Chugga Chugga Choo Choo.

Lately I feel like The Little Engine That Really Wants to But OMFG JUST CAN’T.

Moving is hard, y’all.

I have moved about a million times in my teens and twenties. But now I’ve lived in the same place for over ten years and WHY DO I HAVE SO MUCH STUFF???

One fun little bonus is that I am NOT buying food. We are trying hard to eat all of the food in the freezer.

So. Yay. Cooking.

Or, often, take-out. Or fast food.

By the way, did you see the adorable train set that was part of the McDonald’s kid’s meal in December? Yeah. We almost got the whole thing. You get how my month went now, right? I DID remember to feed the baby in December. She’s addicted to fruit. I kind of don’t blame her but I wish it was in season.

  • bananas $1.25, $0.95
  • cake pop $2
  • Cheerios $3.99, $5.29, $4.99
  • flaxseed milk (she uses enough that one per month is on her) $3.99
  • apples $4.89, $5.99, $2.74, $5.51
  • honeydew $3.37
  • grapes $5.47
  • cantaloupe $3.99, $3.99
  • mango $4.99
  • eggs $4.49
  • watermelon $11.39
  • frozen pizza $2.50, $2.50, $2.50
  • cookie dough $3.00ย (more craft than food but whatever)
  • pink frosting $1.72 (more craft than food but whatever)
  • Five Guys hot dog $4.79, $4.79
  • Chick-fil-A* $3.29 + .20, $3.29 + .20, $3.29 + .20, $3.29 + .20
  • McDonald’s Happy Meal $2.99, $2.99, $2.99, $2.99, $2.99
  • extra toy because I’m that mom apparently $1.86

*Oh, something kinda cool: we stopped at Chick-fil-A while traveling before Christmas and Santa Cow was randomly there!! We made cool Chick-fil-A ornaments and colored pictures and waved at Santa Cow from a safe distance.

And let’s not forget our boring recurring monthly charges.

  • diapers $14.99, $8.99
  • wipes $4.49
  • Laundry detergent $8.46
  • baby bath $7.99
  • storage unit $127
  • extra tank of gas $40

RAISING BABYSTAR: $25,380.12

The Longest Christmas Season.

Did you know that this year we have the most days possible between Thanksgiving and Christmas?

Which means that THIS YEAR we have the longest Christmas season possible.

I love lights and trees and wrapping presents and holiday playlists so this is SO LIT.

We bought Christmas trees the day after Thanksgiving. The ToddlerMonster was super excited. But she didn’t want a big tree. (Mama did though so obvs we have one.)

But she got her little tree too. HER CUTE FACE IS IRRESISTIBLE! Literally impossible to resist.

christmas tree cutting

littletree

The little tree is in her bedroom, waiting for ornaments. ($40 plus a $25 small stand.) I have a feeling we have started a new tradition.

Oh look, there’s that $9.99 robot pillow we bought at Ikea. Yet another offering to the Goddess of Tantrum-Free Shopping.

What else have I forgotten? Gas. For years and years, I filled the minivan once a month. I worked from home and I hate driving anywhere outside the beltway. But now, I fill the tank TWICE a month. I still don’t often leave the beltway but Babystar and I find ourselves on mini adventures every day. This started when she was about eighteen months old and noticed that we were walking to the same three playgrounds and one library. So a year ago. And a tank of gas is about $40. I’ll add $480 for the last year and $40 per month going forward unless something changes.

Oh, and diaper pail liners! We buy one pack of Harris Teeter brand thirteen-gallon trash bags every month and we only use them in the Ubbi diaper pail. We bought the diaper pail in February of 2016, twenty-one months ago. The bags are $6.47 per box. Um. Math. That’s $135.87 so far. And I’ll add the $6.47 going forward until we are done with diapers.

I wonder what else I have missed. There hasn’t been a change in the electric bill or anything like that. I used to work from home, so we had the air or heat on all the time anyway. Am I overlooking anything obvious?

Yes. The Target Baby Box. $7.42. They only offer the Baby Box once in awhile but I got one last month! We already love the honest face and body lotion — both of us. Babystar likes to lotion her hands and legs and put on chapstick just like mama. SO CUTE I COULD DIE. (You see why she gets her own Christmas tree just by asking nicely, right??)

target baby box fall 2017

And again with the food. Below is November’s list. I KNOW that this part is horribly boring but I’m really all about the accuracy here. Just skip reading this part. I don’t mind. I barely want to write it. All those bullet points and typing, ugh. Amirite?

  • Costco fruit bowl 9.99
  • waffles 2.50, 2.50
  • blueberries 6.99, 3.99
  • pirate’s booty 8.99
  • Costco hot dog 1.50
  • IKEA pizza 1.75
  • IKEA hot dog .75
  • IKEA water 1.00
  • Trader Joe’s strawberry bar 1.99, 1.99
  • Trader Joe’s fig bar 1.99
  • Trader Joe’s toaster strudels 2.69, 2.69
  • Mac and cheese 2.99, 2.99, 2.99, 2.99
  • cheese slices 4.99
  • pasta snakes (penne) 1.49
  • letter cookies 2.99
  • bananas 1.50
  • Honest juice boxes for popsicles 3.69, 3.69
  • frozen pizzas (don’t judge me!) 3.14 3.14, 2.15, 2.15, 2.15, 2.15 (hell of a sale!)
  • vanilla ice cream 4.49
  • McDonald’s Happy Meal 2.99, 2.99, 4.19 (they gave me the wrong one but I didn’t bother to complain), 2.99
  • Chick-fil-A kid’s meal with uncharge on my fries to share 3.49 + .20
  • Chick-fil-A kid’s meal 3.49 + .20
  • Chick-fil-A kid’s meal 3.49 + .20
  • Chick-fil-A kid’s meal 3.49 + .20
  • cantaloupe 3.99
  • grapes 4.24, 4.76
  • tots 3.49, 1.65
  • Panera kid’s meal 4.99
  • small box of cereal at 7-11 1.99 (ripoff)
  • Busboys and Poets kid’s pasta and juice plus tip 10.00
  • Harry’s fries plus tip $7
  • goldfish crackers 2.49, 1.79
  • animal crackers 1.49
  • Haagen Dazs sundae 5.68
  • turkey pepperoni 2.19, 2.19
  • strawberries 2.99
  • penguin crackers 1.49, 1.49, 1.49

We bought some other boring stuff in November.

  • diapers 23.49, 15.09
  • bubble bath 14.09
  • baby wipes 3.49, 2.99, 4.99, 2.99, 3.29
  • laundry detergent 8.46
  • storage unit 127.00

 

Hopefully you haven’t read all the way down here because WHO CARES about the cost of grapes in November although why are grapes always on sale in November? I never noticed until I started writing this shit down. It’s such a weird time for them to be in season. When is grape season? I need to go to bed.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $24,297.64

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chick-fil-A vs. McDonalds.

Ok, so I want to be a Chick-fil-A Mom. You know, the kind of mama that doesn’t feed her kid fast food except sometimes we go to Chick-fil-A as a treat. Where the chicken looks like chicken and the toy is a book so I can feel good about my parenting choices.

(And I actually am a literal #chickfilamom this year as I am on the Chick-fil-A Moms Panel which is super cool but I’m still waiting for my free chicken sandwiches. Do I get free chicken sandwiches? Because I want and love free chicken sandwiches. Maybe later? Ok.)

But here’s the thing. If I am having a Good Mom(TM) kind of day, I probably packed a healthy and delicious lunch already. And maybe I fed Babystar some chia seed waffles and a spinach smoothie for breakfast.

And probably we are singing.

Those are usually not the kinds of days that we stop for Fast Food Lunches.

We stop for Fast Food Lunches when it is already 3:00 and I have seven things left on my to-do list. And I only started with eight.

We stop for Fast Food Lunches when the entire day has been full of tantrums and I am broken and just want to sit down someplace agreeable to the ToddlerMonster so I can calm tf down and think for a minute.

We stop for Fast Food Lunches when I didn’t sleep the night before and I kind of just forgot that kids need to eat until I notice that all the other mamas at the park have snacks (and brushed hair) and I am digging in the bottom of my backpack for a squished granola bar.

Those days usually mean McDonald’s. McDonald’s are EVERYWHERE so a McDonald’s lunch doesn’t require too much actual planning. If you want to go to McDonald’s, you basically just drive in one direction for two to ten minutes until you find a McDonald’s.

I now have very strong opinions on both McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A.

McDonald’s sells a $2.99 Happy Meal that includes a tiny serving of French fries AND a choice of apple slices or yogurt. Fries AND Fruit. Plus four kinda-gross, maybe-chicken nuggets. And a drink (currently Mott’s apple juice but they are switching to Honest). Lately, they have been giving out My Little Pony toys and Babystar LOVES ponies. Also, McDonald’s are literally NEVER EVER crowded because there are so many of them, I guess. And no one wants to go inside. The customer service inside is always lacking. And the dining experience is subpar. But you get fries AND fruit. FRIES AND FRUIT.

Chick-fil-A is always crowded and for good reason. Everyone inside is super nice or faking it extremely well. The tables are clean. I love that they clean the tables. Such a basic luxury. The Under 3 toy is always a board book, and the board books are a big hit with Babystar. She has a stack in every room plus the van. The cheapest kid’s meal at our Chick-fil-A is the one-strip meal at $3.29. Sometimes Babystar eats some of the chicken. Mostly she just wants fries and fruit. Which is not an option at Chick-fil-A. You get chicken plus fries OR fruit and a drink (aka Honest apple juice). I have asked at the counter if I could substitute fries for the chicken. I am pretty sure potatoes are cheaper than chicken, and we were out with our vegan friends (one of whom is two years old). The answer was no. And if they rang in everything separately: fries, fruit cup, apple juice, and a toy, the total was over $6. Annoying.

My Chick-fil-A Hack: I order the fruit cup for Babystar with her meal, and then upsize MY fries from medium to large for an extra twenty cents. Then I  share some of my fries with her; there are always enough for both of us. Of course, this only works if you are getting an adult meal with the kids meal. I always am. If you have a bunch of kids, just get them the fruit and then one large fry to share.

Which is your favorite? Chick-fil-A or McDonald’s? Or is there another, better, kid-friendly fast food place that we should all know?

So, anyway I did at least manage to Babystar in October. We went to McDonald’s quite often. October was kind of a bitch.

  • waffles $2.99, $2.50, $2.50, $2.99, $2.99, $2.99 (I am raising Leslie Knope)
  • bananas $1.47, $1.14. $0.87
  • blueberries $2.99, $2.99
  • turkey pepperoni $4.39
  • strawberries $3.49
  • TJ Mac & Cheese $2.99, $2.99
  • frozen pizza $2.98, $2.98, $2.98
  • salmon $3.00
  • bread $2.99, $2.99
  • TJ potato crunchies $1.99
  • peanut butter $2.29
  • TJ vegan bars $2.29, $2.29, $2.29, $2.29
  • Roast turkey $8.19
  • TJ fruit bars $1.99, $1.99, $1.99, $1.99
  • apples and pears from the orchard $28
  • cookies from the orchard $4
  • TJ letter cookies $2.99
  • Honest juice $3.99, $3.99
  • eggs $3.99
  • bacon $8.99
  • Cava Mezze French fries $7 with tip
  • Costco hot dog $1.50, $1.50
  • Costco pizza $2.99
  • Barnes and Noble apple juice $1.35, $1.35
  • Barnes and Noble m&m blondie $2.65
  • Dogfish Ale salmon kids meal $12.00 with tip
  • BGR sliders kid’s meal $5.99
  • BGR m&m cookie $1.99
  • spring rolls $6.95
  • pizza slice $4.35
  • frozen yogurt cup $5.98
  • Chick-fil-A kid’s meal $3.29 plus .20
  • Chick-fil-A kid’s meal $3.29 plus .20
  • Chick-fil-A kid’s meal $3.29 plus .20
  • McDonald’s kid’s meal $2.99, $2.99, $2.99, $2.99, $2.99, $2.99

 

Plus other things that don’t need a post of their own.

  • Laundry detergent $8.46
  • Storage $127
  • Diapers $4.99
  • Diapers $23.49 (I see you raising your prices, Target.)
  • Wipes $2.99, $4.99, $1.49, $4.99 (I’m trying some new brands.)
  • pedicure with mommy $10 (I’ve discussed this before. She loves her blue toes.)

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $22,473.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waving the White Flag. (But the Flag is a Diaper.)

No, this isn’t a goodbye to diapers. Babystar is still a looooong way from being potty-trained. And I DESPISE potty-training so I’m not the most encouraging mother in that regard.

I have officially given up on cloth diapering.

But. Please know that we used and loved cloth diapers since the ToddlerMonster was one month old. I took a few breaks during travel or sickness but we always came back because cloth diapering is really easy. If this forty-year-old mama gets another surprise, we will cloth diaper again. I am a huge fan.

But. We go on so many adventures every day. Big adventures for hours in D.C. or small adventures to a playground ten minutes away. Or Target. Always Target. And carrying cloth diapers everywhere got really hard because of all of the OTHER things that a toddler needs (mostly water and snacks and rocks and snacks and extra clothes and snacks). For awhile we were cloth diapering only at home but that often led to only one or two diapers used per day and the laundry was just annoying at that point.

And finally: butt. Yes, more fun poop talk. I don’t want to tote around the USED cloth diapers anymore. The things that come out of a baby’s bottom are not pleasant, but they are certainly less UNpleasant than the things that come out of a toddler’s bottom. I’m going to leave it at that. If you are reading this blog, you probably have a kid. If not, I’ll let you be surprised. (All children are different and blah blah blah.)

So. I surrender. I have so many cloth diapers but I’ve given away or leant out at least half of them by now.

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Cloth diaper mamas, how long do they keep? Should I save this expensive stash for my eventual grandchildren? I have college students too, so I could have a grandchild in as early as ten years. (They have moved the earliest age you can legally become a parent to thirty now, right?)

disposable diapers

I am officially buying disposable diapers ALL THE TIME now. I usually buy Target brand. They are cheap, and I change her diapers quite frequently because I am paranoid about rashes (and I am still on the cloth rhythm, I guess). This month we spent $4.99, $4.99, $14.99, $4.99, $14.99, $21.99 (total of $66.94). I did just buy that giant box yesterday so hopefully it lasts for a while. Diapers are stupid expensive.

innobaby bus platter

We are still feeding her, too.

  • frozen waffles $2.99, $2.99, $2.99
  • cheerios $3.34
  • apples $0.52, $2.46, $3.99, $7.29
  • bananas $1.14, $0.95
  • blueberries $3.12, $3.99
  • raspberries $4
  • pears $4.99
  • cantaloupe $3.99
  • watermelon $4.99, $4.99
  • salad bar fruit $2.10
  • apple bars $1.99
  • mango bars $1.99
  • strawberry bars $1.99
  • jalepeno macaroni and cheese $2.99, $2.99, $2.99
  • carrots $1.49
  • broccoli (no she doesn’t eat it but I’m trying) $1.69, $1.69
  • (She does eat raw onion like a weirdo when helping me cook but I don’t buy them FOR her.)
  • frozen pizza $2.69, $2.69, $2.69, $2.69
  • Ice cream cups $6
  • Honest juice boxes for popsicles $3.69, $3.69, $3.69, $3
  • pepperoni $2.69
  • Tots $3.34
  • cheese $3, $3, $399
  • bread (yes we basically buy that FOR her) $2.79, $3.29
  • salmon $8
  • cod $6
  • chicken $12
  • Chick-fil-A kid’s meals $3.29, $3.29, $3.29, $3.29, $3.29
  • Chick-fil-A french fries $1.99
  • Five Guys hot dog $4.79, $4.79
  • Pizza slice $3
  • McDonald’s kid’s meal $2.99, $2.99
  • Costco hot dog $1.75, $1.75, $1.75
  • Winterbrook Farms hot dog $2
  • bakery sugar cookie $1.29
  • Dairy Queen kid’s meal $2.49
  • Rainbow Valley Restarant kid’s meal with tip $6

More boring stuff.

  • Laundry detergent $8.47 (no more diapers but lots of clothes)
  • Storage unit $127
  • Wipes $4.99, $2.99, $4.99
  • California Baby bubble bath $14.09
  • Travel baby wash because I forgot to pack some $2.98
  • Children’s ibuprofen $3.99
  • Tissues $1.99, $1.99, $1.99
  • Little Noses saline drops $4.99

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $21,874.93

 

 

 

Pasta Snakes.

When my older children were toddlers (back in the Twentieth Century), I fed them Gorilla Bars. They LOVED Gorilla Bars. Gorilla Bars are granola bars with an adorable toddler pronunciation. And they have stayed ‘Gorilla Bars’ in our family ever since.

Babystar loves penne pasta. And snakes. And once when she was particularly cranky at dinner, the Teenager distracted her by having her penne pasta hiss like a snake. And now they are Pasta Snakes. Probably forever.

pasta snakes

Do you have any unusual names for foods in your family? Mispronunciations that stuck around long past Toddlerhood?

Below is the food we purchased in August SPECIFICALLY for Babystar. So far, I’ve been listing the foods that I bought with Babystar in mind. Although she does share with the rest of the family. And we share with her. She still isn’t eating more than a few bites of my portions. I will have to adjust this food calculating method eventually, but it seems to be working for now.

  • Turkey pepperoni $2.19, $2.19
  • Penguin crackers $1.59, $1.59, $1.59
  • Bananas $0.89, $1.23, $0.95
  • Strawberries $1.29, $1.29, $2.99, $3.39
  • Blueberries $1.99, $2.99
  • Apples $3.99, $3.99
  • Pears $3.99
  • Fruit roll-ups $1.49
  • Honest grape juice for popsicles $3.99
  • Aldi organic cheese puffs $1.99, $1.99
  • Frozen pizza $2.69, $2.69, $2.69, $2.69, $2.69, $2.69
  • Ice cream minis $1.39 x16 (She had HFM disease this month.)
  • Baskin-Robbins $2.59
  • Friday’s kids meal $4.99
  • Pizza slice $3.00, $3.00
  • Peter Chang’s spring rolls and fried rice $3.50, $3.50
  • French fries at the airport $3.50
  • McDonald’s Happy Meal $2.99, $2.99
  • Chick-fil-A kid’s meal $3.29, $3.29, $3.29
  • Insomnia m&m cookie $1.70
  • Dairy Godmother snickerdoodle cookie $0.95

ice cream

Also every month.

  • Laundry detergent $8.47
  • Storage unit $127
  • Diapers $4.99, $4.99, $4.99, $4.99, $20.89, $14.24 ย (I have basically abandoned the cloth again. Bad mama.)
  • Wipes $7.99, $4.99

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,963.61

WHAT IS YOUR WEIRDEST ‘FAMILY WORD’, THAT EVERYONE IN YOUR HOUSE UNDERSTANDS, BUT WOULD CONFUSE THE HECK OUT OF OUTSIDERS?