Valentine’s on a budget

Valentine’s has never been a big deal in our house – a different story when we were dating – but now that we are married and have a kid it just kind of becomes about him.

We have discussed not getting gifts for holidays such as Valentine’s just for the simple reason of saving money. A simple heartfelt card is more than enough. Although, I am still a girl – I would never turn down a bouquet of flowers 🙂 We also don’t typically go out that night because of all the craziness. I don’t have the patience to wait an hour+ for a dinner reservation that needed to be made 6 months in advance! This year, hubby and I had a coffee date two days before and a kid-free lunch, just the two of us. It was perfect.

I enjoy making homemade valentine’s for my kiddo’s school parties -and I have been making non-candy ones the past few years since Jayden really doesn’t need any more candy and gets plenty as is. Here is where Pinterest comes in handy!

Adorable! Bullseye valentines with free printables. A great candy-free classroom treat idea!:

Picture via Pinterest.

His first Valentine’s at school/toddler care I did bullseye arrows. Super easy, print the bullseye on card stock and cut out. Use an exacto-knife to cut two little slits for the pencil to slide in. I found the pencils and cutesy tape in the Target dollar bins, and the eraser topper at the dollar store.

Handmade Valentine: DOH You Want to Be Mine? - The Nerd's Wife:

Picture via Pinterest.

Next up was Play-Doh cards. Again, print cards on card stock and cut out. Then cut out circle in the middle (I used an exacto-knife to start then wiggled small scissors into the slit and was able to cut all the way around). I found the bag of mini Play-Doh tubs at Target (12 or 15 in the bag, can’t remember) and inserted into the hole.

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Free Star Wars Printable Valentines:

Picture via Pinterest.

This last Valentine’s Day I did light saber cards. Printed the cards on card stock and cut them out, then used a single hole punch to punch out two small holes in the appropriate spots (this varied depending on the design and where I wanted the light saber to go). Once that is done, you slide the glow stick into the holes. I got a pack of 8 glow sticks for $1 at the dollar store – can’t beat that!

My son loved each and every one of these and found them to be really cool – he’s 4! 🙂 I know the time will come that he will want to choose and/or make his own and I am all for it. I gotta say though, I did have lot’s of fun making them! I had so much fun I made a few for the folks at work as well.

I went the candy route this time since I know they all love candy 🙂 I did a combination of two styles to change it up.

Printable Smarties DIY Valentine's Day Cards:

Picture via Pinterest.

AND

I Dig Pinterest: "You are a Gem" Ring Pop Valentine:

Picture via Pinterest. (I did not want to repackage the candy, so i just tied the ribbon around the wrapped ring pop)

Nothing big, just a little something to bring a smile to people’s faces. 🙂

Hope everyone had a fabulous Valentine’s Day — no matter how you celebrate it!!

How To: Fly with a Toddler

20140630_112324Up, Up, and Away! 

Jayden has become a pro at flying after just a handful of times in the air – he is like his daddy! 🙂 We took our first flight when he was 2 months old, then again when he was 21 months old (both times to the east coast from California, and both times as a lap infant). His next time on a plane was at 2.5 years old, then again at 3.5 years old, and most recently just a week ago at 4 years old (he had his own seat for these and I have to say, as much as I hate having to pay for the extra seat I love that he has his own space and we are able to spread out a bit!).

Flying was definitely easier when he was an infant rather than a toddler. He slept most of the way and did not require too much work (aside from having to lug so much gear around– to be discussed below). As a toddler they are more wiggly, noisier, and just plain restless – so be ready!

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Tips for flying with a toddler:

Bring LOTS of snacks – anything non-liquid will be easy to take through security; variety is key.

Bring a sippy cup that you can fill past security – as a toddler TSA is more questioning about liquids brought through that isn’t breastmilk, so I go the easy route and just pick something up after security, and most flight attendants are more than happy to give you a juice for your little one as you are boarding.

New toys-does not have to be expensive, I usually raid the dollar section at Target or hit up the local dollar store for some goodies.

New games or movies on your tablet-make sure you download them before the trip since they charge you for WiFi on board. And a pair of kiddie earphones (they keep your fellow passengers from hating you, but I also like the ones made for kids because they have volume control on it so it is never too loud for their little ears).

Blanket and Lovey – you MUST bring something familiar from home. It is a scary enough situation to be in, it would help to have their favorite stuffed animal and a cozy blanket to snuggle with.

Check in what you do not need – Strollers and car seats are free to check in on most major airlines. Do it! We tried doing the free gate check the first time around, but let me tell you, when you are rushing to catch your connecting flight it is a pain in the tush to have all that to lug around, plus keep track of your kid, and the hand-carry luggage. It is best to have on board just the necessities. The car seat on board is a personal choice. We prefer to let him stretch out rather than be confined in a car seat – he is not the biggest fan of the car seat on long car trips as it is so we would rather save the headache and make it so he has more space to play and move around instead.

Bring lots of wipes – to wipe the child, yes, but also to wipe down your surroundings (armrests, trays, etc).

Extra outfit – for all members of the family because you just do not know what will happen. As an example, on one of our flights my husband ended up getting poop on his shirt from our very wiggly child being changed on the plane changing table. Funny for me, not so much for him! But I definitely did not want to have to smell him the rest of the trip! 🙂

Baggies in several sizes – these are another must! Perfect for throwing toys into, wet/dirty clothes into, extra snacks into, etc. The list just goes on…

Travelling is a time for fun, a time to play, and a time to break the rules. 🙂 We try to keep as much structure as possible (easier said than done!) but don’t beat yourself up if things go wrong or not quite how you planned. Be flexible in your plans, and expect things to go wrong – that way you are not surprised by it, are prepared for it, and it might actually end up a fun bonus when it all happens to work out nicely in the end.

Here are some items I like for travelling:

These are fantastic because they don’t stain on anything.
Always have a bag for your checked in stroller or car seat – they will end up filthy if you dont.
Still need to convince hubby about this one since it is pricey, but I love that it becomes a little ride for the kiddos and makes travelling more fun. The Kindle for kids has been wonderful!

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