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Stylish and Fashionable Diaper Bags for Mom


Finding stylish and fashionable diapers bags was a somewhat difficult thing to do a few years back. Not anymore. Diaper bags now come in a huge variety of colors, patterns, materials, shapes and sizes. While I’ve still been unable to find what I consider the perfect bag for dad… you’ll have no problem finding that perfect diaper bag for mom.

Coco Diaper BagI’ve followed the evolution of diaper bags since around 1998 when I first starting selling them through my previous website for parents. We don’t currently have the top 10 rated diaper bags on the Parenting Tips Blender, but it’s coming soon. Meanwhile, check out the big selection of pink diaper bags on my Rainebrooke.com website.

I was also recently contacted by BabyBeau, which is a UK company that has some beautiful diaper bags. The Coco Dusty Pink diaper bag caught my eye, but they have a great selection of diaper bags that look nothing like a diaper bag.

From BabyBeau…

Becoming a parent can be a life altering experience, but it needn’t
define you. Babybeau produce luxury fashion changing bags that combine
style with functionality, enabling parents to fuel their inner
fashionista without sacrificing the practicalities of a conventional
changing bag. Whether a parent craves sophistication, fashion chic, or
a touch of elegance, Babybeau’s designer collection caters for all.

Babybeau’s elegant range of changing bags comfortably accommodate
parenthood, whilst enabling parents to maintain their sense of style.
By removing the pop-out baby organiser, each bag instantly transforms
into a regular handbag, suitable for any occasion… conveniently
making room for a lifestyle beyond the nappies, baby-wipes, bottles
and bibs.

BabyBeau founder and mother of one, Rebecca Gono comments: “Becoming
a parent throws you into a completely new arena. Many mothers, in
particular, find themselves juggling different lifestyles: as a
mother, a business woman, a wife or partner. Through BabyBeau, I’ve
designed a collection of bags that adapt to these various lifestyles
without surrendering fashion for practicality, enabling parents to
have it all.“

BabyBeau prides itself on a collection of luxurious leather bags,
suitable for both men and women, that exude stylish flair and enable
parents to be more than just parents.

Visit www.Baby-Beau.co.uk to view the full collection.

How To Feed Your Family Without Going Broke


In this economy, who doesn’t want to save a dollar? The biggest expense most families have is food. Although food is a vital part of daily living, there are still some ways to save money on it and feed your family good, nutritious meals. Below are my top 5 food-saving tips for you and your family!

1. Dented/Discount Stores

Many areas have some sort of dented can or discount store that offers food well below retail prices. To find one, do an online search, as discount stores don’t do a lot of advertising (so that they can keep their prices low). The food at these stores is still good, but has ugly packaging. Sometimes, you can find prices up to 90% off of retail.

2. Sale Shopping

You can save money on groceries by only shopping the sales. The best way to do this is plan your meals around only what is on sale at your local grocery store. This takes a little bit of planning ahead, but will save you a lot of money in the end.

3. Larger Meals

I know this may seem counter intuitive, but by cooking in bulk, you can freeze the leftovers and have them for lunches or other meals. Often, it’s cheaper to buy and cook in bulk. Just remember to choose dishes, such as stews, that freeze well.

4. Love Your Crockpot

A crockpot is a great tool to not only save you time, but money. You can throw a wide variety of ingredients in it and produce delicious meals. Many books at the library have different crockpot recipes for you to try, but if you can’t get to the library, you can also do an online search for crockpot meals.

5. Up Your Chicken

Chicken is usually less expensive than meat. If you get a whole chicken, you can get a lot of bang for your buck. A whole chicken can last at least 3 meals, if you use it creatively. For your first meal, simply pull off chicken pieces and serve with a vegetable and cheap side such as rice. For your second meal, pull off any leftover pieces and put it in a casserole or dish such as Chicken Tetrazzini. Now, don’t throw away that chicken carcass. Place it in a pot of boiling water for about an hour. When finished, pour the water and contents into a strainer and pick out leftover chicken pieces and make a big pot of chicken noodle soup. If you make a big enough pot, you can get 2 meals out of the soup. This chicken has now provided your family with at least 3 healthy meals AND saved you quite a bit of money.

Feeding a family can be a money drainer for any family. However, by following the above tips you can save a lot of money and make your money much further. That money can be used to pay for other family expenses, such as clothing and family activities. The key to saving money on food is to think outside the box.

Kayla McBride writes about saving money and visiting websites such as www.homeownersinsurance.org

Giveaway! – Win this Cute Pink Laptop Bag from Rainebrooke.com (closed)


To spread a little holiday cheer to the “Parenting Tips Blender” followers, I thought I’d offer a giveaway.  This giveaway if for a pink laptop bag called the “Allie” which is made by Rainebrooke.com.

Rainebrooke.com is a site that offers a huge selection of pink laptop bags and cases for women. If you’re on the hunt for the perfect gift, then consider a pink laptop bag, pink laptop case, pink messenger or any of the items offered by Rainebrooke.

The Allie pink laptop bag being offered in this giveaway will fit most laptops with screen sizes up to 15″. To be exact, the laptop compartment size will hold up to 14.25 x 11 x 2 inches. This bag has plenty of pockets, it’s padded and comes with a removable  shoulder strap. To see additional images go here.

Allie Laptop Bag / Tote

Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered.

Congrats to Kim Kelley on winning this giveaway. Kim’s comment #10 was the number chosen at Random.org

Win It!

  • Open to US only
  • One winner will be chosen at random from the comments by using Random.org
  • Giveaway closes on Monday, Nov. 28th at 11am CST

To Enter:

  • Visit Rainebrooke and comment here telling me which is your favorite pink laptop bag.

For Extra Entries:

The fine print:

  • One bag will be given away.
  • Giveaway is open to anyone in the US.
  • We will pay for shipping (Ground) within US.
  • We reserve the right to remove comments that we can not confirm from the entry methods above.
  • The winner will be notified by the email at the address which they provided with the comment. The winner will have 48 hours to reply to the winning email notification. If we don’t receive a reply within 48 hours a new winner will be chosen.
  • I founded Rainebrooke, so I’m not receiving compensation for this offering 🙂

 

Top Rated / Best Jogging Strollers Currently Available


As all new and expecting parents come to find, there are baby strollers in multiple styles and colors.  Each style of baby stroller has a unique use. Lightweight umbrella strollers for quick trips, standard lightweight strollers for everyday use, travel systems which serve as a stroller and car seat carrier and then there’s my favorite, the jogging stroller.

Out of all the baby strollers that I used with my two daughters, the best stroller and my fave was always a jogging stroller. At one point I had two jogging strollers… a single and a double.

Why was a jogging stroller my favorite? Several reasons. The larger wheels are both comfortable for the child and they go over all types of terrain. There’s room to carry a bag underneath (most models) and they can be used in just about every situation. I would use mine all day long, for just about everything I did with my girls. From trips to the zoo, to exercising. Best of all, the jogging stroller was always the easiest for me to push around because of the larger air-filled tires and because most joggers are taller than normal strollers. Since I’m 6’3″, I always got annoyed with pushing around smaller umbrella strollers that I had to bend down to reach.

If you’re considering a  jogging stroller, here are the top 5 best sellers currently on the market.

1. Jeep Overland Limited Jogging Stroller with Front Fixed Wheel, Fierce – this Jeep Overland Limited jogging stroller is currently the most popular jogging stroller available. It has a front fixed wheel, air filled tires, and adjustable handle, the iBaby sound system for mom, dad and baby, speed distance odometer, large storage basket, cup holders, five point safety harness, multi position seat and folds easily.

2. BOB Revolution SE Duallie Double Jogging Stroller, Navy – Ideal for parents and caregivers of multiple children, the BOB Revolution SE Duallie Stroller offers a pivoting front wheel and a lightweight frame that’s designed for two. The easy-to-fold frame and suspension system provide convenience and comfort that both you and your children will appreciate. And the stroller is packed with extra features like reclining seats and adjustable, multi-position canopies.

3. InStep Safari Swivel Wheel Double Jogger – Take a jog or a stroll with baby in the InStep Safari Double Jogging Stroller. Made for the active parent, this swivel wheel jogger provides features that keep the little one comfortable such as pneumatic, high performance tires that ensure a smooth ride, a dual trigger folding mechanism and built-in carrying handles for uncompromising safety when folding and transporting the stroller. Parent and pivoting child trays with two cup holders each add convenience and all three wheels come with a quick-release feature that make removal a snap (literally). The canopy is retractable and has five positions to ensure protection against UV rays. This jogger seats two children up to 50 pounds each.

4. Schwinn Turismo Swivel Single Jogger Stroller – The wide tread tires of the Schwinn Turismo Swivel Single Jogger are great for handling even the roughest terrains. The 12-Inch front swivel wheel locks forward for added control and stability, while the 16-Inch rear wheels glide with ease for effortless pushing. This single stroller features a lightweight aluminum frame.

5. BOB Revolution SE Single Jogging Stroller, Black – Designed with a pivoting front wheel and a lightweight frame, the BOB Revolution SE Stroller offers a smooth ride and is ideal for everyday activities and not-so-everyday adventures. The easy-to-fold frame and suspension system provide convenience and comfort that both you and your baby will appreciate. And the stroller is packed with extra features like a reclining seat and a adjustable, multi-position canopy.


Allowance for Kids – Should Children get an Allowance, How Much, and at What Age?


Allowances for children is a heavily debated subject with parents. Should kids get an allowance? If so, how much? At what age? What chores should they do for their allowance? The questions go on and on.

I grew up getting an allowance. I don’t remember how much, but I do remember getting it. So the allowance I got was worth remembering. My sister and I had to do chores for our allowance. From what I remember it was fairly simple chores such as keeping things picked up, doing the dishes, setting the table for dinner, etc. I have a very faint memory of having a chore chart for our allowance, but in my opinion chore charts are a good idea. They give kids a clear idea of what they have to do.

I personally think allowances for children is a good idea. It helps them start to understand the basic concepts behind money. How much? It’s a tough question. The allowance can’t be too small or they won’t care. To big and they’ll get spoiled. If it’s the right amount they’ll learn to appreciate it and will be willing to work to keep it. It gives them a responsibility around the house and they’ll have something to show for completing that responsibility. What age is best to start an allowance? Another good question. I personally think about 8 to 10 yrs old is a good age, but every parent has to think about what’s right for their child.

For any parent contemplating an allowance for their children, I’ve compiled a blend of articles and resources below that discuss this topic. In this parenting tip blend you’ll find articles and resources on kids allowances, should children get an allowance and why, how much, what age, chore charts and much more.

Do you have a favorite article on this subject? Share it below in a comment.

Kids Allowance “The Blend”

Do you know of a helpful article to add to our list? Share it below.

What’s your opinion on allowances? Share it below.

Photo by GoodNCrazy

Things for New or Expecting Parents to Consider when Buying a New Home


Buying a new home is exciting. Especially for new or expecting parents. Many new or expecting parents base a potential home purchase on things like the number of rooms, bathrooms and area/neighborhood. While these are important things, many parents with older children have a much different view on what’s important.

My daughters are now 8 and 10 yrs old. While I love our home, there are many things about it that would have made me think twice about buying it, if I knew then what I know now. What kids do when they’re 8 and 10 is very different from what they did at 3 and 5 yrs old. For any new or expecting parent that’s about to start looking to buy a new home, I’ll include my suggestions and opinions below. Some of these may seem silly for new parents, but trust me, they matter. I’ll also include some general tips and suggestions that deal with safety in and around a new potential home purchase.

This list is not intended to be a comprehensive checklist. I invite other parents with older children to add to it… what tips and suggestions can you add to this list? Share your opinion and help other new or expecting parents.

  • Try to avoid having a door to the backyard in the main living area. It may seem like a good idea, but as your children grow, that door will get used more than a door at a shopping mall. Open, close, open, close.. and on and on. Most of the time getting slammed since kids can’t shut a door quietly. If this door is in your main family room or living area, forget trying to relax during the day.
  • If possible, have a home with two living areas or a separate game-room/TV room. I know in many areas of the country having extra space like this is not possible because of the cost of homes. However, if it is possible in your situation, try having this extra space for you and your spouse to relax. Your kids will take over one area, leaving you with another room to relax in. Try to get a home where this extra space is separated by a wall or two, so your kids loudness and playing doesn’t make it’s way into the separate area.
  • If you’re considering a two story home, try to get all the bedrooms on one level. This is really a matter of personal preference, but one that I feel is important. It keeps your kids at a safe distance and lets you react faster if they need you. For example, if they have a bad dream. It’s nice to not have to walk up or down the stairs to comfort them. On the flip side though, you’ll probably want some space between the rooms when your children are older. My preference is all the bedrooms on the same level, but the master being separated from the children’s room by a quest room that isn’t occupied very often.
  • If possible, purchase a home with a long driveway. A driveway is a much safer place to play than the street.
  • Avoid home on busy streets, corner lots and back streets. Kids don’t think about safety when they play. They don’t think about cars coming down the street. Avoid busy main streets and you’ll remove a potential danger. Corner lots pose a danger from dangerous, drunk or bad drivers missing the corner. Back streets can sometimes back up to forest or vacant land. Don’t give your kids the chance to wonder off or play with the snake or animal coming from the vacant lot.
  • Think twice about a home with a pool. Pools are wonderful to have, but for the parents with a baby or young child they can be deadly. Consider a neighborhood that has a community pool and not a pool in the backyard. It gives you control on when they go swimming and as a bonus you and your kids will benefit socially by meeting other neighbors. If do you buy a home with a pool, make sure all the latest up to date safety equipment is in place in and around the pool (fence, gates, locks, alarms, etc.).
  • Peek over the fence at who your neighbors may be. How do they keep their yard, pool, etc. Do they have dogs. Do the dogs look aggressive or dangerous. Is their pool properly protected with fencing and locked gates?
  • Does the home you’re looking at have safe playground equipment? Is the equipment anchored correctly with the proper cushioning around the swings, etc? If you don’t think it safe or needs attention, try to get this worked in so the current owner fixes it on their dime.
  • Do the windows of the home have good locks or guards? If they don’t, try to get the current owner to fix this.
  • Does the home have stairs? Stairs are like a magnet for babies and young children. If the home you’re looking at has stairs, look closely to make sure the proper safety gates can be installed after you buy the home.
  • Do all the electrical outlets near the sinks and wet areas have ground fault circuit interrupter’s (GFCI’s) in place?
  • Does every room have a smoke detector? Are carbon monoxide detectors in place? Try to get the current owner to cover this if you sign a contract to purchase the home.

When you’re looking around at homes for your family, try to think back when you were young. What kind of trouble did you get into to around the home. Think like a kid when you’re looking around and you may find some hidden dangers or problems in the home you’re considering buying. You probably won’t catch everything, but with some thought you’ll greatly increase the likelihood that the home you purchase will be an enjoyable and safe place for you, your spouse and children.

Do you have any tips for new parents? Share them below in a comment.

Be a Guest Blogger on the Parenting Tips Blender


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Photo by Redden-McAllister