"Deals" via Budget in Google Reader

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Britax Customer experience

First of all, I am sorry for being away for so long. I have been sick for like a month and that on top of the holidays has kept me away from my computer.

Second, I made a few calls to Britax regarding our car seat and wanted to share what happened with you.
Britax Boulevard 70 Convertible Car Seat, Onyx

So, we have the Britax Boulvard car seat. It came highly recommended and this was one place I was willing to splurge (plus we put it on our registry). The seat has always been pretty hard to tighten, but once we moved it forward facing, it has been really hard for me to tighten my son in as much as he should be. If my husband is not available to strap him in for me, I will buckle him in, then go in the front seat of the car to get some good leverage to pull him in as tight as I can, but I feel like he could still be tighter. My husband (a strong farm boy) says that it isn't exactly easy for him either.

A couple of weeks ago, I called Britax on my lunch break (but did not have the seat in front of me) and the lady told me some things to look for. I did and called them back this morning. Nothing on their list seemed to be broken, so after giving her the serial number and batch number, she got my address and then asked which fabric I would like my replacement seat in. They do not make the seat we have anymore, so they are sending me the newer model..... how AWESOME is that?

Go Britax!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

What to Pay - Small toys

Melissa & Doug Geometric Stacker

After talking with a few other parents, I think I may be the minority when it comes to toys and feeling like we have too many, which is why I asked friends and family to donate to a family trying to adopt an orphan from Eastern Europe instead of toys this year. After having Christmas with my family recently, I realized that they really enjoy buying my son toys, so asking them not to, is kind of an insult, but he has so much!

Anyways, back to the toys. My adivce (if you want to take it after reading the above), don't buy them unless you love them. I got a garbage bag of free toys from a relative that I didn't have to pay a penny for. Not to mention, mom2mom and garage sales are almost giving toys away by the end of the day.

Some of my favorite purchases:
Alphabet Blocks $1.50

Fisher-Price Stacking Action Blocks$ .25

As I am sitting here trying to think of other toys I have personally purchased for him, I can't think of anymore...

His personal favorites right now are:
  • An old kleenex box that he puts things in and take them out of
  • An old paper towel roll that he makes noises in and hits things with
  • Laundry baskets. He likes putting things in and taking them out and pushing them around the house. Infact his first steps were from one laundry basket to another.
  • A child size broom that was mine when I was a kid.
  • Beany Babies that I planned to save, sell and make millions on (but so did everyone else, so that plan failed).
  • Packaging of any kind.
  • Any book.

What are your kids favorite toys? Do you feel like they have too much, just enough or not enough?

Friday, December 17, 2010

What to Pay - Bibs

BABYBJĂ–RN Soft Bib 2 Pack - Red/Blue

This was an area I thought we were set and overloaded on... and I was wrong.

Since every outfit we got seemed to come with a bib, I thought we were set for life on baby bibs, well it turns out they must only be for spit-up. They are way to small to use now and were not great at catching food or stopping liquids from sinking though. As I said before, I loved the hard plastic bibs for the boy I nannied for and am looking forward to using them for my son in a couple of months when he is a bit bigger. For now however, we love these.

Bibs are another item that I would not worry about getting however, these are another gift favorite and are super easy to find at garage and mom2mom sales. Many times you get get them for $.10.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What to Pay - Dishes

Royal Doulton Bunnykins Baby Dinnerware Set, Assorted Motifs

We got most of our dishes at Ikea and absolutely love them. I nannied in Europe in college and the kids there had ikea dishes, so when I saw them for only $1.99 per pack (Silverware, cups, plates and bowls). I had to make the purchase! The downside is that they are only sold in stores and not online.

We also got this set because I loved the hard plastic bibs for the kids I nannied for. It did an awesome job of catching the food he would spill. They do not however work well for our son yet because he too small for it to fit between him and the top of his high chair. I think it will work much better once we move him to the booster. The suction cup bowls doesn't work well enough for our strong little guy, he just pulls it off the high chair and throws it on the floor anyways.

We also use some spoons and disposible plastic cups from the dollar store and take and toss bowls. Since we made most of our baby food (post to come). They were used quite a bit to transport food to daycare.

This is not an item that I would worry too much about getting a good deal on because they are so cheap to begin with.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Breastmilk Bottle Set-8oz

How much you should spend on bottles depends on how concerned you are about using used ones or ones that are plastic. Bottles made my list of things that some people will not use used.

If you are concerned about storing and feeding in plastic, than you many want to save some extra money to invest in glass.

If you are not however, this is usually a pretty easy item to find used for next to nothing.

We purchased and used quite a few gerber bottles. They are plastic, but BPA free and super cheap for those days we forgot to pack nipples and need to stop at meijer on the way to daycare.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Giveaway - Olde Apple Tree Soap

A mama of 4 lovely girls and maker of all natural Olde Apple Tree soaps has just sent me some samples to giveaway! Lets support her new facebook page!

Lets cut to the chase, here are the many ways you can enter!
  1. "Follow" Budget4Baby on blogger* and leave a comment on this post saying you did.
  2. "Like" Olde Apple Tree Soaps on Facebook* and leave a comment on this post saying you did.
  3. "Like" Budget4Baby on Facebook* and leave a comment on this post saying you did.
  4. Write a meaningful comment on any blog post on the Budget4Baby blog and leave a comment on this post saying you did and the title of the post you commented on. (So, yes you could pretty much have unlimited entries)
    • "Nice Post", "I disagree" = unmeaningful comments and will not count.
    • "We actually used our Bumbo seat all the time. It was great to set on the bathroom counter while we got ready in the morning, a real lifesaver" = Meaningful comment.
  5. Refer a friend to this giveaway. If your friend wins and tells me you sent them, I will send you a bar as well!
Now for the "fine print"
  • ONLY comments on this blog post will be counted when the random number is selected. It is too hard to count facebook comments as well.
  • Anyone, living anywhere, may enter this giveaway, however if you are outside of the continental US, you will be responsible for all shipping costs or other fees associated with sending the soap via paypal.
  • *Indicates a mandatory entry. If you are choosen as the winner, but have not completed all mandatry entries, another number will be selected.
  • The giveaway will end when Olde Apple Tree Soaps reaches 50 "likes" or on January 1st. (whichever takes longer).

What to Pay - Baby bath

Summer Infant Newborn-Toddler Bath Center & Shower -Pink

My advice, DO NOT BUY ONE OF THESE NEW! They are EVERYWHERE used. Mom2Mom sales, garage sales, freecycle.... and they are easy to find a for just a few dollars.

This is also a good item to wait and see on. We barely used ours and gave it away to a friend. Instead we really liked the bath sponge that we could lay him on and just put him in the real bath tub. It did probably use more water, but we found it much easier to use.

Safety 1st Comfy Bath Cushion, Green

I ended up getting my tub for free from someone in a local parenting group.

Did you use your baby bath? Does your bath have extras that you would consider must haves?

Monday, December 13, 2010

What to Pay - Towels and Wash Cloths

Spasilk 100% Cotton Hooded Terry Bath Towel with 4 Washcloths, Green
The bad news - Wash cloths are hard to find used. For good reason too, the ones we have are pretty gross after over a year of use. Why? we used them everywhere! To wash his face after meals, to wash his high chair after meals, to wash him etc. Sometimes foods like carrots or pumpkins will stain them and they never look the same after that.

The good news - Towels are a bit easier to find used. Since the baby is usually clean already, when the towel is used, there are usually not stains other than laundry mishaps.

The really good news - People LOVE to buy baby bathtime stuff! These were the first things to go on our registry and we got doubles of almost everything!

That being said, most of our baby stuff was purchased new, but I did get a nice towel and some wash cloths at garage sales for under a dollar, so they are out there.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What to Pay - Saftey Items

Evenflo Top of Stair Plus GateMommy's Helper Outlet Plugs 36 PackMommy's Helper Door Knob Safety CoverMommy's Helper Toilet Seat Lid-LokSafety 1st Drawers and Doors Safety Kit - 26 Piece
I am still learning on this one. The first safety items that I purchased were two baby gates for $30 that needed to be installed.Since we have 2 stair cases (one to the upstairs and one to the basement) I thought that we would need these and I did not want to get the pressure type gates since I wanted them to be very strong for being at the top of the stairs. One of the gates was installed at the top of the basement stairs as soon as he could scootch around. The other is still not installed, but we plan to use it at the bottom of the basement stairs as soon as the basement is finished.
We also purchased two baby gates for full price at babies R us in desperation.We needed something to keep him in one room when he started to get mobile so we could sit down for a few minutes at time. They have been used in multiple locations and have been great to take to friends houses to keep him contained there. They have been used to keep him in the kitchen, to keep him out of the kitchen. Upstairs (since it was going to be pretty hard to install a gate at the top of the stairs, we also have a landing and keep a pretty close eye on him while up there, so we feel it is safe), at the bottom of the basement stairs temporarily and on our deck.  I have concerns about when we move him downstairs to his own room (since we are upstairs). I don't want to lock him in his room, but I also don't want him wandering the house and getting hurt. Someone suggested putting a gate across his bedroom door so we would hear him and he couldn't get out, but he wouldn't be as locked in.

The next thing we installed were the outlet covers. These are a pain to keep track of. I worry that they are a chocking hazard if left around. They are also a pain to get out. I recently found some at meijer for our basement play room that I like much better, but I cannot find them online to link you to them. They have little buttons that make them easier to get out and they also have notches on the sides so you can just clip them to the cord of what ever you plug in. They are also not a worry free way to protect your child from electrocution. Our son ended up half way unplugging our CO2 detector and touching the prongs, which gave him a little shock. He was OK, but it is a good reminder that they can still hurt themselves, even with the proper child safety measures in place.

These were hopeless for us. We installed them when he discovered they cabinets opened and he figured out how to get past the locks a week later. It does slow him down, so the do help a bit, but they were still less effective that we had hoped.

We registered for these, but have not used them yet. He can reach the door knobs and has the right idea on opening them, but so far has not done so. These may be installed very soon.

I did register for one of these and did not get them, but I am not sure we need them. We find it easier and better to just keep the bathroom door shut at all times so he cannot get in there. He seems to like to flush the toilet more than anything.

What childproofing have you done? Was is all necessary? Do you think any childproofing is necessary or should children be taught what not to do?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What to Pay - Snoogle

Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow
I found one of these for $15 (with a cover) at a mom2mom sale and got it. Typically these are about $80 at babies r us and you also need to buy (or make) a cover. I really liked it. It seemed to support all of the areas a I needed it too and eliminated the 5 other pillows I had doing the same thing. However, the pillows did work, so this may not be something you would want to spend $80. The one I bought was the only one I had ever seen at a mom2mom sale also, so you might have a hard time finding one used. It did also serve as a barrier to keep my half (ok 3/4ths) of the bed to mys
Publish Post

Friday, December 10, 2010

What to Pay - Boppy

Boppy Bare Naked Expandable Miracle Middle Pillow
The boppy seems to be one of those essential things that every mom needs to have. Its primary purpose is for a nursing pillow, but I didn't really care for it for that reason because the baby tends to fall inward. A normal pillow seemed to work just as well. If you feel you need a good nursing pillow, I would recommend the My brest friend pillow, the lactation center at our hospital had one that I tried and it was nice, but not worth the extra money and storage space t me. 

We did however use our boppy for other things. I used it while pregnant. I am a back sleeper and since it is recommended that you sleep on your side while pregnant, it was a hard adjustment for me. My shoulder would hurt from the pressure put on it, so I replaced my normal pillow with the boppy so that my head would be propped up and take the pressure off my shoulder. 
We also used our boppy for tummy time and to prop him up when sitting just before he could sit on his own. If you are willing to get these used, I would recommend it. They seem to be everywhere at garage and mom2 mom sales, so you should be able to get one for $5 or under.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What to Pay - Diaper Pails

Safety 1st Simple Step Diaper Pail
For some reason, because we had planned to do cloth, it did not occur to me that we needed a diaper pale. I did end up purchasing one at a mom 2 mom sale for $3, but I also had delusions that I would be willing (and at first able) to take baby upstairs every two hours and just use the one changing station we had set up there.

We ended up purchasing a second diaper pale so we had one on each floor. To complicate things, we use disposables at night and other times, so we need a place to put both disposables and cloth diapers. We actually just use small trash cans with used plastic grocery bags as a liner. They usually do not smell bag and when they do we just change them. The cloth diapers tend not to smell bad either (unless they have not been washed in awhile) since we rise out the poop right away (we do only have one diaper sprayer and it is downstairs).
Both pales do have a place for you to put deodorizer disks, but I don't think they made a difference.

I have heard people swear by the diaper genie, and they don't seem to be too bad when purchased used, but there they get you is on the bag refills

So, in conclusion, if you are just doing cloth, you need somewhere to keep the diapers between washes. If you are doing just disposables, a regular trash can may work for you, unless your baby has really stinky poo. If you are willing to get just any old diaper pale and are not turned off by getting one used, you can get them for under $5. Most places will have smaller ones new for around $10.
What type of diapers do you use? Do you use a pale or a regular trash can? Do you own a diaper genie? If so, what do you think?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What to Pay - Baby Swing

Disney Baby All-in-One Swing Featuring Pooh Characters

We got lucky and had a friend lend us their baby swing. It as great for a couple of nights here and there when he was congested, but for the most part it just sat in our living room and took up space. As I said before, I do however know many people so say this was and essential parents survival tool. 

If we were to need to buy a swing, knowing what I know now, I would get a travel swing. We have a small house and a full size swing along with all of the other baby stuff made for a very cluttered house. The full size swing was also very hard to transport, so I think a travel swing could "kill two birds with one stone". 

Was your swing essential to you, or just in the way? Did you use a travel swing full time and did it work well? Did you get a good deal on your swing?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What to Pay - Rocking Chair

Shermag Glider Rocker w/ Ottoman in Cherry

We use our rocker all the time. However, we can't always rock in it because it squeaks. We have tried to oil it a few times, but it doesn't seem to work. I think the next step will be to buy some tools to take it apart to really get the oil deep inside. 

This was a super hard purchase for me. I wanted a glider (because everyone said that is what you need). We went from store to store to store to find the perfect one for the perfect price and never did find one. I wanted something to go with our Primary color theme and I wanted something cheap. Well, neither of those options existed. 

A friend ended up getting me one at a thrift store that needed new pads, so in the end I did get exactly what I wanted: A glider rocker with a cover that perfectly matched our nursery (because I made it). However, now that I am an experienced Mom, I think the perfect nursery chair would be a lazy-boy. Unless you have strick rules that baby should always sleep in his or her crib, having a place that I could rock baby to sleep and then recline so I could sleep would have been really nice on those nights where he has a cough or is congested. 

I never saw a glider rocker and ottoman for under $150 in the store. I think they have them around that price at target, but any furniture store we went to did not have them under $300. I have seen them used for $30, but you will want to make sure they are squeak free. 

What do you think the perfect type of chair for the nursery is? What do you have? Were you able to re purpose a chair you already had? If you bought yours, did you get a good deal?

Monday, December 6, 2010

What to Pay - Baby Gym

Baby Einstein Around The World Play Gym 
Although I saw many of these at a mom 2 mom sale in the $10-$20 and one for $5. I declined to buy it because I had not done my homework and assumed they were probably not much more than $20 new, so they didn't seem like very good deals. It turns out these things start around $50 new, which seems silly to me for a quilt and some cloth covered foam. 

I ended up paying $10 for mine from our childbirth educator when she had her garage sale. It was worth a bit more to me to know where it had come from. If you find one of these for $5 pick it up. I had a friend get one for under that once, but it was quite soiled. 

We didn't really use ours that much. We used it more for a quilt to lay on the ground. By the time he was interested in batting at the toys hanging on it, he was also able to sit with support, so we had plenty of other things he could use for that. Our did come with a tummy time pillow which we did use, but overall I would put this on our "used, but didn't need" list. Especially if you need to pay full price. 

Did you use your play gym enough to stay it was worth it? Did you get a good deal?