Grocery shopping: we've done minimal grocery shopping, thanks to many friends and family that dropped off meals. Yum! Some things we did buy were cider and donuts for my birthday as well as crackers. Yesterday after church we did our first post-baby grocery shopping. We spent $18.50 on some "convenience" items that I can just grab and eat: packaged salad, string cheese and crackers. We also bought milk, avocados and a bag of cheesy popcorn for yours truly.
1. Breastfeeding! This was one thing I REALLY wanted to do and so far it's been easier than expected. Baby Girl eats like a champ. I consider this a kind of consolation prize for the rather awful labor she put me through. Being able to nurse obviously saves a lot of money because you don't have to buy food for baby. And nursing itself is pretty cheap. I probably spent $20.00 on nursing supplies like special freezer bags, breast pads, etc. That's been my main "accomplishment" of the past few weeks.
2. Found some things for my cloth diaper stash. When I got married, my mom gave me some cloth diaper prefolds that she didn't need anymore. I dug them out of storage last week. To my surprise I found not only the prefolds, but also some Snappi clips, a pail liner and three Econobum diaper covers. Yay! I'm not sure how well the covers will work (they're 5+ years old), but I'm hoping to revive them with some new elastic. A friend also lent me some of her diaper covers to try out before I purchase any of my own (thanks Esther!). I figure we have two to three months' worth of size 1 & 2 disposables left. By the time those are gone I hope to have BG in cloth full time. We also have some size 3 diapers that she'll be able to use later on, when cloth would be inconvenient.
One project I have planned for the next couple months is to try making my own diaper covers. In order to do this frugally, I've been buying supplies at Joanns with 40-50% off coupons. This is slow-going because I can only use one coupon trip. Not only is it slow-going, but it's proving to be more expensive than I thought. For some reason I figured that I'd only have to buy the PUL fabric. However, after we got to the store I realized that I'd also have to buy snaps ($10 w/o coupon), a snap tool ($20 w/o coupon) and most likely some elastic and a pattern. This will really eat into my cloth diaper budget. The cost for fabric alone would be less than $5.00 per cover- a real bargain. But the additional $15.00+ in supplies will increase the cost for my three diaper covers to $10.00+ per cover. You can buy quality covers for that price brand new, on sale. So the DIY cloth diaper cover project will only be cost-effective if I make a lot more than three covers. Sigh.
3. Made nursing tank tops. Before Baby Girl was born, I bought a bunch of $1.68 camisoles from Walmart to make nursing tanks with. I used this tutorial to make them- barely any sewing required! However, the tops did sag a bit low for my liking, so I'm looking for a way to bring the necklines a bit higher.
4. A friend gifted me a box of hand-me-down baby girl clothes. I was able to find a lot of things I could use, especially in the bigger sizes (9-24 months). I sort of had some baby clothes organized before our daughter was born, but they were mostly unisex and boy clothes (for some reason I thought it would be a boy). So it was a real blessing to get some girl clothes!
Along the same lines, I reorganized all of our baby clothes by size and made a "donate" pile for the used boy clothes/maternity clothing that I didn't end up wearing. At this point I have enough baby clothes to last until garage sale season, plus some. Which is pretty awesome.
5. Gardening: On Saturday all three of us (me, Hubs and Baby Girl) got outside to do some light garden work. I harvested peppers and ornamental gourds/pumpkins. Hubs pulled out dead corn stalks, took down the corn fence and helped me dig beets, potatoes, carrots and onions. I saved some onion seeds for next year. I also dug up some flower bulbs that needed to come in before the first frost. Baby Girl helped by sleeping in the stroller while we worked.
I started the potato project back in July. I had bought a bag from Aldi to eat, but four or five of the potatoes ended up sprouting. Instead of throwing them out or putting into compost, I cut the sprouted potatoes in chunks (each chunk with an eye or two) and planted them in an empty raised bed. From the would-have-been-wasted potatoes, I estimate that we harvested five more pounds of good, edible potatoes. I thought this was fantastic for the 30 minutes of work involved cutting the potatoes into chunks, planting them and digging them up again. Plus, because I planted the potatoes so late, I avoided having to deal with potato bugs. Note for anyone wanting to grow potatoes: I have found that many grocery store potatoes are sprayed with something that doesn't allow them to sprout. Aldi potatoes are an exception to this rule. While this means they have a (much) shorter shelf life, it also means that Aldi potatoes are good for re-planting- and this includes Aldi sweet potatoes. My mother-in-law and some neighbors have had great success regrowing and planting sweet potatoes from Aldi. Like my late white potatoes, the sweet potatoes that my MIL grew were not susceptible to potato bugs as were her other potatoes. Not only are sweet potatoes healthier and worth more money (therefore a better use of time to grow), but they also require less work because of the bug factor. Just something to think about for next year's garden. :)
Til next time,