to continue. So now we use YouTube for vocal warm-ups, sing alongs, and occasionally a beginning ballet or tap lesson.

Kindergarten: All three of my girls have loved their Rod and Staff A – J Kindergarten Workbook series, and the latest one is no exception. She also participates in the Science and History unit study curriculum to her ability. We get picture books from the library and I read to her. I am teaching her numbers, letters and basic phonic combos with flash cards. The Kindergarten workbooks were less than $40.00 for the 10 workbook set.

We occasionally do some special, short term unit studies, but that is for another post:-)
Language Lessons - Charlotte Mason Style Language Arts

Baby On A Budget: How To Spend Less Than $100 On Your Basic Baby Needs

Baby On A Budget: How To Spend Less Than $100 On Your Basic Baby Needs
Baby On A Budget: How To Spend Less Than $100 On Your Basic Baby Needs

I know that many people save for their first baby. Unfortunately, many other folks do not. Maybe the baby is a surprise, earlier than planned, or they simply don’t have the income coming in to save.

We were both taken a bit by surprise by our first pregnancy and we still weren’t very good budgeters, so even when we found out we were pregnant and I was still working part time, we were living at our means and didn’t make the sacrifices we could have to save, other than the $100 a month payment to the mid-wife.

With all the money going out in bills, food, etc… how did we provide a crib, infant seat, baby bathtub, clothing, and more that a new baby needs? The following is how we still managed to have it all w/o spending more than $100 out of our own pocket:

  1. We let our family, friends and church community know our needs. We were humble enough to be grateful for all the hand-me down stuff that we were given. Lots of clothing, blankets, burp-rags, a baby bath, a high chair, a diaper bag, and more came in from other families and friends. We also ended up with a dresser and a stroller this way.
  2. A friend of mine hosted a baby shower for me. We were given beautiful, handmade blankets, cute as can be dresses (we were having a girl), and lots of practical stuff like diaper rash cream, diapers and pacifiers.
  3. Each of our parents contributed one major purchase with my mom-in-law getting us a crib (which ended up lasting through 3 babies) and mattress and my parents got us the infant seat.
  4. We picked up a few additional clothes from thrift / resale stores.

Although we had all we needed for baby one through these means, since then we have received / purchased a few additional items through the following means:

  1. Craigslist / want ads – always a great source of toys, clothing and more. Many people practically give stuff away. Others are trying to make some of their money back, but most people will deal, so try talking them down a little.
  2. Giveaways – lots of blogs out there are hosting giveaways of baby stuff. Try a few, you never know what you might end up with. There are also blogs that give away samples and such or find deals. If you have a little time, it is worth a search.

If you have saved a little money and want to get some items new, make the most of your funds by searching Ebates for coupons and cash back deals for 100’s of stores selling baby and children’s goods.

Simple, Healthy, Cheap Recipes: Caribbean Fish Curry

When you think of the Caribbean and food, what items come to mind? Coconuts, mangoes, fish? I am sure there will be many other things that come to mind, but for this Simple, Healthy, Cheap! Caribbean inspired recipe, these 3 ingredients play center stage.

Ingredients: 

Oil

1 to 3 Tbs curry powder or paste – curry pastes are generally spicier than powder

2 tsp salt

1 to 3 tsp ginger – more means more spice / heat

3 cloves garlic

2 cups coconut milk

2 cups water (optional – fish broth)

4 Tbs fish sauce (optional)

2 Tbs sugar

1 mango, diced

1 cup mixed veggies like peas and carrots

1 to 1 1/2 lbs white fish, cut into chunks

2 cups rice (6 cups when cooked)

Instructions: 

1) Cook rice according to rice instructions.

2) Heat oil in a large pot or wok.

3) Add all spices and salt (garlic, ginger, curry powder or paste) and sauté for 30 seconds.

4) Add coconut milk and water – bring to a low boil.

5) Add diced mangoes, veggies and then the fish. Return to a simmer

6) Cook about 10 minutes, making sure the fish is cooked through.

7) Serve curry over the rice in bowls, more rice than curry.

Should make 10 to 12 servings.

I hope you enjoy this frugal recipe.

See this recipe on “Try A New Recipe Tuesday” from Home to 4 Kiddos.

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